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Padres Employ Day Off to Go Back to the Basics

June 27, 1989|SCOTT MILLER

SAN DIEGO — The Padres hit the cutoff man Monday. They fielded bunts, they made some pretty good relay throws from the outfield and they threw to the correct bases.

But there wasn't a game Monday at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, just a mini-version of spring training as Manager Jack McKeon ran his squad through its first workout since the beginning of the season.

It also was a time to work out frustrations that have been building through a disappointing season.

"It's not punishment," McKeon said. "We've got to correct some problems. There has been a lack of execution, so let's work on it. I don't like these off-day workouts, either, but when you win, it makes things easier."

The Padres also made some moves off the field Monday. They activated infielder Tim Flannery, who was on the 15-day disabled list with a partially torn muscle in his right forearm. To make room, they optioned infielder Gary Green to Las Vegas. They also sent pitcher Dave Leiper to Las Vegas for a 20-day rehabilitation assignment. Leiper had been on the disabled list with a sore left elbow.

This is the second time this season Green has been sent to Las Vegas.

"It's one of those things," he said. "It's a numbers game, and I just happen to be caught up in it."

Leiper, who pitched batting practice at Monday's mandatory workout, also was disappointed.

"The arm feels great," he said. "The best it's felt all year. They just want me to get in some work, see some hitters. I haven't pitched well this year, but I went out there when I shouldn't a lot."

Everyone but pitcher Eric Show was on the field Monday. Show was in the trainer's room undergoing treatment for a sore back. He started Sunday's game against the Giants but left after three innings, allowing five runs and seven hits.

"We had him checked out and he's fine," McKeon said. "I noticed in the third inning (of Sunday's game) he wasn't following through like he was earlier."

The Padres won Sunday, 10-7, to avoid a three-game sweep by the first-place Giants. Blown leads on Friday and Saturday, though, took their toll. McKeon held his first postgame, closed-door meeting after a 3-1 loss Saturday to vent his anger. Sunday afternoon on McKeon's desk sat a book: "Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back: Persevering Through Pressure."

"We're 10 games out because we put ourselves 10 games out," McKeon said. "I'd say with the way the league has gone so far, we ought to be five games out at the most."

Thus, Monday's workout.

"We're trying to get the guys focused," McKeon said. "What are we here to do? How can we prepare ourselves to win? If that means extra workouts, fine. Extra meetings, fine.

"Why should you have to scream and holler at guys who are getting paid to do a job? You would think there would be personal embarrassment if they're not doing their job. The players are on stage; they're being judged. If a player doesn't care, maybe he's not the player I want. I saw a big difference (Sunday). Maybe it's time to get things going."

Said Tony Gwynn: "I thought after the second half of last season, we knew what we needed to do. You can see what's happening, though. We're just not executing. When Jack said what he did (at Saturday's meeting), it was great. It opens your eyes and helps you bear down."

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