Utah native Bruce Hurst said that his decision to leave the employ of the Boston Red Sox to pitch for the San Diego Padres was based on his desire to be closer to his family in St. George. But an article in The Sporting News this week suggests that there was also a practical reason involved.

Columnist Moss Klein writes: "The key factor was the Red Sox' refusal to guarantee the 1990 salary (of the three-year deal) in the event of a lockout, while San Diego agreed to do so, except for a strike-provoked lockout."Translated, that means Hurst is guaranteed to make the approximate $1.75 million he will be paid in 1990 - the total deal is worth $5.25 million - by playing in San Diego rather than Boston.

- - - ADD HURST: Does anyone understand this talk about being closer to the family?San Diego isn't exactly within commuting distance to St. George. And what ballplayer spends time back in his hometown during the course of the season, anyway? In the offseason, players live in the city of their choice. Whether Hurst plays in San Diego or Boston shouldn't have any discernible effect on the time he spends in St. George.

- - - 2ND ADD HURST: Now the rumor is that the Padres will try their best to sign Atlanta Braves slugger Dale Murphy. Why? Because Murphy wants to be close to Hurst.

Both are Mormons, and they're close friends, and a Padres official was quotedin The Sporting News as saying, "We've always thought, "If we get one, we can get both." The Padres would reportedly be willing to part with catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. and outfielder John Kruk, Shawn Abner and Shane Mack in exchange for Murphy.