Padres Roster Report

Everyone in the San Diego Padres lineup is contributing and equally. Even the pitchers have contributed offensively. The bullpen has settled down as of late, thanks in part to Trevor Hoffman and Akinori Otsuka. Hoffman made his third appearance in a row on Thursday, the first time he has done so since August of 2002.

The Padres one through eight hitters are all contributing. The highest RBI total amongst the regulars is 14 (Mark Loretta, Phil Nevin, Ryan Klesko) and the lowest is eight (Jay Payton).

Padres' manager Bruce Bochy is getting solid offense from reserve outfielders Brian Buchanan and Terrence Long. Buchanan is off to a 6-for-13 start and is 5-for-13 with a double and three RBI in three starts. And the left-handed hitting Long is off to a 9-for-27 start and is 6-for-16 with four walks in four starts. Buchanan is hitting .313 in his last 54 starts with the Padres dating to August 2002. During the run of 182 at-bats, Buchanan has 10 doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 35 RBI.

The Padres will probably stay with 12 pitchers and a seven-man bullpen until the return of RHP Rod Beck in mid-May, although the presence of three spare outfielders (1B-OF Brian Buchanan, Terrence Long and Kerry Robinson) has reduced the team to one spare infielder (Ramon Vazquez).

RHPs Akinori Otsuka and Trevor Hoffman are giving the Padres exactly the eighth-ninth inning combination the team was seeking. Otsuka has made nine straight appearances without allowing a run, and his "spitter-slider" is proving hard to hit. He has nine strikeouts in as many innings. Japanese import picked up his first American win on Friday (April 24).

Working the ninth, Hoffman has appeared in the last three games and saved each. He has not allowed a run in eight of his nine outings and has allowed just four hits in his last six appearances.

Brian Giles has hit safely in eight of his last nine. It looks as if his season-opening slump (5-for-45) could be behind him. But even with the recent improvement, his season average is still .228.

Khalil Greene doesn't seem fazed by anything during his rookie season, although his second error of the season Sunday (April 25) in Arizona led to four unearned runs and a loss. He had three two-hit games last week and the game winning hit on Thursday. He also leads the club in doubles and is tied for the lead in triples with two.

Ryan Klesko, after apparently favoring his post-operative right shoulder throughout spring training, is starting to drive the ball. Had a game-winning homer and a game-winning double in the past week. Over last eight games, has gone 9-for-30 with a homer, four doubles and nine RBI.

LHP Sterling Hitchcock has more problems than what was originally announced as a strain to the oblique and intercostal muscles in his left rib cage. One of his ribs has a stress fracture. That is going to sideline him for at least three weeks, but there are fears it will be up to two months before Hitchcock can throw free and easy.


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