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When the Padres get a mention in the national media, it’s news to them. In fact, getting a sniff on any topic other than the bullpen is cause for celebration among club public relations staffers. The Spring Training story about Iraq veteran Cooper Brannan was a rare exception.

Jim Rome is generally supportive, but just yesterday the huge one couldn’t think of a starting pitcher to compliment beyond Jake Peavy, Greg Maddux and David Wells, and skipped to the pen, with the usual reference to Trevor Hoffman and no one else. Par for the course in San Diego.

At least Jayson Stark can name an outfielder, and included Brian Giles in a recent Top Ten most overrated piece, on ESPN.com. Peavy and Hoffman made Stark’s most underrated list, so there’s that.

Warning to Geoff Blum fans: This stings, but at least it’s a bite of the national PR pie for a Padre other than the usual suspects.

From Rotoworld.com: “Geoff Blum, the first pinch-hitter off the bench for the Padres, grounded into an inning-ending double play with two on in the seventh inning of a 1-1 game that San Diego ended up losing on Thursday.

This isn’t a Geoff Blum rant; it’s Bud Black’s fault for using him, not Blum’s fault for not being any good. Blum was used in a tie game with two on and one of the club’s best hitters on deck in Marcus Giles. The absolutely worst thing that can happen is a double play, something that Blum is about three times as likely to hit into as Russell Branyan is. There’s no way that trade off is worth the maybe 1 or 2 percent better chance of Blum delivering a base hit. It’s just incredible that Black doesn’t realize it, as many double plays as he benefited from over the course of his career. Frankly, the Padres would be better off without Blum, not because his replacement would necessarily be superior but because Black wouldn’t be so insistent on using another light-hitting infielder as frequently.”

— HOWARD COLE

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