Spring Training / Padres : Knee Injury Sidelines Wiggins 7 to 10 Days

Times Staff Writer

Padre fans probably won't remember Saturday, March 30 as the day outfielder Jerry Davis made the big club and Ron Roenicke was given his unconditional release.

Also of secondary importance will be Dick Williams' announcement that left-hander Dave Dravecky has been returned to the starting rotation. The Padres' 4-0 Cactus League win over the Cleveland Indians might be forgotten by tomorrow.

What will be remembered was that second baseman Alan Wiggins strained a ligament in his right knee when he was upended by Brook Jacoby in the third inning of Saturday's game at Desert Sun Stadium.

Wiggins was attempting to complete a double play, and was hit by Jacoby while he was in the air. Wiggins immediately left the game and was replaced by Tim Flannery, the player Williams said will probably remain at second base until Wiggins returns.

Dr. Paul Hirshman of Scripps Clinic, who made the diagnosis on Wiggins' knee, said the second baseman will probably miss 7 to 10 days. Hirshman said that Wiggins will undergo therapy during that time.

The Padres open the regular season in San Francisco in 10 days.

Last season, the Padre starters did not suffer any major injuries until Kevin McReynolds was hurt in the National League Championship Series. Wiggins only missed four games.

Wiggins will join outfielder Carmelo Martinez on the sidelines. Martinez, who played in 149 games last season, underwent surgery on the hamate bone in his left hand on Monday.

The stitches have been removed from Martinez's hand, but he is still unable to swing a bat.

Padre General Manager Jack McKeon said that Martinez will probably be placed on the 15-day disabled list today.

"That would make him eligible for the home opener," McKeon said.

The Padres play their home opener against the Giants at 7:05 p.m. April 15.

As of late Saturday afternoon, the Padres' fourth starting pitcher will be Dravecky. As of a couple of days ago, Mark Thurmond had been penciled in as the fourth starter.

In his fourth start of the spring, Dravecky pitched five scoreless innings against the Indians on Saturday. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out six.

Dravecky is 3-0, and he has allowed only four earned runs in 16 innings this spring.

"At this point, it looks like it will be Andy Hawkins and Dravecky as the third and fourth starters," Williams said. "Mark Thurmond didn't lose his starting postion, but he will start the year as the fifth starter."

In three starts this spring, Thurmond is 0-2 mark with an 11.70 ERA. He has allowed 20 hits and 13 earned runs in 10 innings.

The Padres will go with a five-man rotation for most of the season. However, because of the way their early schedule falls, the Padres will need only four starters in the first couple of weeks of the season.

Hawkins and Dravecky will be joined by LaMarr Hoyt and Eric Show, the scheduled starting pitchers in the Padres opening two games in San Francisco.

Even when he delivers good news, Williams makes sure his players know exactly who the boss is. Davis recounts the story of how Williams told him he made the team.

"After my first at-bat on Saturday," Davis said, "he told me that now that I've made the team, I shouldn't veer from doing what I've been doing throughout the spring. He added that I should have given Wiggins a chance to run before I hit."

Davis, who was one of the Padres' final cuts last spring, said he knew he made the team when he was being congratulated and kidded in the locker room before the game.

But hearing it from Williams was still pretty special.

"If you impress Williams, you can can impress any manager in the league," Davis said.

Davis, a right-handed hitter, went 1 for 3 with a run-scoring single Saturday. He is hitting .452 with four RBIs this spring.

"He came into camp a lot more confident this year," Padre batting coach Deacon Jones said, "and he was mentally prepared to handle things.

"He has a pretty good eye at the plate, and he usually makes contact. He is an inside-outside hitter who uses the whole field, and he'll jerk one every once in a while."

Davis, 26, hit .302 with 9 homers, 64 RBIs and 35 stolen bases for the Padres Triple-A team in Las Vegas last season. The strong-throwing outfielder, who played most of the season in right field, also had 17 assists.

The decision to keep Davis coincided with the Padres' decision to give Roenicke his unconditional release.

Roenicke's contract was purchased Sept. 1 from Las Vegas, and he batted .300 with one home run and two RBIs in 12 games for San Diego. Because of McReynolds' injury, Roenicke was on the World Series roster, and he saw action in two of the five games.

"Keeping Jerry gives us more balance," McKeon said. "It came down to keeping a right-handed hitter over a left-handed hitter. We are pretty well stocked with left-handed hitters."

It wasn't as if Roenicke didn't have a good spring. The switch-hitter, who is used more as a left-handed hitter, batted .421 (8 for 19). He hit .357 (5 for 14) left-handed and .600 (3 for 5) right-handed.

When asked if Davis will be sent back to the minors when Martinez is back in the lineup, McKeon said, "it could be an outfielder that goes or it could be somebody else."

There is speculation that the Padres might keep six outfielders: Tony Gwynn, McReynolds, Martinez, Al Bumbry, Bobby Brown and Davis. In that case, the odd man out might be reserve infielder Mario Ramirez.

The Padres cut their roster to 26, one above the limit, by sending pitchers Bob Patterson, Lance McCullers and Ed Wojna and catcher Mark Parent to the minor league camp for reassignment.

Padre Notes

Three Padre pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout over the Indians on Saturday. It was the team's fourth win in a row. A crowd of 5,720 saw Dravecky pitch five innings, Luis DeLeon allow just one hit, two walks and one strikeout in two innings.

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