Converted pitcher Rafael Valdez earned himself at least a few weeks of major league living as Padres Manager Jack McKeon made his final roster moves Saturday night after their 3-2 exhibition victory over Seattle in front of 6,441 in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
The moves giving Valdez, 21, the roster spot were thus: Pitchers Dan Murphy and Steve Peters were outrighted to Las Vegas, the Padres triple-A team, and Mike Dunne, who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in November, will go on the disabled list, McKeon said. McKeon had said earlier in the week that catcher Ronn Reynolds would be sent to Las Vegas.
McKeon’s announcement leaves the Padres with the major league maximum 27 players, including three that have to be designated to go down on May 1.
“It was a surprise to me,” said Valdez, who has only been pitching for two seasons after being converted from a shortstop. Valdez, who is from Nizao Bani, Puerto Rico, had a 1.80 earned-run average this spring, including two perfect innings against Seattle.
Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. hit a two-run home run in the eighth off Greg Harris to spoil the shutout.
Benito Santiago’s first home run of the spring, a two-run hit to right field in the second inning, gave the Padres a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, Joey Cora, running for Garry Templeton who had doubled, scored on Bip Roberts’ grounder to third. On the play, Roberts was hit in the back of the neck, just under the helmet, by Brian Giles’ overthrow. He left the game, but Padre officials said he was not seriously hurt and should be in the lineup today against Seattle at 1:05 p.m.
Giles, a free agent acquisition by the Seattle in November, graduated from Kearny High. Seattle Manager Jim LeFebvre said Giles, a non-roster player this spring, has made the club.
With the Padres ninth consecutive victory and fifth in a row over Seattle this spring, the Padres (11-2) assured themselves of the best spring training record in baseball one day before the regular season begins on Monday.