Galen Cisco is about to begin his first season as the Padre pitching coach. When pitchers and catchers report here today for the opening of spring training, Cisco will still be trying to match names and numbers with faces.
But it hasn't taken Cisco long to pick up on what may become the prevailing theme as the Padres reunite in an effort to defend their National League championship. One statement illustrates how fast Cisco has caught on:
"After you've won a division and you've gone to the World Series, you're not going to make many changes," he said.
Dick Williams might do well to hang a "No Vacancy" sign over the entrance to the club's training headquarters at Desert Sun Stadium as he enters his fourth season as the Padres' manager. There appears to be few openings on Williams' roster this spring, and little room for deviation from the status quo.
Cisco and his pitching staff may be the only areas in which the Padres will have a few unfamiliar faces. After five seasons as the Montreal Expos' pitching coach--two of those under Williams--Cisco was hired in December to replace the demoted Norm Sherry, who has become the club's minor-league pitching coach. He is inheriting a staff that seems to have more promise than the one that preceded it.
Ed Whitson and Tim Lollar are among the missing. Whitson ventured into the free-agent market and ended up with the New York Yankees after going 14-8 with a 3.24 ERA and helping the Padres to the National League's Western Division title. Lollar was traded to the Chicago White Sox in a deal that brought LaMarr Hoyt to the Padres.
Hoyt figures to join a starting rotation that includes right-handers Andy Hawkins and Eric Show and left-handers Mark Thurmond and Dave Dravecky. Dravecky, Thurmond and Show combined to win 38 games in 1984, and Cisco said that trio will make up the nucleus of his starting rotation.
"I think you've got to go on last year's performance and you have to give a guy the opportunity to pitch his way out of a starting job," Cisco said. "For someone to come in and take a job away from them, they're really going to have to show something."
Hoyt was 13-18 with a 3.92 ERA last year after winning 24 games in 1983 and 19 in '82. Another addition is former Chicago Cub Tim Stoddard, who signed with the Padres as a free agent. Stoddard joins a bullpen that includes Rich Gossage and Craig Lefferts, who combined for 35 saves last year.
In all, it's enough to make Cisco anxious to get the introductions over with.
"I feel like the necessary ingredients are here . . . good starting pitching and good short relief," he said.
"My first priority is getting to learn each of these pitchers. It's going to be a learning process for me."
Former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Al Bumbry will try to earn a spot on the Padres' roster this spring. Bumbry, a free agent, was invited to spring training as a non-roster player. He hit .270 with Baltimore last year and is a .285 lifetime hitter. . . . Outfielder Kevin McReynolds reported early to get a head start in his recovery from a broken bone in his left wrist, an injury he suffered in the fourth game of the National League Championship Series against the Cubs. . . . The remainder of the roster players are scheduled to take their physicals in San Diego on March 2, report to the club's training facilities on March 3 and begin workouts on March 4.