The Friar Thermometer (9/14-9/21)

Padres catcher Gary Bennett an "On Fire Friar"

Looking to the future is in fashion for San Diego Padres fans. The Friars are in the hunt for one of the top four picks in the 2004 Baseball draft. San Diego currently sits third as Tampa is a game ahead, or is it behind, in the race for the second overall pick. <br><br> With those happy tidings we look at the "Friar Thermometer" from the major league level. Tomorrow we will look at the shooting stars within the upper levels of the minor leagues.

Majors

On-Fire Friars:

1) Gary Bennett - 5 for 15 (.333), 8 RBI, 2 doubles
• Bennett is really finishing strong in his bid to presumably be the Padres' back-up backstop in 2004. Since August 8 when he was hitting a pathetic .188, Bennett has raised his average to .234 by hitting .394 over that span.

2) Khalil Greene – 8-for-27 (.296), 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 doubles, triple, .704 slugging pct.
• The 23-year-old rookie is getting a crash-course in major league baseball and after struggling his first week, he is proving to be a quick learner. On top of playing very steady defense at shortstop, Greene is hitting the ball and hitting it with authority. If you're not excited about this kid, you're not a real Padres fan.

3) Scott Linebrink – 4 appearances, 4 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 7 strikeouts, 0 walks
• Linebrink, a waiver claim in late May, has pitched extremely well for the Padres. The righty is a hard-thrower and as long as he maintains his control, is a tough reliever to score upon. It was recently stated by Padres' staffers that he is in the team's plans for 2004.

Frozen Friars:

1) Sean Burroughs – 2 for 15 (.133), HR, 0 strikeouts
• Burroughs struggled with the flu bug this week, so I will cut him some slack. He's had a very nice second season both offensively and defensively and is one of the building blocks for future Padres' success.

2) Kevin Walker – 3 appearances, 1 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 16.26 ERA
• The lefty was on our "On Fire" list last week, but his walk last Monday in San Francisco led directly to a Padres' loss and the two runs he allowed Sunday in Colorado severely hurt the Padres' comeback chances. Unfortunately for Walker, these appearances are also hurting his own comeback chances for 2004.

3) Mike Bynum – 1 start, 4 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 6 runs, 0-1 record
• The lefty was once one of the Padres' top prospects as his slider was compared, at the time, to that of Steve Carlton's. Oh, what happened Mike? This season, Bynum has been a home run machine, allowing 13 in only 27 2/3 innings. That's a horrendous rate. He is one more poor start away from being a former member of the Padres' organization.

Dave Holtzman can be reached at dholtzman@hotmail.com

Check out Dave's website to find more information on the Friars. The news is always fresh and insightful at:

http://friarfan.com

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