Padres still seeking Finley

The San Diego Padres have been enamored with him for quite some time now and most fans have already penciled him in at center. Now they are looking to ink him in but there are holdups on both sides as the Friars target Steve Finley. Similar to the ongoing Jason Kendall talk, Finley is a myth coveted by Kevin Towers but the dealing parts are not quite there yet.

The Padres' hopes of acquiring center fielder Steve Finley could hinge on a third team ... as well as Padres center fielder Jay Payton.

Thus far, the Padres and Diamondbacks have yet to find a straight match for Finley, and Arizona has told the Padres it is not interested in Payton. Meanwhile, the Padres probably would have to move Payton to make room for Finley. Could the Padres-Diamondbacks talks involve a third team ... a fourth team?

The rumors involving Finley and the Padres quieted this week after the Diamondbacks offered a list of players they wanted in return for the outfielder, who is a free agent at the end of this season. The Padres balked at that list -- just as the Diamondbacks evidently rejected the list of candidates projected by the Padres.

The Padres were apparently willing to part with corner outfielder and top prospect Xavier Nady plus one of their minor league starting pitchers (Dennis Tankersley).

Other names mentioned were minor league prospects Freddy Guzman (a center fielder) and Josh Barfield (a second baseman).

The Diamondbacks apparently wanted several players already on the Padres' 25-man roster other than Payton (with whom the Padres would gladly part), including at least one pitcher. For the Padres, the Finley trade talk is causing more concern because (1) he was popular with fans when he was in San Diego from 1995-1998, (2) the fans expected this deal to be done two weeks ago and (3) they see him as the missing piece of the puzzle.

"Too much was made of Finley too soon," a Padres official said last week. "Arizona probably thinks it can stick us up. We shouldn't have let the expectations that he was coming home to San Diego to get so far out of proportion."

Padres Notes:

"It was pretty cool," Rich Aurilia said about his return to San Francisco. "The fans were great. For every boo I heard, I heard a hundred 'Hey, I miss you, wish you still were here.' "It made me feel good as a person and a player."

Until two weeks ago, there was a question about which catcher would remain as the backup when Ramon Hernandez returned from the disabled list. No more. Season-long No. 2 Miguel Ojeda is 7-for-22 with two homers and four RBI since the All-Star break while call-up Humberto Quintero is 2-for-30 since July 4, and his average has plunged from .424 to .254. Quintero has been sent to Portland.

Antonio Osuna returned to the disabled list for the second time this season on June 18 with elbow tendinitis. He is eligible to return, but no date is set.

Sources say the Padres are interested in re-acquiring Dave Hansen from Seattle as a left-handed pinch-hitter and backup first baseman.

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