Giants on the clock: According to the Union-Tribune and a handful of other media outlets, the San Francisco Giants have formally asked the Padres for permission to speak with manager Bruce Bochy. The Padres’ winningest manager of all-time is thought to be the top candidate for the Bay Area job. Bochy leaves Monday for Japan to manage a U.S. all-star team, so thing could progress quickly.

Minor adjustments: Kevin Towers is at it again, building a bullpen from other team’s castaways. The Padres today signed Scott Strickland to a one-year contract and added the right-handed pitcher to the 40-man roster. Strickland, 30, went 5-2 with five saves and a 2.09 ERA (17 ER/73.1 IP) in 53 games in 2006 for the Indianapolis Indians, Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate. He recorded 70 strikeouts compared to only 15 walks, holding opponents to a .233 batting average (63-for-270).

Originally selected by the Montreal Expos in the 10th round of the 1997 First-Year Player draft, Strickland joined the Pirates as a free agent on November 20, 2005. Over parts of six Major League seasons with the Expos (1999-2002), New York Mets (2002-03) and Astros (2005), he is 12-21 with 20 saves and a 3.34 ERA (89 ER/240.0 IP) in 236 games, including a 0-0 mark with a 6.75 ERA (3 ER/ 4.0 IP) in 2005 for the Houston Astros, his last Major League season. Over parts of seven minor league seasons, Strickland has a career record of 21-17 with 32 saves and a 3.26 ERA (135 ER/373.0 IP) in 193 games (27 starts).

Blackout lifted: Enough tickets have been sold to lift the local television blackout for Sunday’s Chargers-Rams game at Qualcomm Stadium. The game will be televised in Southern California on XETV (Fox, Channel 6) in San Diego and KTTV (Fox, Channel 11) in Los Angeles. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m.

A limited number of Club Level tickets are still available for the game and can be purchased at the Chargers’ ticket office at Gate C at Qualcomm Stadium, online at www.Chargers.com or by calling (619) 220-TIXS (8497). More than 1,500 tickets remain for the Chargers-Cleveland Browns game on Nov. 5 and more than 6,000 tickets still remain for the Chargers-Raiders game on Nov. 26. With a near-capacity crowd expected, fans should expect delays getting into the parking lot and into the stadium.

– CHRIS NIXON

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