Padre pitcher Calvin Schiraldi, from all indications, either will be released or traded, and could be just one of several veterans who will be informed of their dismissal when they report to the Padre camp today.
The Padres, according to a source, also will release either veteran shortstop Garry Templeton or second baseman Marty Barrett in the next few days. It’s quite possible, the source said, that both players will be gone before opening day.
It’s no secret that Padre Manager Greg Riddoch and the coaching staff are wary of Templeton’s attitude, and perceive him as a negative influence. There’s also questions among the staff whether he has lost some of his ability.
Templeton, however, has a guaranteed contract for $500,000. The Padres have tried to trade him to Texas, but Templeton rejected any attempts.
Barrett, who virtually is limited to playing second base, has disappointed the Padres with his range. Yet, they believe he could be a positive influence on the team, and his .276 batting average this spring indicates that he still can be quite effective as a pinch-hitter.
The Padre front office and coaching staff met late Friday after the Padres’ 4-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics to determine their latest round of cuts, which could affect as many as eight players.
Although no one was willing to say anything publicly, sources say there are several surprising decisions that already have been made:
* Paul Faries, considered a longshot for the backup infield job, has made the team despite batting only .158 this spring with four RBIs.
* Eric Nolte likely will be their fifth starter.
* Thomas Howard will make the team as a reserve outfielder.
* Greg Gross will make the team as a left-handed pinch-hitter.
Faries, because of his ability to play second, third and shortstop, won one of the reserve infield positions. Although he is considered below-average at shortstop, the Padres are willing to take their chances because of his versatility.
Nolte, 1-0, 2.25, according to sources, will be the No. 5 starter simply because the Padres can not option him to triple-A Las Vegas without clearing waivers. He was 2-11 with an 8.58 ERA last season at Las Vegas, but the Padres say his problems have been caused by a lack of confidence, not ability.
Howard, who’s batted .265 this spring, is expected to open the season with the Padres because he has little to prove in triple-A. He batted .328 with five homers and 51 RBIs last season in Las Vegas, and because he now is 26, the Padres don’t believe the lack of playing time will harm him.
Gross, 38, who did not play last season, remains the Padres’ only valid reserve left-handed hitter. He’s hitting just .111 this spring, but the Padres are providing him extra at-bats in “B” and minor league games.
And then, there is Schiraldi. He was scheduled to follow Greg Harris in Friday’s game, but he was summoned into Riddoch’s office in the afternoon, and was scratched.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Schiraldi said, “I don’t ask questions any more.”
The Padres have talked to Texas, and several other teams about a potential trade involving Schiraldi, but most teams believe that Schiraldi, 1-1, 6.52 ERA, will be released anyway. He earns $740,000 this season, and if he’s still on the roster by Wednesday, the contract becomes guaranteed.
“We talked privately with Cal,” said Joe McIlvaine, Padre general manager, “he knows what’s going on. . . . We’ve been talking to a lot of teams.”
Greg Harris made the most impressive outing of the spring by a Padre starter Friday, throwing five perfect innings, and striking out four. “I tell you, you can’t pitch any better than that,” Manager Greg Riddoch said. . . . Padre first baseman Fred McGriff was hit in the right elbow Friday night by Athletic pitcher Curt Young, and is expected to be sidelined for at least one game. McGriff still has yet to hit a homer in 44 at-bats. . . . Padre second baseman Bip Roberts was sick with the flu, providing Marty Barrett a start at second base. . . . The Padres have three players listed among the top 100 prospects in Baseball America: “Reliever Rafael Valdez (36), starter Robbie Beckett (50) and first baseman Dave Staton (70). . . . Basketball coach Bob Knight, a close friend of Jim Ferguson, Padre media relations director, attended Friday’s game. . . . The Padres drew a spring-training record crowd 7,274 Friday at Desert Sun Stadium, eclipsing the previous record of 6,874 on March 19, 1988, against the Cleveland Indians. . . . The Padres will play the Athletics again at 12:05 p.m. (PST) today. Ed Whitson and Dave Stewart, each who will be the opening-day starters, are the probable starters.