SAN DIEGO — The weird days of Craig Lefferts continued this week. He had bronchitis this spring and missed two weeks; then Manager Greg Riddoch used him in six of seven days--including the Padres' first three games this season.
But after pitching Sunday in Los Angeles, Lefferts had Monday off. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday . . .
That would seem to be a little excessive for a closer, a guy who generally stays sharp by pitching often. Before Friday's game, though, Lefferts didn't think his rest was too long.
"I've kind of needed it," he said. "Gives my arm a chance to catch up. I'm just starting to feel like I'm 100%."
Lefferts had gone three days without throwing off a mound but said before Friday's game that, if he didn't get into the game, he would warm up anyway in the late innings.
"I don't want to go any more than three days," he said.
Besides, he has had enough rest.
"The first six or seven games, I was not at full strength," Lefferts said. "Now, I'm pretty much back to normal."
Pitcher Dennis Rasmussen, who has been eligible to come off the disabled list since Monday, said he likely will report to triple-A Las Vegas Monday to begin a rehabilitation assignment. He is scheduled to pitch his second simulated game Sunday.
"I'm looking forward to pitching in a game situation," said Rasmussen, who missed most of spring training with tendinitis in his left shoulder. "I'm looking forward to getting myself ready to come back here and help these guys win."
It was spring training, and Derek Lilliquist and Calvin Schiraldi were two candidates for the fifth starting spot in the Padre rotation. Remember? Well, Lilliquist went 7 2/3 innings Thursday night for triple-A Las Vegas and allowed six hits and two runs. He struck out seven and didn't walk anybody. The Stars were playing Tucson--and Schiraldi pitched two innings of relief for the Toros. He allowed one hit and struck out one. Neither were involved in the decision; Las Vegas won, 6-3, in 14 innings.
Outfielder Jim Vatcher, the Padres' surprise of spring training, has gotten off to a rough start at Las Vegas. Through eight games, he is batting .148. Catcher Brian Dorsett, the last cut of the spring, has three home runs and is batting .286 in seven games.
Larry Anderson's neck is "a little better," he said before Friday's game. "(Thursday) it was a little better, (Friday) it was a little better, if we keep getting those little betters, we'll be fine," Anderson said. Anderson said he is available to pitch. . . . The Padres leave after Sunday's game for their longest trip of the season--15 days. The worst thing about leaving homes and families for that long? "It's a damn shame we're leaving town," Ed Whitson said. "Hodges is picking up." Lake Hodges is one of Whitson's favorite fishing holes.