With the 2007 season opener Tuesday, the Padres are primed and ready to shove off.
The team is essentially healthy, competition for jobs has been completed and the players might as well watch the NCAAs for a couple days, like the rest of us. Aside from a late adjustment to the last man on the bench, or in the bullpen, the 25-man roster is set. And if you’re going to win a bunch of meaningless spring training games, you might as well do so toward the end of the schedule, which is exactly what the Padres have been doing.
But what about all those ex-Padres, now working in San Francisco? Well, with six weeks of practice managing Barry Bonds under his belt, Bruce Bochy seems none the worse for wear. We’ll keep you posted on his hairline during the season.
Dave Roberts, as he often does, has battled nagging injuries in recent weeks, is hitting .214 in fake games, but will be leading off and in center field against his old mates Tuesday.
It might come as a surprise to some, but Ryan Klesko is hitting the crap out of the ball as a part-time Giant, which looks like what his role is going to be, at least to start the season. With Mark Sweeney’s name being linked to Barry Bonds and performance enhancing drugs, he’s got more than just his .195 spring average to worry about, and could be released at any minute.
Across the bay in Oakland, Mike Piazza is finally ready to DH on a fairly regular basis, and has been around .400 throughout March. Josh Barfield is getting comfortable at second base for what looks to be a fine Cleveland Indians team, and is above .300. Woody Williams is a lock for the back-end of the Houston Astros rotation, and will probably be his good old reliable self in ’07.
Last but not least, poor Chan Ho Park missed making the New York Mets as a fifth starter, but still has a shot at the pen. I don’t know about you, but I’m on the edge of my chair waiting for that one.
— HOWARD COLE