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PADRES UPDATE : NOTEBOOK / BOB WOLF : Fernandez Has Rough Day on Field, Then Leaves Because of Illness

Sunday wasn’t the kind of day that Tony Fernandez would like to remember.

The Padre shortstop was under the weather and felt that he should have taken the day off. But he played anyway against the Pittsburgh Pirates and went hitless in three at-bats besides failing to field two tough ground balls, one of which was ruled a hit and the other an error. Finally, after six innings, he told Manager Greg Riddoch that he had had enough.

As soon as the game was over, Fernandez left the clubhouse in a hurry. It seemed at first that he was upset, but he talked as though he was more frustrated than anything else.

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“I needed a rest,” he said. “But I didn’t want to tell them about how I felt because then they’d think I didn’t want to play.”

Since there have been times in the past when Fernandez was thought to have made too much of minor ailments, his reaction was understandable. He wasn’t anxious to land in Riddoch’s doghouse.

If Riddoch was miffed, however, he didn’t admit as much. He said simply, “Tony came over and told me he didn’t feel good, so I took him out.”

Not surprisingly, financial considerations will figure strongly in the Padres’ preparations for the draft to stock the Florida and Colorado expansion teams.

“Our list won’t be based strictly on ability,” General Manager Joe McIlvaine said. “We’ll have to leave some guys unprotected who are making big money. A lot of teams will do it. I think you’re going to have an all-star team out there.”

Actually, though, it won’t be that big a deal for the Padres. The only high-priced players who are genuine candidates for their unprotected list are second baseman Kurt Stillwell and utility infielder Tim Teufel.

Although Stillwell is a regular, he is less likely than Teufel to be protected. He has been a big disappointment after signing last winter as a free agent.

Each major-league club will make 15 players unavailable to the Marlins and Rockies when the draft is held Nov. 17.

Pirate Manager Jim Leyland showed Sunday that he was staying loose despite the heat of the National League East race.

Mindful of many rumors circulating in Pittsburgh that the Pirates were about to trade for outfielder Ruben Sierra of the Texas Rangers, Leyland put Sierra’s name in the cleanup spot on the Pirates’ lineup card in their clubhouse. A while later, Coach Rich Donnelly came along and said, “Let’s put up the real lineup.”

Asked about his ruse, Leyland laughed and said, “I was having a little fun with the media guys. They didn’t know whether to believe it or not. Then I got a call from (General Manager) Ted Simmons, so it worked out perfectly.

“Hell, there’s no chance of getting Sierra. What’s he making, $5 million a year? We can’t afford that kind of money.”


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