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PADRES UPDATE : NOTEBOOK / SCOTT MILLER : Rookie Pitcher Bones Surprised by Summons From Las Vegas

Wasting little time in shoving their new starting pitcher into the rotation, the Padres plan to give Ricky Bones his initial major league start Sunday against Cincinnati’s Kip Gross (4-3).

Bones, whose best pitch is a slider and whose name is pronounced “bonus,” learned he would start this weekend after triple-A Las Vegas’ game Thursday night in Albuquerque.

News of his recall caught him by surprise.

“I was pitching good, trying to put good numbers up and trying to help the team in Vegas,” said Bones, 22. “I was hopeful I would get the call, and here I am.”

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Although he was surprised to get word of his recall, Bones, a native of Puerto Rico, said he is not shocked to be starting.

“Not really,” he said. “I’ve been starting down there. I would think if they call me up, I would start.”

Bones was 8-6 with a 4.22 ERA for Las Vegas. Padre Manager Greg Riddoch said Bones will remain in the starting rotation.

Now all Bones needs to do is start boning up on National League teams. What does he know about Cincinnati?

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“I heard they’ve got a good team,” he said. “Big name guys, but I’m going to try my best.”

Wait just a minute. The Reds are defending world champions, and Bones has heard they have a good team?

Bones paused, then smiled.

“I know they’ve got a good team,” he said sheepishly. “But I’m not scared. I’m not afraid. I’ll be there and throw strikes.”

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In between renewing acquaintances with Padres he hadn’t seen since spring training, Bones spent the rest of his first afternoon in the majors trying to shoo away the nerves.

“I’m like anybody,” he said. “My first day in the big leagues, I’m pretty excited. I’m pretty happy. I’m shaking right now, but by Sunday, I won’t be.”

Cincinnati Manager Lou Piniella, the target of a $5 million defamation suit by Gary Darling and the Major League Umpire Assn., said before Friday’s game that he has hired attorney Peter Parcher of New York to represent him.

“He’s a very capable guy; he’s a guy who will handle it for me,” Piniella said. “Other than that, I have no comment.”

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And how was Andy Benes feeling Friday?

“Sore,” he said.

Benes was the Padre starting pitcher Thursday in Houston and, by the end of the night, he was simply happy to be alive. He was hit by the baseball three times during the game.

The damage report Friday?

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Benes’ chest and right thigh were sore, the palm of his left hand was swollen and there was a welt on his right shoulder.

“I’m probably not as sore as I would have been had we lost,” Benes said.

Because the Padres didn’t return from Houston until 1:40 a.m Friday, Riddoch canceled batting practice before the game with the Reds. . . . Riddoch said no decision has been made as to where pitchers Atlee Hammaker and Pat Clements will be sent for rehabilitation assignments. “We’re looking now at where to send them,” Riddoch said. . . . The Padres unveiled their 1992 All-Star Game logo Friday. They added the logo to the row of NL team logos along the outfield fence and to the top of their media information sheets they hand out before the game. . . . Despite batting safely in nine of his past 10 games (.372), Tony Gwynn says he still is not happy with his swing. “No, but the hits are falling so you can’t really complain,” Gwynn said. . . . Chris Sabo extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games with a fourth-inning single to left. The streak is the longest for a Cincinnati player this year. . . . A moment of silence was observed for Charlie Townsend, the Padre groundskeeper who died of a heart attack earlier this week. . . . Former Padre Carmelo Martinez homered to left in the eighth, his 100th in the National League.


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