The Morning Report
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The rumors are finally over. And they were all wrong. Scott Linebrink is a San Diego Padre no more.

He didn’t go to Philadelphia for Aaron Rowand, nor anywhere else for a major leaguer. Instead, Linebrink is off to Milwaukee for youngsters. Lefty pitchers Steve Garrison and Joe Thatcher, and right-hander Will Inman are coming west.

My first reaction? Wow. My next reaction was my jaw dropping to the floor. I closed it, and it dropped to floor again.

Kevin Towers appears elated at the prospect of the prospects, and in particular, getting Mr. Inman. Presumably, Towers is hoping for a rapid ascent through the organization for his new starter, who is already slated into the rotation at AA San Antonio.

While Garrison will continue to work in the low minors, Thatcher’s headed to the big club, and so, the Padres say, straight into the late-inning mix. Again, wow.

This is no doubt going to be one of those “we’ll-see-in-a-couple-of-years” deals. Right now, there’s no telling. As difficult as it might seem to Pads fans, the Brewers might have just the man to take them to the postseason for the first time in a generation. At the same time, Thatcher might flame out as a big leaguer in a week.

Or, Linebrink might crush hearts in Wisconsin this autumn, leave as a free agent, and save 50 games for another club in 2008. Who knows?

But this was a surprise. At least to me it was. Blindsided. I’m guessing Towers has more up his sleeve before the trading deadline. It can’t just be about trading major leaguers for minor leaguers. It’s going to be an interesting six days.

— HOWARD COLE

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