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PADRES UPDATE : NOTEBOOK / BOB NIGHTENGALE : Rodriguez Meets With Riddoch Seeking Expanded Role in Bullpen

Padre reliever Rich Rodriguez, wanting his role enhanced on the club, had a 30-minute closed-door meeting Tuesday with Padre Manager Greg Riddoch to vent his frustration.

Rodriguez was particularly upset after being lifted in Monday’s game against the Dodgers. He faced only two batters--issuing a walk and a hit--before he was taken out of the game in the 11th inning.

The Padres wound up blowing their third lead of the night after Rodriguez left, suffering a 6-5 defeat in 11 innings.

“I have no problems with Greg Riddoch,” Rodriguez said, “but I wanted to let him know I’m not content by just existing here. I want the ball, I don’t care what the situation is.

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“When I’m sitting on the bench, I’m not just a happy-go-lucky guy. I want to pitch. I want the ball in tough situations.

“Basically, I just wanted to reaffirm to him that my confidence level is all there.”

Rodriguez, who leads the team with a 2.19 ERA, would like to be included in the stopper-by-committee plan. His appearance Monday was the first time this season that he’s been in a save situation.

Yet, after issuing a leadoff walk to Eric Davis and a hit-and-run single by Eric Karros, Rodriguez was pulled out of the game in favor of Pat Clements. Clements, who had not pitched in a game since June 16, gave up a two-run single to Stan Javier and lost the game on Jose Offerman’s single.

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“You don’t expect a guy to be happy about that, do you?” Riddoch said about Rodriguez’s complaint. “But action speaks louder than words.

“I told him when I give you the ball, you are the guy.”

Later in the day, it was Riddoch’s turn to have a meeting. This time the subject was Randy Myers. In his first save situation since June 2, Myers couldn’t hold a one-run lead in the 10th inning. He still is without a save since May 29.

“It was ugly, there’s no two ways about it,” Myers said. “We all stunk it up. The bullpen just didn’t do it as a group.”

Myers’ biggest sin was issuing a walk to Mitch Webster, the first batter he faced, while Webster was trying to bunt. So instead of one out and a runner on second, there were no outs and runners on first and second.

“There’s no excuse for that,” Myers said. “I tried to throw a strike down the middle of the plate, and I couldn’t even do that. It was just one of those games. What are you going to do?

“It was a game we should have put away.”

If there was any consolation in the Padres’ game Monday, it was the pitching of Padre starter Dave Eiland. Making his first start since May 3, Eiland allowed only three hits and two earned runs in six innings.

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Really, if not for a critical balk in the sixth inning, Eiland might won his first National League game. Yet, with runners on first and second and two outs, Eiland was called for a balk by second-base umpire Terry Tata.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been called for a balk in my life,” said Eiland, who then gave up Lenny Harris’ two-run single. “Maybe I got called for one in Little League, but never anywhere else.

“He said I flinched. What could I do? It turned out to be the big play.

“But I feel good, and hopefully this will be the thing I need to get going.”

It turns out that the suspension San Francisco Giant starter Trevor Wilson received in his role in the brawl was not a punishment at all.

Since the Giants were rained out Monday night in Candlestick Park, Wilson not only didn’t miss a start, but he wasn’t even pushed back a day.

Wilson started Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, right on schedule, and his four-day suspension turned out to be totally irrelevant.

“It figures,” said Fred McGriff, who missed seven games because of the suspension and rib cage injury that he incurred in the brawl.

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The Padres, however, can take pride in the fact that they were responsible as anyone for knocking Dave Righetti out of the Giants’ rotation.

The Giants announced that Righetti will return to the bullpen after yielding six hits and six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Padres last Thursday.

The Giants, who lost three of four games against the Padres, also held a players-only team meeting Monday. It was the first players-only meeting since Roger Craig became manager.

The Oakland Athletics would be willing to trade left fielder Rickey Henderson to the Padres for Padre starter Bruce Hurst, sources in the Padre organization said.

The Padres aren’t interested, which doesn’t surprise the Athletics.

When asked about Henderson’s thought process this week when Henderson told reporters he wanted to be traded, and then said he was only joking, Oakland Manager Tony La Russa said: “You’re looking for a thread of logic that doesn’t exist.”

Incredible-but-true statistic: The Padres have only one passed ball this season. It’s the fewest of any team in the major leagues.

The lone passed ball occurred Sunday against the Giants.


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