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Rays: Up next

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002

SCOUTING REPORT: Saddled with a payroll millions less than any other club in the National League West, the Padres were a .500 ballclub as of May 19.

Things have gone downhill in a hurry.

San Diego enters interleague play having lost seven in a row, including sweeps by the Brewers and Giants, and has been outscored 50-15. Injuries have hurt in a big way. Third baseman Phil Nevin, the team's three-time MVP, went on the disabled list with a broken shoulder, and Sean Burroughs, a rookie of the year candidate, also was placed on the DL with a shoulder problem. Opening-day starter Kevin Jarvis is out, too.

Though this club could be a threat in coming years when its prospects develop, manager Bruce Bochy still has the likes of Ryan Klesko, Mark Kotsay and closer Trevor Hoffman to work with.

Klesko has reached base in 49 straight games and is batting .355 with 36 walks. Kotsay has a 13-game hitting streak. And Hoffman has 14 saves.

The Padres have a .243 team batting average and rank 15th in the NL with 211 runs. The pitching staff has the third-highest ERA (4.42) in the NL and has allowed the second-most hits (546).

TAMPA BAY CONNECTIONS: Three Rays played in San Diego during their careers. Shortstop Chris Gomez and catcher John Flaherty were traded from Detroit to the Padres in June 1996. Gomez played in 533 games, including 150 in 1997 and 145 in 1998, before the Padres released him last season. Flaherty played in 201 games before the Rays traded for him in 1997. Leftfielder Greg Vaughn was traded from Milwaukee to San Diego in July 1996 and hit 78 homers with 294 RBIs in 321 games.

Padres rightfielder Bubba Trammell was a fan favorite while with the Rays from 1998-2000. He batted .285 with 33 homers and 107 RBIs in 206 games. Trammell, who signed a three-year deal worth $9-million in September, is batting .204 with five homers and 16 RBIs.

ALL-TIME SERIES: This is the first meeting between the teams.

WHO'S HOT: Kotsay is batting .426 with 3 doubles, 3 homers, 1 triple and 7 RBIs during his career-high hitting streak.

WHO'S NOT: Pitcher Dennis Tankersley, who is not scheduled to face the Rays, is 0-2 with a 14.73 ERA in his past 71/3 innings.

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