Azocar, Ward Become Free Agents

Oscar Azocar and Kevin Ward, the Padres' top two reserve outfielders this season, have become free agents after they rejected assignment to triple-A Las Vegas. In addition, the Padres released first baseman-outfielder Phil Stephenson.

Azocar batted .190 with no homers and eight RBIs in 168 at-bats over 99 games. He hit .246 in 38 games in 1991. Ward posted a .197 average with three homers and 12 RBIs in 81 games. Stephenson, who earned a promotion from Las Vegas after hitting .332 in 63 games, struggled with the Padres, hitting .155 in 53 games.


Escondido High's Vu Dang remained in serious but stable condition at Palomar Medical Center, recovering from a head injury he suffered while attempting a punt return in Friday's game against San Marcos. Dang, breathing on his own, was taken off a respirator.

"His recovery will be slow, but things are looking very hopeful," said Dr. Imad Shahhal, the neurosurgeon who performed emergency surgery on Dang Friday.


The University of San Diego fell victim to Jaycee Leitner and UC Irvine, 2-1, at Valley Field. Leitner scored both Anteater goals. Danielle Lopez had seven saves for USD (3-7-0). Irvine is 5-6-2.


USD will have five players in today's main draw of the ITCA West Coast Fall Championships at the Warner Tennis Club in Thousand Oaks. Four of six Toreros--J.J. Shobar, Philippe Hofmann, Ignacio Martinez and Mark Huwart--advanced through qualifying rounds Thursday and Wednesday.

USD's Fredrik Axater advanced automatically.


Ninth-ranked UC San Diego fell to No. 5 UC Irvine, 11-7, at Crawford Hall in Irvine. The Tritons (14-2) tied the score four times but never led. They got two goals each from Kevin Vance and George Hagarty.

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