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Stottlemyre throws well, but loses first start in 19 months

4/10/2002

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Ryan Klesko was hungry for his first hit of the
season, and Arizona manager Bob Brenly left Todd Stottlemyre in
just a little too long.

Klesko hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning and the San
Diego Padres beat the Diamondbacks 5-2 Tuesday night, spoiling
Stottlemyre's first start in nearly 19 months.

Phil Nevin hit a two-run shot in the first inning off
Stottlemyre, pitching for the first time since Sept. 21, 2000. He
missed all of last season with a nerve problem in his right
shoulder.

"He threw extremely well," said Brenly, who had reliever Eddie
Oropesa warmed up in time to face Klesko. "He threw so well that I
let my heart get in the way of my head. I wanted to get him a win
in his first game back."

Instead, the defending World Series champion Diamondbacks
dropped to 0-4 in games started by anyone other than Randy Johnson
or Curt Schilling.

"It was tough because I really had a tough time getting any
rhythm out there," said the 36-year-old Stottlemyre, who had been
through 1½ years of surgeries and rehabilitation.

"It was a battle. Every pitch was a battle. Of course, I knew
it was going to be like that. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. It
is a great feeling being back out there, going through that grind,
though."

Stottlemyre settled down after allowing Nevin's homer, but got
into trouble in the fifth.

He walked D'Angelo Jimenez with one out, and Nevin reached on an
infield hit with two outs. Stottlemyre grooved a 2-1 pitch to
Klesko, who drove it an estimated 381 feet into the right-field
seats for a 5-1 lead.

"He pitched good. The guy's made a tremendous comeback," said
Klesko, adding that Stottlemyre threw some "nasty" split-fingered
fastballs. "He got behind in the count a couple of times. That
pitch to me, I just kind of got the head out on the ball."

Stottlemyre said he tried to pitch Klesko in, but the slugger
"did everything that he was capable of doing on that pitch."

Klesko, who hit 30 homers last year, had been 0-for-12 this
season. He missed the last two weeks of spring training, then
served a four-game suspension for his role in a spring training
brawl with Anaheim.

Stottlemyre (0-1) struck out Ray Lankford to end the fifth and
was replaced by Oropesa. The right-hander threw 98 pitches,
allowing five runs and five hits, striking out three and walking
three.

Bobby Jones (1-0) won his first start of the season after a
miserable 2001. Jones was 8-19 last year, barely avoiding becoming
baseball's first 20-game loser in 21 years.

Trevor Hoffman got three outs for his second save.

Jones got a seven-game suspension for his role in the
spring training brawl with the Angels. He allowed two runs on five
hits in 6 1/3 innings, including solo homers by Luis Gonzalez in
the first and Danny Bautista in the sixth.

Stottlemyre fell behind 2-1 after his fifth pitch, which Nevin
sent into the left-field seats for his second two-run homer in as
many games. Mark Kotsay drove a pitch from Stottlemyre over center
fielder Steve Finley's head to the base of the fence, but slipped
rounding first and held up.

"I know he's as big of a gamer as there is," Nevin said of
Stottlemyre. "I'm sure he was pumped to get back out on the mound.
He hasn't been out there in a long time."

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the eighth against two
Padres relievers before Alan Embree got Mark Grace to fly out.

Stottlemyre's arm problems actually started in 1999, when he was
diagnosed with a partial tear of his right rotator cuff. He chose
to rehab instead of have surgery, and returned later that year.

He hurt his right elbow May 29, 2000, was on the disabled
list twice that season and finally had surgery Sept. 26, 2000,
to readjust the nerve in the joint.

The following spring, the thoracic nerve in his right shoulder
went dead and didn't regenerate until late in the summer. By the
time the nerve began firing again, Stottlemyre had been shut down
for the 2001 season and underwent surgery to repair a tear in his
right shoulder.

Game notes
Gonzalez, Nevin and Bautista each have two homers. ...
Nevin batted third and Klesko cleanup for the second consecutive game.
... To make room on the roster for Stottlemyre, the Diamondbacks
designated catcher Chad Moeller for assignment.