Bevos office shuffle gives Padres pause


Kevin Towers, the San Diego Padres' general manager, has cast a wary eye at the mismanagement of the Portland Beavers and PGE Park over the last two years.

'From a front-office standpoint, you would like to see more stability,' says Towers, a Medford native. 'We worry about who is going to run the club, if they are going to bring in new management and that sort of thing.

'It makes it difficult for guys like (Manager) Rick Sweet. That day-to-day working relationship is important. We had a good one (with the Padres' previous Triple-A club) in Las Vegas.'

The Padres and Beavers are in the third year of a four-year working agreement.

'I am hoping we can stay there,' Towers says. 'I love the city and the facility. Our players enjoy being there. The weather is outstanding for us during the season. I don't want to go anywhere else.

'I hope they get front-office stability, so we can have as long-lasting a relationship with the Beavers as we did with the Stars in Vegas.'

Long-lasting, of course, unless Portland lands a major league team.

•ÊFormer Beavers owner Joe Buzas, an old-fashioned baseball man, died Wednesday at his home in Salt Lake City. Buzas, 84, who owned the Salt Lake Buzz for nine seasons, had been ill for several years.

•ÊSophomore guard Floyd North III is leaving the Oregon State basketball program, with plans to transfer.

• Two years ago, Sean Burroughs was a budding star, the Pacific Coast League's No. 1 prospect and Rookie of the Year as a 20-year old third baseman for the Portland Beavers.

Burroughs is hardly a has-been at 22, but a shoulder injury and fielding problems have slowed his ascension. He finished his rookie major league season in Portland last year, playing 50 games for the Beavers.

After postseason surgery, he is projected to be the Padres' regular third baseman again this season, but soreness in the shoulder has caused him to miss the last three exhibition games. He is hitting .238 with five errors in 10 games this spring.

'After surgery, you have to kind of watch it with the shoulder,' Burroughs says. 'I didn't watch it. I felt so good, I went too hard at it, and there is a little tendinitis to deal with in there. But I am going to be fine. They are telling me I'm their third baseman. I want to go out and play as many games as I can and help the team.'

Says Towers: 'Sean was a little tense and tight when we started, but he is going to be a player for us. If the shoulder is healthy, I look for him to have a big year.'

• San Jose SaberCats receiver James Hundon, who was off to a great start in the Arena Football League season, is rehabilitating after surgery to repair a hernia.

The former Portland State standout leads the league in yards per catch Ñ 24 receptions for 428 yards, a 17.8 average, with 14 TDs.

He played the first five games in spite of the hernia before electing to have surgery so he might return to action before the end of the season. Hundon is still tied for ninth in the league in scoring.

Seven weeks into the season, several other ex-Vikings are making their mark in Arena ball, including:

Orlando's Rashad Floyd, third on the team and 22nd in the league with 26.5 tackles.

New York's Steve Papin is second in the league in kick return yardage, second on his team in all-purpose yardage and third on the team in receiving (29 catches, 281 yards, three TDs).

Arizona's Orshawante Bryant is second on his team with 23 catches for 317 yards and six TDs.

Ex-Duck Tony Graziani (Los Angeles) is third in both passing and total offense (271.9 per game).

Vancouver native Daron Alcorn (San Jose) is tied for second in kick scoring with 63 points.

Colorado's Joe Douglass, a Salem native who played at Oregon State before transferring to Montana, is fifth in all-purpose yardage and second on his team in receiving with 35 catches for 484 yards and eight TDs.

• scouting service lists Oregon's Onterrio Smith as the No. 5 running back, and No. 41 overall prospect, for next month's NFL draft.

Others listed: Oregon State's Nick Barnett, No. 3 outside linebacker; OSU's Dennis Weathersby, No. 5 cornerback; Oregon's George Wrighster, No. 7 tight end; OSU's Eric Manning, No. 13 defensive tackle; Oregon's David Moretti, No. 13 middle linebacker; OSU's Calvin Carlyle, No. 15 safety; and Portland State's Juston Wood, No. 18 quarterback.

• If he were giving advice to Oregon's Luke Ridnour, Mike Dunleavy Jr. would say this: Don't stay in school.

The Golden State rookie, the No. 3 pick in last year's draft, says being in the NBA environment and practicing against the best players furthers a player's development, no matter how much he plays.

'It sounds silly to say the college game isn't good for guys, but there may be some truth to it,' the former Jesuit High standout tells ESPN The Magazine. 'If you are good enough to play 10 to 15 minutes a night and (you) practice every day, you will get dramatically better being in the NBA compared to staying in school.'

•ÊMajor League Soccer is coming to Portland. OK, it's only a special visit by the Chicago Fire.

Because of the potential of war in Iraq, the Fire called off their preseason trip to Portugal. The team will train in Portland this week and has lined up a scrimmage against a combined Portland/Seattle A-League squad. The match is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at the University of Portland.

Chicago is carrying three players from UP ÑÊdefender Kelly Gray, forward Nate Jaqua and goalkeeper Curtis Spiteri.

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