Padres Roster Notes

The San Diego Padres will be without their number five starter for a few more weeks, but that doesn't concern the team as much now that Ismael Valdez turned in a solid performance this weekend.

RHP Scott Linebrink has pleased general manager Kevin Towers with his early play this season. Linebrink has replaced RHPs Jay Witasick and Antonio Osuna as the bridge from the starters to Otsuka and Hoffman. Called by Towers as "perhaps the most pleasant surprise of 2003," Linebrink hasn't allowed a run in five of his six outings and has allowed only five baserunners in 5 2/3 innings.

RHP Antonio Osuna has allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks, and may soon be out of a job. The Padres projected him to bet a setup man in front of late-inning specialists Rod Beck, Akinori Otsuka and Trevor Hoffman. But with the way Osuna is going, the Padres might opt to keep LHP Eddie Oropesa or Rule V RHP Jason Szuminski when Beck returns.

RHP Ismael Valdez looked shakey in three relief appearances to start the season. But given the ball Saturday (April 17) as the No. 5 starter, Valdez was a different pitcher until he ran out of gas (as the Padres expected he would).

RF Brian Giles is off to a 5-for-45 start, but it's only a matter of time before he breaks out. Even though slumping, he has drawn key walks at critical times in three different games. The strange thing is how sharp he was at the plate during the final week of spring training.

CF Jay Payton is clearly rusty after missing all but the final weekend of spring training. Were it not for Brian Giles, his slow start would be getting more attention. But went 2-for-3 Sunday (April 18) to raise his average to .225 (9-for-40).

SS Khalil Greene (11-for-37) is calm and cool both in the field and at the plate. Padres manager Bruce Bochy believes he could one day hit in the leadoff slot. Not only is he off to a .297 start he is driving the ball.

LHP Sterling Hitchcock (ribs) is out at least another three weeks.

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