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NOTEBOOK : PADRES UPDATE : Reliever Larry Andersen Won’t Have to Undergo Neck Surgery

Padre reliever Larry Andersen, who feared surgery would be necessary to heal his ailing neck, instead learned Wednesday that no surgery will be required. He will be allowed to pitch again within a week.

Andersen was diagnosed as having two-level cervical disk disease. He underwent two days of extensive testing when the diagnosis was made by Dr. Arthur White and Dr. Jeffery Saul of the Spine Care Center.

Andersen, who has a bulging disk and herniated disk in his neck, was given an epidural steroid injection to decrease the inflammation and ease the pressure.

Padre trainer Bob Day said the injection and time off will not cure the problem, but Andersen is expected to resume pitching early next week. He’s eligible to be activated Sept. 4 from the disabled list.

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It’s the second time Andersen has been placed on the disabled list this season with his neck problems. He missed three weeks in May until going back on the disabled list Monday, retroactive to Aug. 20.

Although Brien Taylor, the No. 1 pick in the country, received $1.55 million from the New York Yankees, don’t expect the Padres to severely adjust their contract offer to Joey Hamilton, the No. 8 pick in the draft.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros and Padres have all refused to budge from their latest contract offers to their No. 1 picks, each of whom are represented by Scott Boras, Taylor’s agent.

The Brewers, according to sources, have offered $375,000 to Kenny Henderson; the Astros have offered $360,000 to John Burke; and the Padres have offered $350,000 to Hamilton.

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“There’s a distinct difference between Taylor and the three other pitchers,” one National League executive said. “I don’t think you’re going to see teams budging from their offers. We’ll see.”

Padre starter Ed Whitson, upon learning that Brien Taylor signed for $1.55 million out of high school with the Yankees: “Good Lord, I’ve been pitching for 15 years in the big leagues, and here comes a guy who’s already making more than me.”

Padre pitcher Adam Peterson and infield Dave Staton, each of whom were expected to be called up to the big leagues Sept. 1 when rosters expand, now are expected to be out the rest of the season.

Peterson, who spent three months with the Padres this year before being sent down Aug. 9 to triple-A Las Vegas, is sidelined with a bone spur in his right elbow. He is not expected to return this season.

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Staton, Las Vegas’ leading power hitter with 22 homers and 74 RBIs, is out for the season with a strained lower back.

The Cardinals became the first team in 74 years to have nine players steal at least 10 bases in a season when Rex Hudler stole two bases in the third inning.

The last team to accomplish the feat was the 1917 Chicago White Sox.

The Padres, on the other hand, have only two players who have stolen 10 bases--Bip Roberts (23) and Tony Fernandez (19).

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Although the Cardinals are the rage of the Midwest, and are breathing down the necks of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League East, the rest of the country still hasn’t noticed. The Cardinals have drawn an average of 24,582 on the road this season--the lowest in the National League. . . . The Padres have struck out 833 times (entering Wednesday) this season. The only team in the major leagues with more strikeouts are the Detroit Tigers. . . . The Cardinals have won the the first game of eight consecutive series entering Wednesday’s game. . . . Padre shortstop Tony Fernandez is hitless in his past eight at-bats without hitting the ball out of the infield. . . . The Padres will conclude their trip with a 5:35 p.m. (PST) game today against the Cardinals. Andy Benes (9-10) and Omar Olivares (7-4) are the scheduled starters. Ironically, Benes and Olivares were teammates together at double-A Wichita, but Olivares was traded for outfielder Alex Cole, who eventually was traded to Cleveland for catcher Tom Lampkin.


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