YUMA, Ariz. — Wednesday began with new Padre Manager Steve Boros greeting his players at the clubhouse door, where he'd been waiting since 7 a.m.
Then he brought them outside, sat them down on the center-field grass and said:
--Come and see me anytime.
--If you got a problem, let's talk about it.
--We can win it all, even if we don't make a trade and even if Bip Roberts flops at second base.
--Don't get me wrong. I'm not too nice.
"It was all very well said," infielder Jerry Royster said. Later, Boros volunteered to give his home telephone number to any sportswriter who wanted it.
A television station asked him to wear a portable microphone, just so they could monitor his first day as manager. And Boros agreed.
What a first day. At one point, he eyed his watch and said: "We're seven minutes ahead of schedule!" Not to mention that he'd talked individually with every single player on the roster.
"Sheesh," said pitcher Andy Hawkins. "I never spoke to Dick Williams for longer than five minutes last year."
And so everyone was in a joking mood.
"Hey," Tim Flannery said, "If we have Bip Roberts (5-foot 7-inches) and Steve Garvey (5-9) on the right side of the infield, the whole right side will be under six feet."
"Yeah, combined," Kurt Bevacqua said.
Boros even threw batting practice. At one point, he threw to just the starting outfielders--Kevin McReynolds, Tony Gwynn and Carmelo Martinez.
"You chased a bad pitch," Boros said to Martinez.
Martinez hit the next pitch over the fence.
"Isn't that nice," Boros said.
"I feel refreshed, and the whole team feels refreshed," McReynolds said.
Said Royster: "The attitude is so different. It's even better than last year, and they'd just been to the World Series."
It got serious.
Boros had his player meetings, one by one. Some highlights:
- With Garvey: Boros told him he wouldn't play every day. Garvey's not used to that. But Boros told him to expect in the 155-game range. Martinez can spell Garvey at first base: So can Terry Kennedy.
Boros said it made sense to rest Garvey on Sundays when there was a day off Monday. That way, Garvey, 37, can take off two days in a row.
Boros said Garvey took it well.
"He's too classy not to," Boros said.
Garvey said: "I will prepare for 177 games--162 regular season, one All-Star game and 14 postseason games. It's his (Boros') decision. He can rest me, but I said barring injury, I'll be ready everyday. If he feels someone else should play, I'll still be ready to pinch-hit. I want to play all 162. That's my commitment. That's what it says in my contract. I mean, we're talking theory (about being rested) now, and I'll just try to make it so he won't want to take me out."
- With McReynolds: Boros gave him the most pats on the back.
"Kevin McReynolds was one of the most exciting players when I was in spring training with Oakland," the manager said. "There's no reason why can't be an All-Star for the next 10 years. He has that type of physical ability. If he hasn't shown it, it's either for a mental or physical reason, and we'd like to find out."
McReynolds kept ripping the ball during batting practice Wednesday.
- With Kennedy: Boros said Kennedy also will be rested. Kennedy played in 143 games last year, far too many for a catcher.
Kennedy said: "Hey, I'm gonna be 30. . . . So this can really help me. Maybe I can sneak over to first."
- With Martinez: He worked out much of the day at first base. Third base, too, is in the horizon. With General Manager Jack McKeon still trying to arrange a trade for a speedy center fielder, McReynolds could be moved to left, which means Martinez would have to go somewhere.
"He (Boros) wanted me to take ground balls at third and first, but he also told me not to forget about left field," Martinez said.
Boros told Martinez he'd be used at third during some "B" level exhibition games, but not in "A" games, so he can't possibly embarrass himself.
- With Roberts: Boros singled out Roberts during the outfield meeting, saying: "Bip, we'll try not to put too much pressure on you." But they want him to start at second base. No question. Sandy Alomar, the new first base coach and a former major league infielder, and shortstop Garry Templeton spent time working on Roberts' defense.
"He has a few things to learn, but he'll pick them up quick," Alomar said. "Tempy's helping."
- With Timry Flanster: He told both Royster and Flannery that if Roberts messes up, they better be ready. Royster took this to mean that Roberts definitely is being given the second base job, and he didn't like that.
He said later: "I think he (Roberts) should have to beat someone out of that second base job. I think I'm gonna tell him Boros that."
So Royster will be the first guy to walk up and say: "Hey, you said if I had a problem, I could see you. Well, here I am."