San Diego Padres Name New Opening Day Starter
Dwane Brown (host): San Diego Padres have named a starting pitcher for opening day next month. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times’ sports columnist, Jay Paris. So who’s taking the mound – next month is really next week, Jay – for the first game of the season?
Jay Paris (North County Times sports columnist): Next month and a week from tonight, they'll be in Arizona kicking this baby off, and Jon Garland, a veteran free agent, really the biggest free agent the Padres went out and got this season, he got the nod, he'll lead the way, it'll be Garland, Chris Young, Kevin Correia, Clayton Richard, and then Mat Latos. So that's a pretty solid five, and I think they gave the nod to Garland, even though he's a newcomer, he's going to be the guy that Bud points to as kind of a mentor and leader on this young staff, and he gets the first crack at the Diamondbacks on Monday night.
Pamela Davis (host): The Padres have had a few disappointing seasons lately. Do you think they'll bounce back this season?
Paris: They've got a shot. At least they're heading in the right direction. They're going to, you know, they're playing the young kids, and it's all about player development with this franchise. And now they get to prove that those players are actually developing. I know Chase Headley, third baseman, a lot of people are looking at him for this year to kind of be his coming out year. Twenty RBIs and 18 games down there in spring, I know it's spring, but he's swinging the bat well, playing third base, and the team's five games over, and again it doesn't mean much once the bell rings Monday night, but they're playing good baseball. It's aggressive baseball on the base paths, and it's good pitching and good defense. And if you put those three in and get a few timely hits, it usually works out in your favor.
Brown: Well the basketball season has ended for San Diego State women's team. They lost to second-ranked Duke over the weekend in the Sweet Sixteen. Jay, their two wins during that tournament did set some records for the school. How do you see the team at this stage of the game?
Paris: It's a loss, but my goodness, the recognition and the time on ESPN, and the talking heads talking about San Diego State's women's program, you know, and to knock off two Top 25 teams, to reach that Sweet 16, and yes they lost to Duke, but they're playing pretty solid now. That first half, Jené Morris had a barking hamstring, and that kind of slowed them down the second half, and the Blue Devils kind of took charge from there. But they made quite a few inroads, and I know the men's team certainly got its share of publicity early on in the tournament, and as rightly they should have. But look for a big thing. If they can keep Beth Burns around, that's going to be the key. She's, the coach Beth Burns, she's the architect of all of this, and she's the Energizer Bunny if you will, if they can just keep plugging her battery in and keeping her on Montezuma Mesa, this program can do nothing but go up.
Davis: Lincoln High boys basketball won the Division 2 championship. What can you say about the Hornets?
Paris: First time any San Diego county team won a Division 2 title. Won 24 straight games to end the season. And this is a school that was rebuilt, was kind of quiet in a big construction zone for a while, but they've got it up and running again, and that's a storied program over there, I guess for those guys. They're only going to lose two guys off the top 8 players on that team, so they'll be a Top 10 statewide team next year. Great win for those guys, that's awesome.
Brown: And how would you assess the Kia Classic at the La Costa Resort and Spa over the weekend in Carlsbad, LPGA?
Paris: Oh, well under par, if I can use a little golf parlance. The weather was stunning, the fans came out, and Michelle Wie was in contention there, she kind of moves the needle for women's golf in this country. But just the sight of seeing professional golf back at La Costa again warms your heart, for people who've been around San Diego for so long, and all those great PGA events and the Tournament of Champions, and some of the game's all-time greats have walked that storied course, and to not have any championships out there for a while just seemed odd. It was great the pros were back, and the ladies did a great job, and by all accounts the fans had a good time.
Davis: North County Times' sports columnist Jay Paris. Jay, thanks for joining us.
Paris: OK. Cheers.