Petco A Success Despite Loss

And to think, the San Diego Padres get to open Petco Park a second time when they meet the San Francisco Giants on Friday April 8th. Despite the loss on Saturday to Seattle, the excitement in the sold out house could barely be contained. Phil Nevin noticed it when he walked on the field for the first time and Brian Giles surely heard it when he smacked an opening frame home run.

The only thing Phil Nevin could say when he got onto the field for the first time and heard the excitement was "Wow!"

Brian Giles admitted he had to pull his hands in on the pitch and said he did not get all of his first inning home run. What he was happy about was the chance to play in the stadium in an exhibition setting to learn some nuances of the park.

"We get a night game and a day game, so we'll have some idea how the park will play when we open the season for real," said Giles.

Joey Hamilton and Brandon Puffer were sent down to Portland. Yamid Haad and Gene Kingsale also were targeted for Portland. Eddie Oropesa and Jason Szuminski get the last roster spots with Oropesa the lone lefty in the pen.

Szuminski, coincidentally, becomes the first MIT grad to earn a spot in the majors.

"I'm excited. I waited a long time for it," said Szuminski.

It almost didn't happen for Szuminski after a terrible outing on Saturday. As for his rough night in front of the home crowd which teetered on boos from fans in attendance:

"I was just missing," Szuminski said. "I feel my stuff tonight was pretty close to the days I threw well. I do know I need to make some adjustments and start pitching a little bit better, if I want to stick around for more than just a week or so."

Earlier in the day the Padres acquired Blaine Neal from the Florida Marlins. Neal was said to be part of the Ramon Castro deal near the trading deadline last year. As with any player Kevin Towers covets, he does not let go very easy and makes a point at continuing to try and acquire that talent. Case in point would be the Jason Kendall saga.

"He's a power arm with a mid-90s fastball and a power slider," Towers said of Neal. "He's basically a middle-innings guy.

"With Ismael Valdez and Hitchcock on the staff now and Dennis Tankersley pulling ahead of him, we felt we could trade a starter (Howard) because if we need help during the season, it will in the bullpen."

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