Notes: Park resting, likely out for year

Notes: Park resting, likely out for year

SAN DIEGO -- Padres pitcher Chan Ho Park underwent laparoscopic surgery on Wednesday at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla to eliminate intestinal bleeding from a rare condition known as Meckel's Diverticulum that afflicts about 2 percent of the population.

Park, 33, was "resting comfortably," according to Todd Hutcheson, the Padres' head athletic trainer, as his teammates prepared for the final game of their series against the Dodgers at PETCO Park.

It seems doubtful Park will be able to return to the mound this season, given that he can do no physical work for two weeks, and Hutcheson said "we're probably looking at four weeks at the earliest, if everything goes extremely well," before he can throw a baseball again.

"Chan Ho's doing well," Hutcheson said, having spoken with the medical staff at Scripps Green Hospital after the procedure. "The first thing he said after the surgery was, 'What's the score?' He wanted to know how the team was doing."

Hutcheson was informed that Park would remain in the hospital overnight and have his blood levels re-evaluated on Thursday. Tissue had to be sewn back together in the thumb-sized pouch in the lower intestine where the bleeding originated. That tissue will require time to heal before Park can undertake any physical activity.

"It is the best possible outcome for the different things it could have been," Hutcheson said. "They were able [through tests] to find what was causing the bleeding before it stopped. It could have been a real threatening situation if it had continued bleeding at the rate he was bleeding."

In the final year of his contract, determined to help drive the Padres into postseason play, Park was 7-7 in 23 games, 21 as a starter, with a 4.68 ERA.

One of the stars of the inaugural World Baseball Classic for his native Korea before the season, Park seemingly was in good health, durable and productive in his starting role when he became fatigued in Denver on July 28 and was sent to San Diego for tests.

It was found that he had anemia and needed an infusion of iron, along with three units of blood. Making a quick recovery after the transfusions, he returned after missing two starts to make two starts before the bleeding returned on Monday.

Park's spot in the rotation figures to fall to right-hander Mike Thompson, who has made 13 starts and 14 appearances this season as the replacement at different times for Woody Williams, Chris Young and Park.

Other options are Tim Stauffer, who delivered six strong innings in a victory over the Dodgers on Monday night, and Brian Sweeney, recalled on Wednesday from Triple-A Portland, where he had been starting after doing a solid job in middle relief for the Padres in the first half.

Linebrink back in form: From Scott Linebrink's perspective, he's not doing anything differently lately besides getting better results -- with improved luck. After a rough July, when he gave up nine earned runs in 13 1/3 innings in his setup role, the 30-year-old right-hander has had four consecutive outings without giving up an earned run.

With holds in the first two games of the series with the Dodgers, Linebrink has lifted his season total to 26 as manager Bruce Bochy's main eighth-inning stopper.

"Throughout that bad streak I was going through," Linebrink said, "I felt like I was making pitches but wasn't getting results. It was a test, and it was frustrating. I was able to maintain the same attitude and not get down on myself. I didn't feel like anything needed changing. It happens, and you get through it.

"This game can humble anybody. You can do everything right and not get results. There are times I might get the job done and not make a single [quality] pitch. You get in trouble when you start analyzing successes or failures."

As long as his fastball is where it's been, in the mid-90s, and his splitter and changeup are working, Linebrink will be content.

Sweeney back: Linebrink and the rest of his bullpen mates were delighted to welcome back the popular Sweeney. The right-hander was 2-0 with one save and a 3.33 ERA in 31 appearances before he was sent on July 21 to Portland, where he was 2-1 in seven games, five as a starter, with a 4.70 ERA in 30 2/3 innings.

"Sweeney's a versatile guy who can do a lot of things for us," Bochy said.

"It's great to be back with the guys," Sweeney said, grinning. "I hope I can stick around. I'll do whatever they need me to do."

Stauffer was returned to Portland, but will be on call, Bochy said, still marveling at the right-hander's superb effort in his emergency start on Tuesday. He yielded two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and one walk in six innings, picking up the win.

On the heels of the combined shutout by Jake Peavy, Linebrink and Trevor Hoffman on Tuesday night, the Padres reclaimed the National League lead in team ERA at 4.03, ahead of New York (4.07) and Colorado (4.08). The Dodgers are fourth at 4.22.

With rookie sensation Cla Meredith pushing his scoreless streak to 18 2/3 innings, the best by a Padres pitcher this season, the team's bullpen has shaved its ERA to 3.54, surpassed only by the Mets' 3.19.

Coming up: Off on Thursday, the Padres open a three-game series against the Rockies on Friday night in Denver. Thompson (3-4, 4.40 ERA) is expected to start against Colorado southpaw Jeff Francis (9-10, 3.38 ERA).

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.