2/19/2014 6:25 P.M. ET
Padres owner Fowler eyes larger payroll
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said Wednesday that the goal for the team is to raise payroll every season.
"I think it's going to increase," Fowler said. "There are times where it might flatten and increase again. Over time, we'll continue to look into spend and invest in this team."
The Padres head toward Opening Day with a projected payroll of around $87 million. That's a significant bump from last year, when the team had a $68 million Opening Day payroll.
"We said we were going to add payroll, and we added payroll," Fowler said.
Unlike years past, the Padres spent in free agency, landing pitchers Josh Johnson on a one-year contract worth $8 million and reliever Joaquin Benoit on a two-year deal for $15.5 million.
Third baseman Chase Headley is the highest-paid Padres player this season at $10.525 million. He will be a free agent after the season unless his agent and the team can strike a deal for a contract extension before the end of Spring Training, as Headley has indicated he doesn't want contract talks to continue during the season.
Fowler wouldn't close the door on getting a deal done with Headley.
"There has been dialog," he said. "And we'll continue to have dialog. … Discussions have taken place."
Padres lobby to host All-Star Game
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres aren't just hoping to land an All-Star Game at Petco Park, they've taken steps to do more than simply get on the radar of Major League Baseball and the Commissioner's Office.
San Diego team president and CEO Mike Dee said on Wednesday that the team has made a case to Major League Baseball and the Commissioner's Office to bring the Midsummer Classic to San Diego.
"We're very focused on it and would love to host it," Dee said. "We've made our case, and now we just have to sit back and wait it out. But having the game there in July, San Diego is probably the best place for an All-Star Game."
The Padres have hosted the All-Star Game twice, first in 1978 and again in '92. The games were played at Jack Murphy Stadium, the home of the team until the 2004 season.
The 2004 season was the first for the Padres in their downtown ballpark, Petco Park.
The 2013 All-Star Game was played at the Mets' Citi Field in Queens. The 2014 game will be played at the Twins' Target Field in Minneapolis. The 2015 game will be held at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.
All three ballparks opened after Petco Park.
The 1978 Midsummer Classic in San Diego drew 51,549 to Jack Murphy Stadium, where the National League, led by MVP Steve Garvey of the Dodgers, defeated the American League, 7-3.
Then in 1992, 59,372 fans saw the AL win, 13-6. Ken Griffey Jr. of the Mariners was named Most Valuable Player of that game.
Luebke optimistic after second Tommy John surgery
PEORIA, Ariz. -- A day after having his second Tommy John surgery since 2012, Padres pitcher Cory Luebke was optimistic -- and a little groggy, he said.
"I just had a meeting with Dr. [James] Andrews to go over the surgery, and both sides are pretty happy," said Luebke, who underwent the elbow-reconstruction procedure in Pensacola, Fla., on Tuesday. "They were pretty optimistic."
Luebke said Andrews saw a "pretty good tear" when he went in for the surgery and that the tendon graft from the first surgery, for whatever reason, was never accepted by his body.
"He said it was yellow and mushy," Luebke said of the first graft.
Andrews told Luebke that the odds of anyone needing a second surgery of this type were rare, "like five to 10 percent," Luebke said. But Andrews conveyed a message of optimism.
"He felt they did a good job, and they were able to clean out some scar tissue from the first surgery," he said.
Andrews used a tendon from Luebke's right knee that was long and strong enough to include three loops to secure the tendon to the bone.
Luebke will return to the Padres' Spring Training facility in Arizona on Sunday and he will consult with a therapist in the Phoenix area who served as a consultant to D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson, who also needed a second Tommy John surgery.
Luebke had his first surgery on May 23, 2012. He encountered several setbacks during his rehabilitation program. He had an MRI exam earlier this month that confirmed a tear, leading him to a second surgery.
• Opening Night at Petco Park on March 30 is officially sold out, team president and CEO Mike Dee said on Wednesday. The Padres' first game of the season comes against the Dodgers, a game that will be televised by ESPN at 5:05 p.m. PT. Dee was encouraged by how many of the tickets were purchased by people who have "San Diego zip codes," as opposed to Dodgers fans who will make the drive to San Diego for the game.