© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
09/24/06 5:20 PM ET
Notes: Padres bullpen enjoying rest
Back-to-back gems from starters give relievers a break
By Amanda Branam / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have the luxury of a solid bullpen, something general manager Kevin Towers has been reluctant to tinker with, feeling the 'pen can be one of the most vital pieces to winning a division. When a manager has such a dependable stable of relievers to turn to, it's no surprise they get a lot of work in. Luckily for Padres manager Bruce Bochy, two of his starters gave the bullpen almost two full days of rest. On Friday, Chris Young took a no-hitter through 8 1/3 innings, but began to labor and was one out shy of earning his first complete game. Rookie Cla Meredith finished the last out of the game to give the Padres the win and lowering his minuscule ERA to 0.79 on five pitches. Padres ace Jake Peavy followed Young's performance by going eight innings on Saturday night, and only closer Trevor Hoffman came out of the bullpen to finish off the ninth. "We hadn't gotten into the seventh inning for quite awhile -- I think all month," Bochy said. "So, that's allowed those guys to take a break. They've been up a little bit, but it's not quite the same as getting into the game, so they're getting some needed rest." Meredith has thrown 45 1/3 innings for the Padres this season and has been with the team since May 13. The 23-year-old has become the setup man to eighth-inning setup man Scott Linebrink. Linebrink has thrown in 70 2/3 innings this season, leading all relievers through Saturday. He is tied for fourth-most wins on the team with seven and also has a 3.57 ERA. Lefty Alan Embree has appeared in more games than anyone on the Padres staff at 69 games through Saturday. With seven games remaining in the regular season following Sunday's finale against the Pirates, a fresh bullpen will be important to how the Padres finish the season. "It's good because we've been using those guys," Mike Cameron said. "Especially Meredith and Linebrink. I guess we don't mind using Hoffy. It's for a good cause." The good cause is history, with Hoffman at 478 career saves through Saturday, tying him with Lee Smith for the all-time record. Saturday's record-tier was also his 42nd save in 2006, tops in the National League. Brocail update: Doug Brocail had an MRI exam on his right hamstring, and the doctors told him that if a 10 was the worst tear, his is a 7.5. The back side of his leg has a purple hue to it. Brocail says "it will be awhile" before he takes the field again. It's been a tough year for the 39-year-old reliever, including two angioplasties in the spring and a groin strain while making rehab outings before returning from his surgeries. He injured the hamstring running to cover first on a bunt on last Friday at Dodger Stadium, keeping him out the remainder of the season. Brocail said he felt the hamstring pop, but hoped he would only be out about two weeks at the time. "It's frustrating because I just got back to throwing mid-90s," Brocail said. In the big picture, Brocail said his overall health is great, now he just has to wait for the hamstring to heal. "I'm healthy as a horse," he said. "My heart looks perfect; my numbers came back perfect cholesterol-wise. So at least I know I can tell another team, or let the Padres know, that everything should be fine." Park at the Park to broadcast road games: The Padres last seven games will be in Arizona and St. Louis, but fans can still come enjoy those games at PETCO Park. The Padres will broadcast all the remaining games on the Park at the Park video board. The ballpark will remain open for the duration of each game. It will start on Monday with the series opener in St. Louis. Coming up: The Padres embark on a seven-game road trip to finish their regular-season schedule. David Wells (0-2, 4.43 ERA) will take the mound against Cardinals right hander Jeff Suppan (12-7, 4.07) at Busch Stadium. First pitch is set for 5:10 p.m. PT.
Amanda Branam is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.