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Padre Notebook : Rotation Looks Solid, Barring Any Letdowns

One of the worst-kept secrets of spring training--the Padres’ pitching rotation--was made official this week.

The announcement was made with little fanfare and followed even less suspense.

Eric Show will open the season against San Francisco April 3 in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. He will be followed by Bruce Hurst, Ed Whitson, Dennis Rasmussen and Walt Terrell.

About the only question had been who was going to be sandwiched between the two left-handers in the rotation--Terrell or Whitson.

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The role went to Whitson, a decision apparently based as much on seniority as performance. Whitson, the opening day starter last year, is in his second stay and sixth season with the Padres. Terrell was acquired in a trade with Detroit in October for Chris Brown and Keith Moreland.

“We figured Whitson has been here, so we’d make him third,” said Pat Dobson, Padre pitching coach.

The question is whether this group can match last season’s success, when the five starters in the rotation at the end of the season were a combined 66-51.

Show, whose seven full seasons with the Padres make him the staff’s most experienced authority, says there is every reason to believe so.

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“This is the best rotation since I’ve been here,” Show said. “We’ve got a great blend of veteran pitchers.”

Four are coming off highly successful seasons in terms of victories. Show’s 16 victories were the most of his career, as were Hurst’s 18. Rasmussen had 16, two off his best of 18 with the Yankees in 1986, and Whitson’s 13 were one less than he had during the Padres’ 1984 National League championship season.

Only Terrell, 7-16 at Detroit, had an off year in 1988.

That makes Show wonder if they can all do it again.

“That’s the big question in my mind,” Show said. “Based on what I’ve seen, there is no reason we can’t. Everyone has looked strong in spring training. But you have to wonder.”

John Kruk might think twice before the next time he decides to take his dirty laundry to the ballpark in a suitcase.

Early Wednesday, a reporter saw Kruk leave the Padre hotel with a suitcase, put the suitcase in his car and drive away.

Armed with that information, it did not take long for a rumor to begin that Kruk had been traded. Only his appearance at morning batting practice in a Padre uniform put the idea to rest.

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The story has a final twist. The Cleveland Indians, the Padres’ opponent Wednesday, listed Seattle pitcher Mark Langston as the Padres’ starting pitcher for today in a press release. Langston has been mentioned frequently in trade rumors involving the Padres.

The joke quickly became that Kruk had been traded to the Mariners. It turned out that the Indians had mistakenly listed the Padres as their opponent for today, rather than the scheduled Mariners.

As for the latest on any possible trade action by the Padres, Manager Jack McKeon said his belief that a major trade will be made before the start of the season is waning.

“I would be surprised to see a big deal now,” McKeon said. “I wouldn’t have been earlier in the spring. But they’re going to have to come to us. Time is running out; the price goes higher. The sale is over. Bargain days end pretty shortly.”

McKeon indicated that he still is looking to trade catcher Sandy Alomar Jr., but has not had an offer he considers worthy.

McKeon also dismissed an Associated Press report that mentioned the Padres as one of six teams involved in serious discussions to acquire Boston third baseman Wade Boggs.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” McKeon said.

The report mentioned a proposed three-way deal that would send Boggs to the Padres. The Padres would then trade catchers Benito Santiago or Alomar and another player to Seattle, which would send third baseman Jim Presley and Langston to the Red Sox.

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Padre Notes

Cleveland scored four runs off Padre starter Ed Whitson in the fourth, ending the Padres’ three-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Wednesday in front of 4,968 at Desert Sun Stadium. Whitson (2-1) gave up eight hits, struck out one and did not walk a batter in six innings. Bud Black (3-0), formerly of San Diego State, earned the victory, allowing one run and five hits in six innings. Catcher Mark Parent had two of the Padres’ seven hits and their only extra-base hit, a double. The loss was the Padres’ second in nine games in Yuma.


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