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Surprise Starter

SAN DIEGO–Not even the most ardent Padres fan knew his name.

Even the beat writers had to look him up in the media guide when the Padres summoned 25-year-old lefthander Roger Deago from Double-A Mobile for a spot start against the Mets, standing in for the injured Adam Eaton.

That’s because Deago wasn’t in big league camp this spring, hadn’t even played in a minor league game until last month, and made just six starts for the BayBears before he was called to the big leagues.

A veteran of Panama’s national team, the 5-foot-8 Deago made an impression with a 17-strikeout performance against Team USA in an international tournament. Scout Robert Rowley persuaded him to turn pro with a $4,000 bonus. He paid an immediate dividend, going 3-1, 3.51 at Mobile and then went six strong innings against the Mets in his major league debut.

"I guess scouts didn’t want to take a chance on him because he’s not a big guy, and he doesn’t throw hard," farm director Tye Waller said. "He’s a finesse guy. He works both sides of the plate. He throws strikes and makes pitches.

"If he hits spots and makes pitches, he’ll be successful."

Deago, whose fastball averages 85 mph, earned the big league promotion over Triple-A Portland pitchers Carlton Loewer, Randy Keisler, Dennis Tankersley and Ben Howard, partly because it was his turn in the rotation, and partly because he was pitching well.

"Sometimes, it just has to fall right," Waller said. "But when it does, it’s what you do with the opportunity that counts."

Father Figures

• Outfielder Brady Anderson was released from Portland when rosters were reduced from 24 to 23, despite hitting .294 with a .455 on-base percentage.

• The Padres also released outfielder Mark Quinn and claimed utilityman Jermaine Clark off waivers from the Rangers. General manager Kevin Towers wants Clark to play regularly.

• Previous organization report: Mike Nicolas

 
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