The reports on Doug Brocail's heart surgery are good, although it's uncertain that the 38-year-old right-handed reliever will pitch this year. Brocail had an emergency angioplasty Saturday after tests showed a 99 percent blockage in a coronary artery. A stent was placed into the artery to improve blood flow. Brocail must await further tests two weeks from now to determine a rehab program.
Padres team physician Dr. Harry Albers said Brocail's condition could have led to a fatal heart attack. Immediately after his surgery, Brocail told the Padres he would stop using smokeless tobacco, which Alders said can harm the heart. The Padres had Brocail undergo extensive cardio exams last Friday after the pitcher reported tightness in his chest March 7 after throwing only 10 pitches against the Giants. He had reported the same problems after a workout three days earlier.
Manny Alexander still hasn't reported to spring training due to visa problems in the Dominican Republic, leaving general manager Kevin Towers to admit he is looking for a shortstop insurance policy to back up starter Khalil Greene.
RHP Brian Sikorski, who appeared to have a spot in the Padres bullpen assured when he signed as a free agent out of Japan this winter, has struggled in every outing this spring to place himself on the bubble. Non-roster invitees Ryan Meaux and Jon Adkins are competing for a big-league job.