Notes: Padres bullpen leading rally

BY Ken Rosenthal • September 12, 2010

Saturday’s game between the Padres and Giants lasted two hours, seven minutes. Needless to say, I had plenty of notes that never made it on to the broadcast.

Aubrey Huff. OK, here’s the deal on his red-thong underwear. Huff said that his wife originally purchased it for him as an anniversary present.

Huff donned the underwear with 30 games left, telling the Giants, “We need to win 20 of 30 to finish with 92 wins,” figuring that number would be enough for the team to reach the post-season.

Well, the Giants are 8-3 so far with Huff wearing his red thong.

“I can’t give up on it yet,” he said. “It didn’t feel comfortable at first. But I’m starting to get used to it.”

Padres bullpen. Closer Heath Bell called a meeting of the Padres’ relievers after the team’s 10th consecutive loss last week.

The message was: “Forget the offense. Forget the defense. We’re the reason we’re going to win this thing or lose it. If someone makes an error, we’re good enough to get a strikeout or double play.”

The bullpen has since rallied, allowing just two runs in 20 innings.

Cody Ross. The accidental Giant. Ross was claimed on waivers from the Marlins on Aug. 22, presumably to keep him from getting to the Padres.

It turns out the Giants want to keep Ross beyond this season — he is valuable as a strong defender who can play all three outfield positions, though his offense has tailed off.

Ross is earning $4.45 million and eligible for salary arbitration. The Giants probably will want to work out a deal at a lower salary.

Padres attendance. Average home attendance is up by almost 2,000 per game, but it is still disappointing — the Padres bottomed out at 1.9 million last season.

The problem is that the team lost almost half its season-ticket base from 2008 to ’09, dropping from about 15,000 to about 8,700. The base rose slightly to 9,200 this season, but to get a crowd of 30,000, the Padres need to sell about 21,000 seats through group sales, individual purchases and walkups.

“The economy has had an impact,” Padres owner Jeff Moorad said. “So, too has the fact that the community needs to have its trust restored in the franchise. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

Juan Uribe. Not a favorite of statistical analysts due to his career .300 on-base percentage, Uribe nonetheless is an infectious player who always seems to help his team win.

Ten of his 20 homers this season have either tied the score or given the Giants the lead. His 77 RBIs are a career-high — impressive, considering that he is batting only .249.

Ross said of Uribe, “I never realized how strong he is.” Manager Bruce Bochy says Uribe is the strongest player on the team.

Luis Durango. Padres bench coach Ted Simmons says he has the “capacity to wreck the defense” with his speed. Durango’s other impressive tool is his arm in center field.

Simmons says Durango is almost like Ichiro — looking at him, you wouldn’t expect him to have a big arm, but he does. The question is whether he will hit. Simmons thinks the answer is yes and says that Durango will eventually grow into an everyday player.

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