Good Riddance

Rey Ordonez

Some things you just know. This happens to be one of those times. Rey Ordonez will apparently not return to the San Diego Padres after taking time off for personal reasons. Personal reasons. This is the best possible situation for the franchise as they move forward towards contention. Good riddance.

"I talked to his agent (Andy Katz) this morning and it sounds like he's not coming back," general manager Kevin Towers said.

Collective sigh of relief.

Rey Ordonez is what he is – a no hit wonder who the New York Mets had tried to get rid of for too many seasons and fans tried to get rid of for even longer.

"The fans here are too stupid," Ordonez said in 2002 while still playing for the Mets. "You have to play perfect every game. You can't make an error. You can't go 0-for-4. Are we like machines?"

What Ordonez forgot to mention was he went 0-4 almost every game. When the team just needed him to get to the pitcher for an RBI opportunity, he would hit into a double play.

His defense was no longer the "difference maker" and became rather ordinary. He would dive for balls within any shortstop's range just to make it look like he was making a play. The routine balls were getting through.

How do I know? I was at Shea Stadium during many of those games. I booed with the rest of the crowd as he continually regressed. From flashy defender to nothing but a flash in the pan.

This ends the debate, if there ever was one.

Khalil Greene will be the starting shortstop for your San Diego Padres.

"What I got from his agent is this is the first time in his career that he's had to fight for a job," Towers said. "I think he saw the competition and thought his competition was playing pretty well and thought his chances weren't very good and he's probably right."

Well said, Mr. T.

"He had had a good spring with us but I think he realized Khalil Greene was our future shortstop and was playing very well and the likelihood of him making the club as a starter," Towers continued. "I'm sure he had some concerns. Rather than stick around and fight it out, he decided to take off, which didn't help his chances."

It didn't hurt that Greene is having an outstanding spring. Through Friday, Greene leads the team in RBI's with ten and is hitting .345. Greene put a nice punctuation and his own version of "good bye" tonight with two doubles and two RBI's in a shutout win for the Friars.

The Padres lineup is stacked heading into 2004. The word coming into spring was whatever offense Greene would provide would be a bonus. With Ordonez in camp that was no longer true. Ordonez was here to take the kid's job in a year when the Padres could finally afford youth in the eight hole. Now the choice has been made for them and it could not have happened at a better time.

Thanks for the memories Rey! We will never forget you. And kudos to Khalil Greene for having a great spring and kicking the bum out of town.

Spring Training: Six pitchers combined for a four hit shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday. Greene, as mentioned, provided the lumber with two hits and two RBI's. Dennis Tankersley added another RBI this spring and was dominant on the mound. Tank went three innings and did not allow a hit while striking out three. Ismael Valdez got the win and Mike Bynum earned the save.

Third baseman Sean Burroughs left Friday's game with the Brewers after two innings due to stiffness in his lower back. Ramon Vasquez got some time in playing first base on Friday.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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