<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/feature/san-diego-padres http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Tue, 03 May 2016 01:53:37 -0700 Tue, 03 May 2016 01:53:37 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Kershaw Silences Padres Bats Again]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 15:40:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-526937906.jpg

Everybody knows Clayton Kershaw is good. On Sunday the Dodgers ace was better than the Padres with both his arm and his bat.

Kershaw showed the world why he owns three Cy Young Awards in a masterful shutout of San Diego. The L.A. lefty allowed three hits and struck out 14 Padres hitters, including leadoff man Jon Jay four times, and did not walk anybody in a 1-0 win. He threw 101 pitches, 75 of them for strikes.

It’s the second time in a week the Friars have lost a game 1-0 and the seventh time they’ve gone scoreless in 2016. Keep in mind: they've only played 25 games.

Kershaw also drove in the only run of the game with an RBI single in the 3rd inning off Padres starter Drew Pomeranz. The San Diego lefty made arguably his best start of the season, going 7.0 innings with five whiffs and only one walk, but he still takes the loss.

The Dodgers had lost six straight games and Kershaw did what an ace is expected to do, going out and stopping the skid on a day when the offense couldn't get much going.

The Padres took two out of three in their weekend series at Dodger Stadium and on what could be considered a positive note, San Diego is 2-0 against L.A. when they score runs. Of course, that means they’ve already been shut out by Dodgers pitching four times.

The Padres come home from their 2-4 road trip to start a week-long homestand on Monday night against the Rockies. James Shields gets the start against Jon Gray.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Take Series at Dodger Stadium]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 21:37:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*122/GettyImages-526686250.jpg

In their season-opening series at Petco Park, the Dodgers swept the Padres with 3 straight shutouts. So you figure it's going to get a lot worse when they meet at Dodger Stadium, right?

Nah, that’s not how the Baseball Gods work. San Diego beat L.A. 5-2 on Saturday night, taking the first two games of the series and setting up the possibility of a sweep on Sunday.

The Friars did their damage with the double. In the 3rd inning Wil Myers launched a double to center to score Jon Jay, who had doubled, to put the Padres up 1-0. Then Matt Kemp doubled to bring in Myers and pump the lead up to 2-0.

Starting pitcher Colin Rea was pretty good, aside from one hiccup in the bottom of the inning. He left a pitch over the plate and Dodgers 2nd baseman Chase Utley smoked it in to the right field seats for a 2-run home run. Those were the only two runs Rea allowed in 6.0 innings of work. The rookie earned his second win of the season because a couple innings later his offense hooked him up.

In the 5th inning Myers and Kemp drew walks and Melvin Upton Jr. – say it with me now -- doubled them home. Upton scored on an Alexei Ramirez single to make it 5-2 Friars. That broke the RBI doubles string so the scoring was all done but unlike their 5-game losing streak, this time the bullpen did not let the lead get away.

Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer each threw a scoreless inning to get the ball to closer Fernando Rodney, who worked a scoreless 9th to get his fourth save of the season. Rodney has not allowed an earned run yet in 2016.

Now all the Padres have to do to complete their sweep is beat Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Fellow lefty Drew Pomeranz, who has the same number of wins (2) as Kershaw, takes the mound for the Friars.

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<![CDATA[Padres Bullpen Implodes Again in Loss]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 18:12:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-523888752.jpg

In 2016 the Padres were 7-0 in games where they scored at least four runs and 0-11 in games they scored less than four runs. So when the Friars took a 5-3 lead on the Cardinals in the 5th inning of their series finale at Petco Park on Sunday fans had a pretty good feeling.

That feeling lasted five pitches.

Kevin Quackenbush came in to relieve Colin Rea, made five offerings and gave up a pair of home runs that tied the game and sparked an 8-5 Cardinals win.

The first dinger Quack allowed was an opposite field shot to former Padre Jedd Gyorko, who had six hits, including two homers and a triple, in his return to the East Village. The second came off the bat of Aledmys Diaz, who went 8-for-10 over the weekend.

Those homers tied it 5-5. Lefty Ryan Buchter, who along with Fernando Rodney has thrown really well in relief, stepped in and went 2.0 innings with four whiffs.

The Redbirds took the lead in the 8th with a trio of runs off Brandon Maurer. Both Maurer and Quackenbush saw their earned run averages jump over 7.00 in this series. This is not the kind of thing San Diego baseball fans are comfortable with seeing.

For years, the Padres were defined by their dominant bullpen. I’m not just talking about the closer, either. The entire collection of guys had filthy stuff. Here’s a list of how the Padres bullpen ERA ranked each year of the Petco Park era:

2004 = 8
2005 = 6
2006 = 3
2007 = 1
2008 = 25
2009 = 7
2010 = 1
2011 = 3
2012 = 9
2013 = 10
2014 = 2
2015 = 23

Perhaps new general manager A.J. Preller is not terribly adept at assembling ‘pens. He put together last year’s version with a whole bunch of new guys and dropped 21 spots and in 2016 things have degraded even more, especially over the weekend against the Cardinals.

The Padres relievers allowed 10 runs in 4.0 innings on Saturday night to spoil the MLB debut of Cesar Vargas and on Sunday the ‘pen got lit up again, allowing five runs in 4.0 innings, giving them 41 earned runs allowed so far this season. Only the Cincinnati Reds have been worse. Padres manager Andy Green does not see reason to panic yet.

"We've got plenty of capable pieces," said Green. "The last couple of days have been rough for us. I think you look back historically at who Kevin Quackenbush and Brandon Maurer are, they've been very good. Just a tough couple game stretch for us."

Offensively the Padres did their damage in the middle innings. In the 4th catcher Christian Bethancourt hammered a solo home run off Cardinals starter Mike Leake Fallbrook High School alum) to tie the game 3-3. In the 5th Melvin Upton Jr. gave the Padres the lead with an RBI single to score Jon Jay. Upton scored on an Alexei Ramirez RBI single.

Upton was ejected two innings later for taking issue with the strike zone of home plate umpire Sean Barber. Upton was not the only one who thought Barber was a little erratic. Green says the guy St. Louis has behind the plate had something to do with it.

"We all know Yadi (Yadier Molina, winner of eight Gold Glove Awards at catcher) is one of the best pitch framers in the game," said Green. "Give him credit for that. What that lends itself to sometimes is an expanded east to west zone. I haven't looked at film to make a determination of how much that occurred but our guys weren't thrilled about the width of the strike zone today."

On Monday the Padres start a 3-game set in San Francisco, their first look at the division-rival Giants. Drew Pomeranz gets the start against fellow lefty Madison Bumgarner.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Gwynn Remembered in San Diego]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:27:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gwynn-Fans-4.jpg Legendary San Diego Padres baseball player Tony Gwynn was honored by fans after he died Monday morning.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Season in Images]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:30:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres+pics+85+8.jpg Relive all the great moments from the San Diego Padres' 2014 season in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Great Start But Lose Big]]> Sat, 23 Apr 2016 21:24:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-523603902.jpg

In his Major League Debut, Cesar Vargas looked like he belongs in The Show. The rest of his Padres teammates … not so much.

Vargas, a 24-year-old native of Puebla Puebla, Mexico, threw 5.0 innings of one-run ball against the Cardinals at Petco Park on Saturday night. St. Louis then scored 10 runs off four San Diego relievers to win the game 11-2.

Vargas had a shutout going in to the 6th inning but gave up a solo home run to Stephen Piscotty that tied the game 1-1. The youngster was pulled for Kevin Quackenbush, who was able to finish the inning with no more damage done. For a while it looked like Quack would thieve himself a win.

The Padres loaded the bases with one out and Alexei Ramirez lofted a sacrifice fly to score Matt Kemp, who hit a pair of doubles in the game, to put the Friars up 2-1. In the 7th inning, however, the Padres bullpen imploded.

Quackenbush put a pair of runners on with a walk and an infield single by Aledmys Diaz (who went 5-for-5 hitting in the 8th spot). Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sent in left-hander Matt Carpenter to pinch-hit for pitcher Michael Wacha so Padres manager Andy Green got lefty Brad Hand from the bullpen.

Hand gave up an RBI single to tie the game 2-2.

So Green went out to get Hand and bring in right-hander Carlos Villanueva to face the right-handed hitting Kolten Wong. Matheny countered with another lefty off the bench, Jeremy Hazelbaker.

Villanueva gave up a 3-run homer to Hazelbaker to put St. Louis up 5-2.

It was just one of those nights where every move went the way of the Cardinals. Even a move that was made months ago worked in favor of St. Louis when, in the 8th inning, infielder Jedd Gyorko returned to Petco Park and ripped a 3-run homer in to the upper deck in left field, one of three hits he had on the night.

It was the first start Gyorko has made since an off-season trade sent him to St. Louis in exchange for outfielder Jon Jay (who went 1-for-3 with a single). Jedd’s blast made it 8-2.

In the 9th inning the Redbirds got three more runs, giving them three in the 7th inning, three in the 8th inning and three in the 9th inning while the Padres only had two runs for the entire game (both on sacrifice flies).

One bit of positive offensive news is 1st baseman Wil Myers had another hit, extending his hitting streak to eight games.

The Padres can still win the series and finish their nine-game homestand with a winning record if they take Sunday’s finale. Colin Rea gets the start against Fallbrook High School alum Mike Leake.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Myers Stays Hot, Padres Win]]> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 22:26:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*131/GettyImages-523348126.jpg

On one of the Facebook pages dedicated to Padres fans, somebody put up a poll saying the over/under on the team's longest winning streak this season is 3 games (I’m looking at you, Will McCafferty on Friarhood!)

That may seem a bit low. But given this team’s history a lack of optimism is also not entirely unwarranted.

The Friars got a third of the way to that total on Friday night, taking the opener of their weekend series against the Cardinals 4-1 at Petco Park.

Wil Myers is on a fairly decent roll. It took the first baseman all of one pitch to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Myers drove the first offering he saw from St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright over the right-center field wall for a solo home run. Myers also doubled and went 3-for-3 with three RBI.

During his hitting streak Myers has raised his batting average from .211 to .304.

The beneficiary of his hotness was starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. The big right-hander from Texas made his best start of the season, allowing one run on three hits in 6.0 innings with four strikeouts. What’s most encouraging is Cashner, who has struggled to consistently find the strike zone this season, walked just one and only needed 94 pitches (62 strikes), much more efficient than he has been recently.

Padres closer Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless 9th inning to record his third save and still has not allowed an earned run in seven appearances.

The Padres can win their second straight series tomorrow in the Big League debut of 24-year-old Cesar Vargas. The native of Puebla Puebla, Mexico will take the mound against Michael Wacha.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Despite Record, Padres Have Positives]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 14:20:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/Padres+Celebrate+Win.jpg

Even since the Padres took on his rather large contract fans have been scared about having outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. on the roster. In two years with the Braves, Upton hit a combined .198, not the kind of production you want from a man making $15.45 million in 2016.

But so far Upton has not just avoided disappointment; he’s been one of the best players on the team. Melvin has a pair of homers and has scored seven runs with a .822 OPS while appearing in all 13 games.

“Yeah, it’s cool, but I’d rather win,” said Upton. “If I wasn’t this hot and we were winning, that would be one thing. But obviously I like where I’m at and I’m going to continue to work but the main thing is winning ballgames.”

Upton showed an uptick in his game in the second half of last season. He told NBC 7 during Spring Training the Padres have allowed him to be more like himself and that freedom of personality is carrying over to the field.

“Definitely,” said Upton. “It’s allowed me to keep focus and just go out there and be myself and be the player I know how to be.”

First baseman Wil Myers is another guy who had question marks entering the regular season, but for very different reasons. Myers is coming off wrist surgery and had been struggling (aside from a couple of monster games in Colorado) until the series against the Diamondbacks. Over the weekend Myers finished 7-17, including a 4-hit game in Saturday night’s 14-inning win.

He had been swinging through a lot of fastballs he normally hits hard. All of a sudden he started lining those balls in to the outfield, and Myers thinks he could have done even more damage.

“I missed a lot of pitches this series, as well,” said Myers. “Just putting good swings on good pitches, that’s the biggest thing. You’re only as good as the pitch you swing at. I’ve worked on some things and I’ve seen them carry over in the game.”

The Padres have had trouble stringing hits together in 2016 (again, aside from the explosion at Coors Field). Take out the two days they scored 13 and 16 runs and the Friars are averaging 1.6 runs per game. They simply cannot sustain innings to stress a pitcher and create more run-scoring chances.

But, if Upton and Myers stay hot, and a couple of other players start to click, the guys in the clubhouse think the merry-go-round will start turning.

“Yeah, I think you can see it,” said Upton. “Things will start going our way here shortly. We’ve just gotta keep playing good baseball and we’ll be fine.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Long Ball Bites Padres In Series Finale]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 16:20:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-521948934.jpg

In his first two outings, Robbie Erlin was arguably the Padres’ best starting pitcher. Granted, his first appearance was in relief, but he tossed 3.2 scoreless innings in Colorado (no small feat), then threw 6.0 innings on one-run ball in Philadelphia (another hitter’s paradise).

But any thoughts that Erlin would be even better when he got back to the pitcher-friendly Petco Park were erased in the first inning of San Diego’s 7-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Erlin allowed a 2-run home run to Yasmany Tomas, the fourth batter of the game, then surrendered two more long balls, including another by Tomas in the 6th inning. Arizona got fourth round-tripper from Phil Gosselin in the 8th innings off reliever Kevin Quackenbush that really put the game out of reach.

The Padres offense tried to help out Erlin by getting some help from the Arizona defense. In the bottom of the first Wil Myers led off with a single. Myers was in the leadoff spot for the first time this season while centerfielder Jon Jay got a day off and had two more hits, giving him six hits in the last two games. Cory Spangenberg followed with a bunt single and the throw by pitcher Patrick Corbin flew down the right field line, allowing Myers to score and Spangenberg to head to third base.

Matt Kemp followed with a line drive to left field that was misplayed by Rickie Weeks, allowing Spangenberg to score. Kemp was thrown out trying to stretch it in to a triple, snuffing out the potential for a big inning.

San Diego’s other run came on a RBI triple by Melvin Upton Jr. that scored Kemp in the 3rd inning giving the Padres a 3-2 lead that didn’t last long. Brandon Drury demolished an Erlin offering in the 4th for a 2-run shot and the Diamondbacks never trailed again.

The Padres fall to 4-9 on the season and 1-5 at home. They have a day off on Monday before starting a 3-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night at Petco Park.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finally Win a Home Game]]> Sat, 16 Apr 2016 23:58:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-521757836.jpg

As if Padres fans had not waited long enough for their first win of the season, the Friars decided to go deep, deep, deep in to the night before winning by going deep.

Melvin Upton Jr. launched a 2-run home run to dead centerfield in the bottom of the 14th inning to beat the Diamondbacks 5-3 and snap a four-game losing streak at Petco Park. Upton had three hits and scored a pair of runs in the win, which took 5:25 to complete.

Andrew Cashner turned in easily his best start of the year, going 6.0 innings and allowing one earned run while striking out five. It’s the fifth straight game a Padres starter had a Quality Start (at least 6.0 innings with no more than three earned runs allowed) and not gotten a win.

He left with a 3-1 lead thanks in part to Matt Kemp’s first home run at home in 2016, a solo blast in the 3rd inning that at the time put the Padres up 3-0.

Arizona tied the game in the 8th inning when Rickie Weeks Jr. scored on a wild pitch by Brandon Maurer, launching the game in to extra innings and setting up Upton’s heroics.

The Padres can win their first series at home on Sunday afternoon when Robbie Erlin goes against Patrick Corbin.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finally Score a Run at Home, Still Lose]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 23:17:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-521483310.jpg

For Padres fans, the struggle is real.

There is a hashtag in the Twitter community. You man have come across it: #ThatsSoPadres. It basically means whatever the worst possible thing a baseball team can do in a given situation, the Padres will find a way to do that thing.

It happened again on Friday night in a 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks at Petco Park. The positive thing is the Padres scored their first run at home when Alexei Ramirez singled in Cory Spangenberg in the 2nd inning. That snapped a 28-inning scoreless streak to start the season at Petco Park.

The Friars actually had their first lead at home, too, when Alexi Amarista blooped a single to left field to score Derek Norris and put the home team up 2-1. Starting pitcher James Shields threw a nice game, allowing just two runs in 7.0 innings with six strikeouts but he took a no-decision.

In the 9th inning #ThatsSoPadres happened again. Phil Gosselin reached on an infield single and tried to steal second base. Norris' throw sailed in to centerfield and Gosselin scored on an infield single to give Arizona the lead.

In the bottom half the Padres got singles from Spangenberg and Ramirez to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Amarista then struck out, pinch-hitter Brett Wallace was intentionally walked and Jon Jay grounded in to a game-ending double play to give Arizona a 3-2 win.

#ThatsSoPadres

San Diego falls to 0-4 at home, 3-8 overall.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2016 MLB Special Event Uniforms Unveiled]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 15:49:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ASG+Logo.png

The Padres introduced three new uniforms for the 2016 season. But that was just the beginning of their foray into high fashion.

On Wednesday Major League Baseball unveiled special cap and jersey combinations for some of the year’s special holidays. Every MLB team will be decked out in brand new gear for Mother’s Day (May 8), Memorial Day (May 30), Father’s Day (June 19), and Independence Day (July 4). Since the Padres already wear special camouflage jerseys on Sundays MLB just altered those for holidays that fall on Sunday.

Here’s a look at how the Friars will look with a synopsis courtesy of MLB:

MOTHER’S DAY: SUNDAY, MAY 8
The new Mother’s Day uniforms and caps incorporate pink into Clubs’ regular logos, with all caps highlighted by a dark grey crown and brim. Players have swung pink bats, worn pink ribbons & sported pink wristbands on Mother’s Day to raise funds and awareness to fight breast cancer since 2006.

MEMORIAL DAY: MONDAY, MAY 30
For the eighth consecutive year, MLB and New Era have created a special cap for teams to wear during Memorial Day games, while Majestic has designed a special matching jersey for the fourth year in a row. This year’s uniforms utilize a new woodland camouflage design licensed by the US Marine Corps. The Toronto Blue Jays uniform will feature the distinctive Canadian Forces CADPAT design. MLB’s annual league-wide observance of Memorial Day will honor those who lost their lives while serving their country. MLB plans to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance and ballparks on Memorial Day will conduct moments of silence and special pre-game ceremonies.

FATHER’S DAY: SUNDAY, JUNE 19
Father’s Day uniforms and caps will also maintain the same Club marks, but will feature light blue incorporated in the logos. These caps will also have a grey base, similar to Mother’s Day. Players have worn blue ribbons & sported blue wristbands throughout the years on Father’s Day since MLB first partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation in 1996.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: MONDAY, JULY 4
For the ninth consecutive summer, US-based MLB clubs will sport red, white and blue stars and stripes-decorated caps to celebrate Independence Day. For the second year in a row, clubs will also wear a matching jersey on the Fourth of July. The Toronto Blue Jays uniform will feature Maple Leaf designs on the cap, incorporating the colors of the Canadian flag and will be worn on Canada Day, July 1, as well as July 4.

Of course there will also be a San Diego-inspired jersey set for the All-Star festivities on July 11. All the National League players will don this:

So all-in-all the Padres will be wearing seven different uniforms in 2016. Which ones do you think are the nicest?


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<![CDATA[Padres Get Help From Umpires in Win]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:11:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*129/GettyImages-520476600.jpg

The Padres followed an old script against the Phillies on Monday afternoon: score just a few runs and let a dominant bullpen lock it down.

The Friars beat Philly 4-3 in the Phillies’ home opener at Citizens Bank Park. Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner has a bit of a rough outing, allowing three runs in 5.0 innings, but his bullpen looked every bit as tough as we’ve come to expect a Padres bullpen to look.

Brad Hand, Kevin Quackenbush, Carlos Villanueva, Brandon Maurer and Fernando Rodney (who earned his first save as the Padres closer) combined to throw 4.0 innings of shutout baseball to preserve the W. The only hit the Phillies mustered came in the 9th inning off Rodney and was erased on a double play ball.

As for the offense, the first run was provided by a very fitting source. John Jay is one of the most influential members of that group known as “America’s Founding Fathers.” However, he did not sign the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. The way Jon Jay has been playing he’ll be signing a lot of baseballs in Philadelphia.

Jay got the Padres on the board in the 3rd inning with another base hit, an RBI single to give the Friars a 1-0 lead. Jay has a hit in all seven games he’s played in a San Diego uniform.

The Padres got another run in the 3rd when Alexi Amarista scored on a Cory Spangenberg groundout. Just one inning later Wil Myers went big fly with a line shot to the left-centerfield bleachers off Phillies starter Aaron Nola. It was Myers’ second home run of the season.

The Phillies tied it with a trio of runs and could have taken the lead if not for a curious call from the officiating crew. With the bases loaded and nobody out Darin Ruf hit a fly ball to shallow left field. The third base umpire called a suspect infield fly rule so the batter was out even though left fielder Wil Myers and shortstop Alexei Ramirez had trouble finding the baseball and it fell between them.

The Phillies runners saw the ball drop and ran even though they did not have to. Ramirez threw to Alexi Amarista at 3rd base to tag Odubel Herrera for a double play that helped the Padres escape with no further damage being done.

In the top of the 7th the Padres took the lead for good when Amarista laid down a squeeze bunt, allowing catcher Derek Norris to score what turned out to be the winning run.

The Padres improve to 3-4 on the season and can get back to .500 with a win in Philly on Tuesday when Robbie Erlin makes his first start of 2016 against Charlie Morton. Erlin is temporarily taking the rotation spot of Tyson Ross, who is on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

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<![CDATA[Rockies Beat Padres, Avoid Sweep]]> Sun, 10 Apr 2016 16:08:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-520268704.jpg

It is difficult for a team to get a sweep on the road, so although the Padres losing 6-3 to the Rockies on Sunday at Coors Field is disappointing it is not altogether unexpected.

Padres starter James Shields, who moved up a day to start when Tyson Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list, only allowed six hits in 7.0 innings but half of those hits left the ballpark. Shields allowed home runs to Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado and Ryan Raburn to take his second loss of the season.

The Friars did not give us the same offensive fireworks they displayed the last two games but did make a game of it late. In the 8th inning Jabari Blash drew a pinch-hit walk and scored on a double by Cory Spangenberg to make it a 4-3 game.

In the bottom of the inning Brandon Maurer came on and gave up two more home runs, both solo shots. One was the second of the game by Gonzalez and the other was ripped by … who else? Rookie shortstop Trevor Story got another one.

Story has seven home runs in his team’s first six games of the season, becoming the first rookie in MLB history to do that. Another Rockies rookie also had an impact. Vista native Tony Wolters got his first MLB start behind the plate and singled in the 5th inning for his first big league base hit.

The Padres fall to 2-4 on the season and will start a four-game series in Philadelphia on Monday. Andrew Cashner gets the start against Aaron Nola.

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<![CDATA[Padres Lose Another Starter]]> Sun, 10 Apr 2016 11:37:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Yangervis+Solarte+Padres.jpg

For the second time in two days the Padres had to put a starter on the 15-day disabled list. On Sunday 3rd baseman Yangervis Solarte joined starting pitcher Tyson Ross.

Solarte injured his hamstring in Saturday’s 16-3 Padres win in Colorado. He hit a ball into the outfield but pulled up lame rounding first base. Solarte was off to a solid start to the season with three doubles, four RBI and a 1.036 OPS.

Alexi Amarista was recalled from Triple-A El Paso to fill the roster spot. Adam Rosales is in the Padres starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies, batting 8th and playing 3rd base. Christian Bethancourt will also get his first start in a San Diego uniform, giving Derek Norris a rest behind the plate. Here’s the full starting lineup:

1)    Jon Jay, CF
2)    Cory Spangenberg, 2B
3)    Matt Kemp, RF
4)    Wil Myers, 1B
5)    Melvin Upton Jr., LF
6)    Christian Bethancourt, C
7)    Alexei Ramirez, SS
8)    Adam Rosales, 3B
9)    James Shields, P



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Pound Rockies Again]]> Sat, 09 Apr 2016 21:03:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Matt+Kemp+HR+in+Colorado.jpg

Somewhere between Petco Park and Coors Field … the truth lies.

In three games at home against the Dodgers the Padres scored no runs. In two games on the road against the Rockies the Padres have scored 29 runs.

San Diego chased Friday’s 13-run outburst with another 16-run performance in a 16-3 win in Colorado. Everyone in the starting lineup, including pitcher Drew Pomeranz, got a base hit for the Padres.

Matt Kemp put on a heck of an encore after his 4-hit day on Friday. Kemp went 3-5 with a pair of home runs and six runs batted in. Cory Spangenberg and Wil Myers also hit their first home runs of the season in the 19-hit onslaught.

New Padres Jabari Blash, Adam Rosales and Christian Bethancourt all joined in the fun to get their first hit in a San Diego uniform. Blash’s pinch-hit double was his first MLB knock. Pomeranz did not just get his first Padres hit; he also got his first Padres win after going 5.0 innings, allowing two runs and striking out seven.

In the span of just two games the Padres went from being the only team in Major League Baseball to not have any runs to having the 4th-highest scoring offense in the game. Part of that is playing at altitude. Part of that is facing the largely inferior Rockies pitching. Part of that is this team really does have some decent big leaguers on offense.

The Padres have won their first series of the season and can go for a sweep, getting back to .500 on the season, on Sunday when they send James Shields to the mound against Chad Bettis, who gave up five runs on seven hits (two of them homers) in a loss to the Diamondbacks in Arizona.

There is one bit of bad news from the big win. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte pulled up on a line drive base hit that could have been a double, clutching the back of his right leg. The Padres said it’s a hamstring injury. If Solarte has to make a disabled list stint, expect Jamile Weeks or Alexi Amarista to get a call-up from Triple-A El Paso. Amarista likely has the inside track since he is already on the 40-man roster.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Send Ross to Disabled List]]> Sat, 09 Apr 2016 14:37:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*124/GettyImages-519147866.jpg

Padres right-hander Tyson Ross did not look sharp in his first career Opening Day start against the Dodgers. Ross allowed eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in 5.1 innings of San Diego's 15-0 loss to Los Angeles. As it turns out there's a reason for the sub-par stat line.

Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 5, with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Ross was scheduled to start Sunday's series finale in Colorado but will now miss that outing plus at least one more.

The Padres will instead have James Shields go on Sunday at Coors Field against the Rockies. Since the Friars had a day off on Thursday, Shields will be going on his normal four days of rest. Andrew Cashner then starts the first game of a four game set in Philadelphia on Monday.

The Padres added LHP Brad Hand to the roster to take Ross' place. In five years with the Marlins, Hand made 90 appearances (43 starts). Either he or fellow lefty Robbie Erlin, who got the win in relief on Friday against the Rockies, are the likely candidates to join the starting rotation until Ross returns.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Streak is Over! Padres Score Runs, Win Game]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 17:03:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-519881948.jpg

The long national (well, regional) nightmare is over!

After becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to open a season being shut out three straight times the San Diego Padres went bonkers on offense in a 13-6 win over the Rockies.

The Padres went scoreless in the first three innings, running their season-opening streak of futility to 30 innings. Then the 4th inning happened and offered a moment of catharsis.

Jon Jay laced a single to score Melvin Upton Jr. with the first run of the season and then the proverbial floodgates opened. Cory Spangenberg followed with a 2-run triple … Matt Kemp hit an RBI single … and Yangervis Solarte smoked a 2-run double to give the Padres six runs on six hits in the inning. Keep in mind they only had 11 hits in their opening 3-game series against the Dodgers at Petco Park.

RUNPOCALYPSE 2016 continued the next inning when Kemp struck again, smashing a 3-run home run to left-center field for San Diego’s first homer of 2016. Upton tied Kemp for the team home run lead an inning later when he yanked a 2-run bomb in to the left field bleachers and Solarte capped the scoring with a 2-run double in the 9th inning.

Despite the offensive support, starting pitcher Colin Rea was not able to get a win. He got roughed up by a potent Colorado offense, allowing five run on six hits in just 3.1 innings. Rea was pulled after Rockies rookie Trevor Story launched a 2-run home run, his 5th dinger in four games this season (Story also hit a solo shot in the 9th off Ryan Buchter to run his total to an astonishing six).

Robbie Erlin, just recalled on Friday because lefty Matt Thornton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with Achilles tendinitis, came in and threw extremely well in Colorado. Erlin went 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit to get the Padres’ first win of the season and the first in the young managerial career of Andy Green.

The Padres will go for a series win on Saturday evening when Drew Pomeranz, who started his MLB career as a Rockies starter, takes the hill against fellow lefty Jorge De La Rosa.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Set Record for Futility]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 06:38:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*128/GettyImages-519482270.jpg

It would have been bad enough that the Padres set a new franchise record for most scoreless innings to start a baseball season. That’s an embarrassment all by itself. But when you throw in the fact they’ve scored fewer runs than the opposing pitchers, you realize just how awful the season-opening series against the Dodgers was.

The Padres lost 7-0 at Petco Park on Wednesday night, becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to be shut out three times to start a season. Still, manager Andy Green says the sky is not falling.

"There is still perspective here," said Green after his team was outscored 25-0 over the three game series. "We do have 159 games left and we will score runs this year. We will win series this year. Each individual guy needs to focus on what he can control. It really is nothing more than that."

One of the runs the Padres gave up was on a solo homer by Kenta Maeda. If you don’t recognize the name, you’re not alone. Maeda spent eight years in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League before joining the Dodgers this year. In those eight years he hit two home runs, but as a high school senior he did hit 27 dingers so the guy knows what he’s doing with a bat in his hands.

In his second at-bat in America’s big leagues, Maeda took Andrew Cashner deep, meaning in three games in their home ballpark the Dodgers pitching staff beat the Padres on both offense and defense. Cashner only survived 4.0 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with five strikeouts.

The Padres almost scored a run in the 6th inning. With runners at the corners and one out Wil Myers hit a ground ball to Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Instead of trying for the double play Gonzalez threw home to cut down Cory Spangenberg. It looked on replays like Los Angeles catcher A.J. Ellis was blocking the plate (a no-no with the so-called “Buster Posey Rule”) and Spangenberg might have gotten in under the tag but a lengthy video replay did not overturn the call of the home plate umpire. Yangervis Solarte struck out to end the inning, continuing the Padres’ march towards the history books.

Green says his club is suffering from what he calls "collective pressing," something the guys in the locker room would agree with.

"For sure guys are pressing. I'm one of them," said catcher Derek Norris, who went hitless in the series. "I can see it in my swing when I watch tape. I think once guys get a little bit settled in we're going to be fine."

The previous MLB record for consecutive scoreless innings to start the season was 26, set by the 1943 St. Louis Cardinals. That year, believe it or not, the Cardinals won 105 games and went to the World Series (they lost to the Yankees in five games). So perhaps history is on their side and this was actually a good thing for the Padres?

If you believe that, I have some oceanfront property in Nebraska you might be interested in. The Padres take a day off Thursday before starting a three game weekend series against the Rockies. If this offense can’t score in Colorado then the season is indeed lost.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will The Padres Still Pitch to Adrian Gonzalez?]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 16:26:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-519287544.jpg

It would be overly simplistic to simply ask Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez why he hates his home town team. But it would also have merit.

It’s easy for observers of the game to think Gonzalez, an Eastlake High School alum and former Padres All-Star, has made it his life’s mission to torment his former fan base. In the first two games of the season Adrian has four hits in eight at-bats, three runs batted in and three runs scored.

Last year Gonzalez set a Major League record with five home runs in a season-opening three-game series against the Padres at Dodger Stadium. It sparked a vicious backlash against then-manager Bud Black as people wondered why he allowed his pitchers to keep throwing to the Dodgers slugger.

That same question is now dogging rookie skipper Andy Green. On Opening Day Gonzalez batted with a runner in scoring position and first base open three times. He singled home that run all three times. Now, one of those came in the first inning of the season so walking him intentionally there would be idiotic.

However, as the game was getting out of hand the strategy held merit. On Tuesday night Gonzalez never came up with runners on base but if that happens in Wednesday’s series finale at Petco Park, will Green decide to put Adrian on base on purpose?

“I think we’ve got to pitch to him in a disciplined fashion in that setting,” said Green. “I don’t know that we’re going to put him on. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. It depends on the way the game is at that point in time.”

Gonzalez has tremendous numbers against Wednesday night’s starting pitcher, Andrew Cashner. In 32 career at-bats he’s hitting .344 with four home runs and an absurd 1.150 OPS. Basically, when Gonzalez faces Cashner, he turns in to Babe Ruth. At least, that’s what the numbers say. Green sees it a little differently.

“(Gonzalez) does have some solid numbers against (Cashner) but a lot of those were built up early in the season last year in that one game. The rest of the time it’s been almost neutral in respect to Adrian. He’s had one really good game, and we’re not going to diminish that game.”

Green is talking about that 3-home run game from April 9, 2015. All of the long balls came off of Cashner. If you remove that one game Gonzalez’s numbers drop to a .276 average with one home run and a pedestrian .758 OPS. Basically, he becomes Ty Wigginton. Still, the Padres will approach Adrian with a healthy dose of caution.

“We know how good he is,” said Green. “When it’s right we’ll pitch around him and pitch intelligently to him.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Destroyed on Opening Day]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 19:53:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-519144590.jpg

With all the talk of building a new football stadium in the East Village we might as well get used to seeing a pair of touchdowns on the scoreboard.

The Padres lost to the Dodgers 15-0 on Opening day at Petco Park. This one got away from the Friars early and they could never get it back.

"Opening Day is special. Nobody wants to come out and lay an egg on Opening Day and get beat 15-0," said Padres manager Andy Green after the franchise's worst Opening Day loss ever. "It still is one of 162 (games) and over the course of 162 every single team in baseball gets smoked like that so you have to keep it in perspective."

Green makes a good point. The Padres aren't going to have to face Clayton Kershaw every night. The Dodgers' starting pitcher doesn’t need much help from his offense. In his previous five career starts on Opening Day the L.A. ace piled up a 1.14 earned run average, better than Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Jim Palmer.

The only man in the modern era with a better Opening Day ERA (minimum five starts) is Rick Mahler, who pitched to a 0.92 in his career starting the season. So when Kershaw got two runs in the first inning and another in the third you had a good idea the Padres were in trouble.

Kershaw threw 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just one hit with nine strikeouts. Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross, on the other hand, did not bring his best stuff to his first Opening Day outing. Ross finished with a nightmare stat line of 5.1, 9 hits, 8 runs, 7 earned runs, BB, 5 K, 2 HBP, WP. Basically he was unable to locate any of his pitches and it hurt him right off the bat.

In the first inning the Dodgers got two runs on a pair of doubles and a single by Adrian Gonzalez. The Eastlake High alum and former Padres All-Star continued tormenting his home-town team with a trio of RBI knocks.

Ross was finally pulled from the game in the 6th inning. He hit Yasiel Puig with a pitch then allowed four straight hits, the last one by Kershaw, prompting new manager Andy Green to go get him.

The Dodgers got three more runs in the 7th inning off Luis Perdomo. The Rule 5 draftee who had never pitched above Single-A ball was kept on the roster out of Spring Training. His introduction to MLB was harsh. Perdomo threw one-plus innings, allowing six runs on six hits. The bad news is his ERA is now 54.00. The good news is if he throws a scoreless inning in his next outing it will be cut in half to 27.00.

It was not exactly the kind of start the majority of the 44,317 fans at Petco Park were hoping for. Usually Dodgers fans come south to invade the East Village but this time the crowd was decidedly pro-Padres (until about the 6th inning, at least).

The Padres can get their first win of the year, and Green’s first as a big league manager, on Tuesday at home. James Shields gets the start against Dodgers left-hander Scott Kazmir.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Rotation is Long on Talent]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 08:30:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/167*120/Colin+Rea+Padres+2015.jpg

The Padres finalized their Opening Day roster on Sunday. Their sixth infielder will be Adam Rosales while Ryan Buchter gets the final spot in the bullpen. The last decision came in the starting rotation.

On the very first day of Spring Training we found out the top 3 starters in the Padres rotation would be Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner. But we didn’t learn the last two starters until the final weekend of the Spring.

Padres manager Andy Green is giving left-hander Drew Pomeranz one of the nods. He’s been a reliever the last couple of seasons but the Friars are giving him a chance to return to his starting roots.

“Once you put him in the bullpen that’s pretty much over,” said Green. “You take the opportunity for him to start, see how he does, you ride that as long as possible and if it doesn’t work out he slides back in to the rotation.”

Pomeranz broke in to the majors as a full-time starter for the Rockies. But pitching in Colorado is not a very accurate test of a pitcher’s abilities.

“Even though I’ve been pretty good out of the bullpen they obviously see something,” said Pomeranz. “There’s still hope left on being a starter, I guess. Obviously it makes you feel good about it.”

This time around the Padres expect Pomeranz to, as Green says, pitch with aggression.

“I think he’s gotta consistently step on the gas if he’s gonna be great,” said Green. “We had that conversation with him; it’s not a matter of just pacing yourself the whole time. He can pitch with some energy and when he does it’s really good.”

Joining Pomeranz in the rotation is youngster Colin Rea. Ranked as the 6th-best prospect in the Padres’ system, Rea started six games at the end of last season and threw well enough to make him think he belongs in the Big Leagues.

“It just helped believing in myself,” said Rea. “Getting up there last year was good experience to get some innings under my belt and see what it’s like up there. It gives me confidence going forward. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the most part I though it went pretty good so now I’ve just got to build off that.”

Pomeranz will likely get the 4th spot in the rotation while Rea takes the ball on Day 5. One thing to keep an eye on is how many innings they’ve thrown. Rea has never gone more than 139 innings in five professional seasons and Pomeranz has not topped 100 innings since 2013.

Their first starts of the year will come on the road in … Colorado. Wish them luck.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The 2016 NBC 7 MLB Season Preview]]> Sat, 02 Apr 2016 17:47:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/World+Series+Trophy.jpg

The 2016 Major League Baseball season is upon us! Because every other sports entity on the planet is attempting to predict the season I’ll have some fun and go after it again.

This time, however, I am not going with emotion like I did a year ago. I am going to use sound logic (or as close as I’m capable of getting to it) to make these decisions on who will win each division, the Wild Card spots, the NL and AL pennants, and major post-season awards.

Let’s start with the National League West because we’re in San Diego, darnit!

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1)    San Francisco Giants
2)    Arizona Diamondbacks
3)    Los Angeles Dodgers
4)    San Diego Padres
5)    Colorado Rockies

The Giants don’t have the best roster in the division but they have the best manager and the deepest starting pitching and that will be enough to get them back to the post-season. Plus, you know, even-numbered year. The Diamondbacks added enough to sneak in to Wild Card contention but even with Zack Greinke as the ace of the staff I just don’t see them keeping pace with San Francisco. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw but there is no Robin to join Batman. They have too many injuries in the rotation to compete early in the season. The Padres would do well to approach .500. I think they’ll start off playing fairly bad baseball but steadily improve to a point they’re not just respectable, but competitive. Manager Andy Green is re-conditioning his players to do things a different way and if he’s able to get that message through good things are waiting for the Friars. The Rockies are the typical Rockies: a few scary sluggers, not nearly enough arms.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1)    Chicago Cubs
2)    Pittsburgh Pirates
3)    St. Louis Cardinals
4)    Cincinnati Reds
5)    Milwaukee Brewers

The Cubs are legit. Like, really really legit. Chicago was good enough to reach the National League Championship Series a year ago and they were probably a year early. Now that guys like Kris Bryant and Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber have a season of seasoning, along with the additions of Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist, the Cubbies might be the favorites to win it all. Something tells me this is the season the Cardinals finally regress to the mean, and that means the Pirates will once again be in the market for a Wild Card spot. The Reds and Brewers are not going anywhere near the post-season in 2016.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1)    New York Mets
2)    Washington Nationals
3)    Miami Marlins
4)    Atlanta Braves
5)    Philadelphia Phillies

It’s hard to go against the reigning NL Pennant winners. They didn’t need to hold on to Yoenis Cespedes but they were able to when the market for him never really materialized and their starting rotation is no joke. It’ll go right down to the wire with the Nationals, who also have a staff that can give hitting coaches the heebie jeebies. Both of those clubs will likely end up in the post-season, but don’t sleep on the Marlins. Miami gets a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, and they always seem to have a few youngsters who play well. I’m not entirely certain what the Braves are doing with all their moves the last two seasons and the Phillies are still in severe rebuild mode.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

1)    Texas Rangers
2)    Houston Astros
3)    Seattle Mariners
4)    Los Angeles Angels
5)    Oakland Athletics

The Rangers and Astros will be neck-and-neck until the very end of the season and either one could win the division. I give the edge to Texas because they get Rancho Bernardo High alum Cole Hamels for a whole year and Yu Darvish should return (the team is targeting May) from elbow surgery. The Mariners will push the top two teams in the division and keep themselves in the playoff picture. Their lineup is better than a lot of people give them credit for. The Angels are not nearly as good as a team with Mike Trout on it should be. Once again pitching will be their downfall. I always feel goosey putting the A’s near the bottom of the standings since they have found ways to surprise so many times before and Sonny Gray is a stud but they just don’t have enough horses to run in the AL West.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

1)    Kansas City Royals
2)    Minnesota Twins
3)    Detroit Tigers
4)    Chicago White Sox
5)    Cleveland Indians

This was the hardest division for me to look at because after the reigning World Series Champion Royals, who are still the class of the division, I see a way for any of the other four teams to earn a Wild Card spot. If I was to pick a team that will be the surprise of baseball it would be the Twins. They have a bumper crop of young players coming up and might end up with the top two finishers in the Rookie of the Year balloting (Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios) and a budding power source in Miguel Sano. The Tigers re-worked their roster with some interesting additions and if they all come together they might make a run. The White Sox have a possible Cy Young winner in Chris Sale and a possible home run champion in Jose Abreu. The Indians have a very good manager in Terry Francona, an ace in the rotation in Corey Kluber but I don’t see them generating enough offense to compete in this loaded group.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1)    Toronto Blue Jays
2)    Boston Red Sox
3)    New York Yankees
4)    Tampa Bay Rays
5)    Baltimore Orioles

The Blue Jays are loaded on offense. Their only problem is it’s so right-hand heavy, and historically that has shown a penchant for leading to problems. But Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki are the kinds of guys who hit pitchers that throw right-handed, left-handed, two-handed, whatever. Toronto is the favorite in the East. The Red Sox were smart to stick Pablo Sandoval on the bench in favor of Travis Shaw. It might get Sandoval to start taking thing seriously in Boston. The addition of David Price pushes the Sox ahead of the Yankees, but not by much. New York’s starting lineup can run with anybody but they’re not deep and a lot of the every-day players have proven to be injury-prone. The Rays have a budding star in right-hander Chris Archer and they might be another surprise team. The Orioles are going to regret giving all that money to Chris Davis. They need a lot more help than he’ll give them.

NL PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Game: Nationals over Diamondbacks
NLDS: Cubs over Nationals, Giants over Mets
NLCS: Cubs over Giants

AL PLAYOFFS

Wild Card Game: Astros over Twins
ALDS:  Rangers over Blue Jays, Royals over Astros
ALCS: Rangers over Royals

WORLD SERIES

Cubs over Rangers

I never thought I’d see it in my lifetime but yes, the Cubs are going to win the World Series. Theo Epstein will have engineered the end of championship droughts in both Boston and the north side of Chicago. Put him in the Hall of Fame right now.

Alright, let’s take a quick spin through the post-season awards and see who’s taking home hardware in 2016:

NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton, MIA (If he stays healthy he’ll hit at least 50 homers for a winning team.)
AL MVP: Mike Trout, LAA (His team won’t contend but the numbers and impact are generational.)
NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw, LAD (He’s going to be the preseason favorite for years to come.)
AL CY YOUNG: David Price, BOS (The trendy pick for good reason.)
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Corey Seager, LAD (Special talent, already has October experience.)
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Byron Buxton, MIN (It’s been a long wait but it’ll be worth it.)
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Bruce Bochy, SF (One of the best in the game, period.)
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Paul Molitor, MIN (Minny will make the playoffs under his watch.)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Close in on Opening Day Roster]]> Sat, 02 Apr 2016 17:36:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-474750146.jpg

The Padres have to name their final 25-man roster by Sunday. It appears they’re going to take as much time as they possibly can to make their final decisions. We know who 22 of the guys on the 2016 Opening Day roster are and the man most Friars faithful were hoping to see is on the list.

Outfielder Jabari Blash made the cut. As a Rule 5 draftee he will have to be kept on the big league roster for the entire season. Blash owns the kind of raw power that doesn’t come along very often, especially in the Padres organization.

If there were any doubts about his status at the end of Cactus League play they were erased when Blash went to El Paso and went 4-5 with two home runs, two doubles and five RBI in an exhibition game against the Chihuahuas. Padres manager Andy Green says Blash is “easy to dream on,” meaning his potential is off the charts.

Blash makes his first MLB Opening Day roster, as does fellow outfielder Travis Jankowski, who earned a spot on the team for his defense and speed. Along with Matt Kemp, John Jay and Melvin Upton Jr. the Padres are carrying five outfielders. At the beginning of the year Blash and Jankowski will be used as late-inning options, with Blash pinch-hitting from the right side and Jankowski coming in to protect leads on defense.

The Padres decided to keep another Rule 5 player in the pitching staff. Luis Perdomo, a 22-year-old right-hander who has tremendous upside but has never thrown a pitch above Single-A, is sticking with the big club. He’ll also be around for the entirety of 2016. Perdomo will start as a long reliever.

So all we’re waiting for now is a decision on the 5th starter, the final reliever and a reserve infielder. Here is your nearly-full 25-man roster:

PITCHERS
Tyson Ross
James Shields
Andrew Cashner
Drew Pomeranz
Fernando Rodney
Brandon Maurer
Kevin Quackenbush
Luis Perdomo
Carlos Villanueva
Matt Thornton

CATCHERS
Derek Norris
Christian Bethancourt

INFIELDERS

Wil Myers
Cory Spangenberg
Yangervis Solarte
Alexei Ramirez
Brett Wallace

OUTFIELDERS
Matt Kemp
John Jay
Melvin Upton Jr.
Jabari Blash
Travis Jankowski

General Manager A.J. Preller will reveal the team’s final decisions on Sunday. With him at the helm it is entirely possible a trade is in the works, as well.

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<![CDATA[Padres Make More Roster Announcements]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 19:10:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/GettyImages-488783538.jpg

Padres manager Andy Green revealed a few more pieces of his Opening Day roster on Friday afternoon. Before the Padres played an exhibition game against the White Sox at Petco Park (the first game at the Downtown ballpark in 2016) Green shared good news for three pitchers.

Lefty Drew Pomeranz had earned a spot in the starting rotation. Green was unsure if he'd be the fourth or fifth man to take the ball. Pomeranz was a starter at the beginning of his career with the Rockies but he moved to the bullpen in his two years with the Oakland A's.

Green also said relievers Brandon Maurer and Kevin Quackenbush both have a place on the 25-man roster. The Padres must have their Opening Day roster set before the end of the weekend.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Preview: Padres FanFest 2016]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 09:15:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-85829815.jpg

The Padres annual FanFest is getting bigger. Instead of the typical single-day baseball extravaganza at Petco Park, the 2016 version will stretch in to a two-day affair.

FanFest 2016 takes place this Friday and Saturday, in conjunction with two exhibition games against the White Sox at Petco Park. The Park at the Park will be open each day with the whiffle ball field hosting games for kids 14 and under.

On Friday, fans can expect a preview of this season’s Friday night Party in the Park presented by Southwest Airlines events, including entertainment provided by a DJ, as well as food and drink specials. Saturday will feature entertainment provided by a live band, as well as a preview of this season’s Sunday KidsFest events, including bounce houses, games, obstacle courses and face painting. The interactive “For those who Serve” Military and First Responder Zone will be open Saturday.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. for FanFest activities. The seating bowl and Home Plate Gate open at 6 p.m. with first pitch against Chicago set for 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Park at the Park gates open to the general public at 10 a.m. (unless you’re a Padres Member, you can get in at 9 a.m. like at Disneyland). The seating bowl and Home Plate Gate open at noon. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. Following Saturday’s game, fans will be invited on the field for the opportunity to run the bases.

On both days fans will get a chance to see the new two-level group and social space in right field: The Pier and the Sun Diego Beach. The relocation of the beach area was a hot topic among the Padres fan base in the off-season so it will be interesting to see how the new setup is received.

The Padres Foundation annual Garage Sale also returns this year. On both Friday and Saturday fans will have the opportunity to purchase Padres items, including game-used jerseys and batting helmets, with proceeds going to the Padres Foundation.

Now, here’s the really important information ... how much will it cost us?

Everything that’s not an actual baseball game is open to the public free of charge (no ticket or pre-registration necessary). General admission tickets to the exhibition games are free for all Padres Season Ticket Members (one ticket for every seat on their Membership account) and $10 for the general public. Tickets for the exhibition games are now on sale at www.padres.com and at the Padres Advance Ticket Windows at Petco Park.

Free parking will be available to Padres Members in Padres-owned lots around the ballpark on a first-come, first-served basis. General fan parking is $15 in Padres-owned lots and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Various Padres players, coaches and alumni will sign autographs at Park at the Park between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Autographs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis so there will be lines and autographs are not guaranteed.

Standard Petco Park security and screening procedures will be in place for Padres FanFest. Re-entry will be permitted for FanFest events, but fans who exit will be screened again upon re-entry into the ballpark.

You can find information updates by visiting www.padres.com/fanfest for additional details and the most up-to-date information.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[East Village Hosts Padres Opening Day Block Party]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:14:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres+Opening+Day+2014+Block+Party+%285%29.JPG

The opening of the San Diego Padres season is more than just a game; it's an all-day block party.

Downtown San Diego's East Village is hosting its sixth annual Opening Day Block Party from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 4, ahead of the Padres Home Opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The free community event will close J Street between 6th and 10th to allow fans to watch live entertainment, taste local craft beers, dine at food trucks and nearby restaurants as well as participate in various activities throughout the party.

When going to the event, party-goers can utilize the Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) increased services and mobile ticketing as well as the Coaster’s North County game day specials.

However, there are even more options.

For those braving the traffic, there are several paid parking lots surrounding the event that range in price from $10 to $30 for parking. San Diego’s Free Ride also allows people already in downtown to receive a ride by texting (619) 821-0520.

Skipping a car altogether is possible by taking advantage of San Diego's Deco Bikes. There are also bike racks for personal bikes on streets near the event.

More detailed information about transportation to the event can be found here.

Play ball.

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<![CDATA[MTS Offers Expanded Service for Padres Opener]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:17:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/Padres+Fans+Petco+Park+Exterior.jpg

San Diego Padres Opening Day is sure to bring crowds and traffic to downtown San Diego.

The home game on April 4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers is projected to attract nearly 50,000 fans, according to San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). Nonetheless, MTS says it is prepared to accommodate the large crowds.

MTS is offering mobile ticketing for Padres home games this year through their free app, mTicket. This feature allows riders to avoid downtown traffic and parking as well as surpass the $2 Compass Card fee. Rides can also purchase multiple trolley passes on one device allowing large groups and families to travel under one device.

Beyond new ticketing options, trolley services will run more frequently before the 4:05 p.m. first pitch.

Specifically, the Green Line will run every seven and a half minutes starting at 1:30 p.m. on game day and will continue after the game. The Gaslamp Quarter Station is the best station for Green Line riders to exit.

The University of California San Diego Blue Line will also run about every seven and a half minutes beginning at 2:30 p.m. as well as after the game. The Orange Line will run every 15 minutes as it normally does. Blue and Orange line riders are recommended to use the 12th and Imperial Transit Center to access the game.

All lines have trolley stops with high capacity parking options such as Qualcomm Stadium, Palm Avenue, El Cajon Transit Center and Spring Street.

Fans in North County can get in on the traffic-free travel as well. By purchasing the Coaster $12 RegionPlus Day Pass at a ticket machine or on the Coaster smart phone app, fans can ride to Santa Fe Depot and transfer to the Green Line toward Gaslamp Quarter Station for no additional cost.

Those that purchase one-way fares will be required to buy a trolley pass from Santa Fe Depot before continuing.

For general information about San Diego's MTS, click here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Myers Expects Big Year for the Padres]]> Mon, 28 Mar 2016 15:07:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/Padres+Wil+Myers+Bat+Flip.jpg

Wil Myers has always been a talented guy. He was a 3rd round pick in 2009 by the Royals before being traded to the Rays while still in the minor leagues (for current Padres teammate James Shields).

Four years later Myers was the 4th-ranked prospect in all of baseball. He was called up at mid-season and in just 88 games with Tampa Bay did enough to earn the AL Rookie of the Year award. At the age of 21, playing in Double-A and Triple-A, Myers hit a combined 37 home runs and drove in 109 runs.

At the age of 22, playing in Triple-A and Major League Baseball, Myers hit a combined 27 homers and drove in 110 runs. It looked like he was the game's next great young power hitter, the East Coast's answer to Mike Trout.

But then injuries happened. Myers hit just six home runs in 87 games with the Rays in 2014, a dip in production that prompted Tampa to trade him to the Padres. In 2015 Myers was off to a promising start before more physical problems knocked him out of the lineup.

It turns out Myers had a bone spur in his left wrist. In the middle of the 2015 season he had is surgically removed. Heading in to 2016 Myers is pain-free and enjoying a brand new position. I went 1 on 1 with him to get a health update and see just what Wil thinks he's capable of this year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: The Curious Case of Jabari Blash]]> Sun, 27 Mar 2016 20:00:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Jabari+Blash+2016+Padres+Spring.jpg

Before the 2016 Cactus League season started Jabari Blash had never gotten more than nine at-bats in a Big League Spring Training. So when the Padres took him in the Rule V Draft they knew they were taking on a developmental project.

Granted, this project hit 32 home runs across Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners system last year, so if he develops he could be a steal. On Sunday Blash hit his 4th home run of the season in the Padres’ 21-6 thrashing of the Astros in Mexico City. Well, it was less of a home run and more of a missile shot.

The ball cleared the fence and all the bleachers in left-center field at Fray Nano Stadium. It’s the kind of jaw-dropping blast that makes you fall in love with the power potential of the 6-foot-5-inch, 235-pound man who is built like, in the words of Padres manager Andy Green, “A Greek God.”

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Blash had a pair of hits in four at-bats against the Astros, driving in four runs and scoring twice. But the most important number in the box score was zero and it came in the strikeouts column.

The issue with Blash, and the main reason the 26-year-old hasn’t gotten his first MLB call-up, is his scary punch out rate. In his minor league career Blash has whiffed in 27 percent of his plate appearances. In his first full MLB training camp that number has gone up.

Blash has struck out in 38 percent of his plate appearances during Cactus League play. But, he’s also played better defense than most expected and … oh, that power.

The Padres will have to keep Blash on the team for the entirety of the 2016 season if they give him a spot on the Opening Day roster. It’s not often that a 26-year-old is still considered a “prospect” but for the Friars, a team in dire need of a home run threat, this gamble might be worth taking.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ross Roughed Up In Padres Loss]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 22:18:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Tyson+Ross+2016+Spring+Training.jpg

The Padres lost to the Rangers 12-11 on Friday night in Cactus League play. Texas got a walkoff home run from Bobby Wilson, who hit a 2-run shot off Padres reliever Blake Smith. None of that is of too much concern.

What is a bit disconcerting, however, is the way Tyson Ross threw.

Ross started the game and went 5.2 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) and striking out seven. What’s out of character is Ross gave up three home runs in the game. In May, June, July and August of last season, a span of 23 starts, Ross only gave up two home runs total.

So far this Spring Ross has thrown 11.0 innings and has an earned run average of an even 9.00. That is not the kind of stat line you’re hoping to see from your Opening Day starter after four starts against the Cactus League.

Ross has never started the first game of the season but he certainly has the makeup of a top-of-the-rotation arm. Plus there’s always the possibility he’s simply tinkering with things, working on fastball location or throwing a certain percentage of changeups regardless of count. In fact, a lot of starters do that in Spring Training.

Ross is not the only Opening Day starter who has sub-par numbers this year. How about this list of aces:

Madison Bumgarner (SF): 11.1 IP, 11.12 ERA
Cole Hamels (TEX): 4.1 IP, 10.38 ERA
Jake Arrieta (CHC – reigning NL Cy Young Award Winner): 6.1 IP, 8.53 ERA
Jose Fernandez (MIA): 10.2 IP, 5.06 ERA

All of those guys are a heck of a lot better than what they’re showing so far. In fact, Hamels started Friday night’s game against his home town team and allowed four runs in 3.0 innings, two of those runs coming on a Derek Norris home run.

So it’s not time to panic about Ross yet. If this keeps up, however, there may be cause for a bit of concern.

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<![CDATA[Padres Make Roster Cuts]]> Mon, 21 Mar 2016 19:00:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/170*120/Nick+Noonan+Padres+Spring+2016.jpg

The Padres made a few roster moves on Monday. Two of them involve San Diego natives.

Poway High alum Alex Dickerson was optioned to Triple-A El Paso. The left-handed hitting outfielder appeared in 15 Cactus League games with the Friars and struggled with a .111 average, two RBI and no home runs in 18 at-bats.

Francis Parker High alum Nick Noonan was reassigned to minor league camp. The left-handed hitting infielder was batting .278 with one RBI over 16 games.

Catcher Jason Hagerty and infielder Ryan Schimpf were also reassigned to minor league camp.

Those moves give the Padres 44 players in Major League camp, including 33 guys from the 40-man roster and 11 non-roster invitees. There are 25 pitchers left to go with five catchers, eight infielders and six outfielders.

Barring trades or injuries here are the guys who KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt will make the Opening Day roster:

PITCHERS

RHP Andrew Cashner
RHP Tyson Ross
RHP James Shields
RHP Brandon Maurer (If not as a starter he’ll be in the bullpen)
RHP Fernando Rodney
RHP Carlos Villanueva

CATCHERS

Derek Norris

INFIELDERS

Wil Myers
Alexei Ramirez
Yangervis Solarte
Cory Spangenberg

OUTFIELDERS

Jon Jay
Matt Kemp
Melvin Upton Jr.

That makes 14 spots on the 25-man roster that are spoken for. Sure, we have a pretty good idea that guys like catcher Christian Bethancourt and one of the lefties, either Drew Pomeranz or Matt Thornton (or both) are going to be there but it’s not a 100% certainty. That means with 17 days until Opening Day against the Dodgers there are about 10 roster spots still up for grabs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trying To Bunt Their Way To Wins]]> Sun, 20 Mar 2016 15:40:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/Andrew+Cashner+Bunting.jpg

Of all the skills one must possess to be a baseball player, it would seem bunting is among the easiest. All you have to do is take the bat, hold it out, put it on the ball, and make contact. I mean, you’re giving yourself up for an out, for crying out loud!

We will all cry and complain (myself included) when a pitcher fails to sacrifice a runner over, often striking out trying to bunt. But apparently this seemingly innocuous activity is a lot more difficult than it looks.

“Everything in a Big League game is much more difficult than it looks like it is,” says Padres manager Andy Green. “It looks easy out there when they’re doing it.”

As is the case with many things Green says, there is data to back that up.

“I think it’s 43% if I’m not mistaken (he’s not) of sacrifice bunts that are executed early in the season, for the first two months, and it’s close to 60% after that. Clearly there’s an acclimation process and if we can hasten that process we’ll be better than other clubs.”

Let’s put out this disclaimer right now: This is NOT the start of a discussion about whether or not bunting is useful or worthwhile in today’s game. This is simply relaying the facts of the matter and the main fact is during Spring Training the Padres are bunting A LOT.

Green sees bunting as a place where the Padres can have an advantage on the competition. Call it an inequity in the numbers that they’re trying to exploit.

“When you stop and think about it you’re saying effectively 50% of all bunts get down through the season,” says Green. “Something that gets done at a 50% clip by guys at this level is not qualified as easy it just appears like it should be. We want to make it look like it is easy this year.”

If they can do something … anything, at this point … with superiority it would seem to only help them start winning more baseball games, at any time of the season.

“Pitchers are bunting every single day,” says Green. “We started off with light velocity on the pitching machine and now it’s cranked up.”

Yes, the Padres have set up a dedicated bunting station at the Peoria Sports Complex, something they’ve never had before. As Spring Training has gone on the Friars have tried to expedite that acclimation process.

“We’ve seen a lot more (pitches) fouled off now. Guys have to really lock in to be better at it.”

It’s not just the sacrifice bunting game that the Padres are emphasizing. Outfielder Travis Jankowski is among the faster players in the game so he’s been working on bunting for a base hit, which ups the degree of difficulty tenfold. I spent a little time with Travis discussing the finer points of the bunt game. Find out how he’s approaching it in this video:



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Add More Pitching]]> Thu, 03 Mar 2016 10:07:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-470527692.jpg

The Padres have tried to create competition in 2016 Spring Training, especially in the pitching staff. That competition got a little more … well, competitive on Thursday.

The Friars signed a pair of relievers, both of them left-handed relievers: Matt Thornton and Chris Friedrich. Both are in training camp on minor-league deals with a chance to earn a Major League gig.

Thornton is 39 years old, making him a year older than Padres manager Andy Green. But, age has not been an issue for him. Last year in Washington Thornton pitched to a 2.18 ERA in 60 innings, the 10th straight year he’s reached at least 60 innings out of the bullpen.

He immediately becomes a strong candidate for the left-handed relief specialist role, a spot that many think Drew Pomeranz was favored to earn. However, Pomeranz is stretching out to be a potential starting pitcher.

In fact, the Padres have multiple players they’re giving a chance to earn a spot in the starting rotation. After Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner, San Diego is looking at a seven different guys to potentially earn the final two starting spots.

It’s widely believed that Brandon Maurer has the inside track on the 4th spot in the rotation. Maurer, who was one of the Padres’ most effective relievers before injury cut short his 2015 season, floated the idea of moving back in to the rotation around last year’s All-Star break. The Padres agreed in the off-season. Now Brandon thinks there’s only one thing that could keep him out of a starting role.

“All I really need to do is make sure my arm is ready,” says Maurer. “If my arm is ready to go by the beginning of the season I should be alright.”

If so that leaves five guys competing for one spot. A few of them, like Pomeranz and Carlos Villanueva, would stay on the Opening Day roster, easily sliding back in to the bullpen if they don’t work out as starters. Robbie Erlin would also be an option for that move as a long-relief of swing-guy.

Colin Rea, Brandon Morrow and Philip Humber are also going to get a chance to win a role in the Top-5 but they are likely not bullpen candidates. Green says the competition is wide open and all seven men will get an equal chance to win a job.

As for Friedrich, he’s what Green called a, “longer-term play.” The former Rockies first-round pick is coming off a rough season in Colorado, where he walked 25 batters in 58 innings. Friedrich is also recovering from a shoulder problem but the Padres expect to see him in Spring Training games by the end of March.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Randy Jones Analyzes The Padres]]> Sun, 13 Mar 2016 17:12:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Randy_Jones_Padres_Spring_Training_Update_1200x675_643581507875.jpg

Randy Jones never pulls any punches when it comes to talking about the Padres. NBC 7's Derek Togerson grabbed some time with Randy in Peoria to see how all the changes in the organization are working out.

As always, Jones did not disappoint.

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<![CDATA[Kemp's Goal: Padres in the Playoffs]]> Thu, 03 Mar 2016 09:18:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/168*120/Matt+Kemp+Padres+Mid-Swing.jpg

In 2015 Padres outfielder Matt Kemp led the team in hits, total bases and RBI and was second in OPS and home runs … and by most accounts he had a bad season.

Despite driving in 100 runs, Kemp was not the player the Padres were hoping they’d gotten when they swung the blockbuster trade to land him before the season. Kemp’s on-base percentage plummeted and his outfield defense was, at best, sub-par. The disappointment probably cuts deeper than it should because of all the hype that was heaped upon the team after the Great Experiment of 2015.

Kemp did not live up to expectations. Really nobody on the roster did. So this year the Friars … and Kemp … are flying under the radar. Matt has no problem with that at all.

“I think we like being the underdog,” said Kemp. “Especially me. I’ve been the underdog a lot in seasons past and you feed off of that.”

Kemp’s injury history has put him in the position where he has, indeed, been overlooked in recent years even though he possesses immense natural ability. It’s because of that history that the now-31-year-old altered his off-season conditioning program a bit this year.

“I think as you get older you switch it up a little bit,” said Kemp. “You don’t do as much pounding as you used to when you were younger. Just kind of work on mobility, flexibility, and try to be as loose and in shape as you can possibly be.”

If he’s able to stay healthy and return to being the MVP candidate he was just three years ago, the Padres hope to fulfill the goal he has set for the team in 2016.

“Just play hard and in the end be in the mix and possibly make the playoffs.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Crushed In Cactus League Opener]]> Wed, 02 Mar 2016 22:24:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Peoria+Sports+Complex+Padres+Mariners+2016.JPG

The Padres got to play their first Cactus League game of the year on Wednesday, their annual Charity Game against the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex. It’s another solid bench mark in the Spring Training process, one players look forward to after a few weeks of nothing but drills.

“If you’re anyone you’re excited,” said catcher Derek Norris. “It’s not the same excitement as Opening Day but it’s a chance to get out there and play the game we love to play and see to see where you’re at, you know, see what adjustments you need to make. You could do all the drills you want but when it comes time for the game it really shows you where you’re at.”

If that’s the case the Padres are nowhere near where they need to be. San Diego lost 7-0 on a day where they really did nothing well.

Their offense only mustered four hits, all of them singles, two of them infield singles by outfielder Hunter Renfroe. Their defense made a pair of errors. Their pitching staff allowed three home runs and really didn’t fool too many people at all in front of 5,505 fans.

Robbie Erlin, who’s in the mix for the 5th starter role in the Padres rotation, threw the first inning. He got out of it with no damage being done but gave up a line drive single to Robinson Cano and a warning track flyout to Kyle Seager.

In the second inning Luis Perdomo, a young right-hander the Padres selected in the Rule V Draft, allowed a long 2-run home run to Mariners catcher Chris Iannetta. Seattle also got home runs from Franklin Gutierrez and Stefen Romero.

The Friars get to hit the reset button on Thursday. They face the Mariners again, this time as the home team.

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<![CDATA[Padres - Mariners Game Preview]]> Wed, 02 Mar 2016 11:50:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-512497372.jpg

The Padres and Mariners play their first Spring Training game of 2016 on Wednesday. This will be the first time new San Diego Manager Andy Green gets to manage a Cactus League game. So how is he going to approach it?

“I think this is discovery time,” said Green. “What are these guys capable of? You don’t find out what they’re capable of unless you push their limits and ask them to do things that maybe you wouldn’t ask them to do on day two or three of the regular season. You’ve got to find out who’s capable of what.”

That means you can expect to see the unexpected during the Cactus League season. Green will be sending runners, calling different defensive alignments, basically anything he can think of to stress his players during game situations where the Win-Loss record doesn’t matter so they can be fully prepared when it does matter.

“The goal is not the Cactus League crown,” said Green, “but it’s fun to win games.”

The starting lineup against Seattle looks like this:

1)    Melvin Upton, CF
2)    Skip Shumaker, 2B
3)    Wil Myers, 1B
4)    Matt Kemp, RF
5)    Yangervis Solarte, 3B
6)    Derek Norris, C
7)    Alex Dickerson, LF
8)    Jabari Blash, DH
9)    Alexi Amarista, SS
SP)     Robbie Erlin

Erlin is one of the few left-handers in camp with the Padres and is in the mix for the 5th starter’s spot.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Andy Green's Beautiful Mind]]> Wed, 02 Mar 2016 10:44:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Andy+Green+Spring+Training.JPG

San Diego Padres manager Andy Green knows a lot about baseball. That’s a prerequisite for being a big league skipper. Green takes it a step further and knows a lot about the Padres.

Not just the guys who have established MLB resumes, mind you. Andy has only been the Padres skipper since October 29 and already he has an almost scary grasp of his entire organization. Ask him about a player … ANY player … and Green has a full-blown scouting report at his fingertips.

Being with the Diamondbacks last year and seeing the Padres 19 times, helping prepare 19 scouting reports will obviously provide insights on the guys, like 2nd baseman Cory Spangenberg.

“I love what he brings to the table,” says Green. “I love the speed element. I think he had 11 or 12 bunt hits last year and I think he has a lot of room to progress in that area. At 2nd base he plays with great energy, he’s got good instincts.”

How about outfielder Travis Jankowski? He only played in 34 games in 2015 with a mere five of them coming against the Diamondbacks.

“Travis Jankowski is a rare combination of speed and ability to defend the field. (We’re trying to) get him to where he needs to be from an offensive perspective, handling the bat, and he’s making great progress right now when you watch his batting practices.”

Alright, there’s no way he knows anything about Alex Dickerson, another outfielder who has eight career plate appearances, zero against Arizona.

“Alex Dickerson, when you look at his progression, path through the minor leagues, it tracks very well and consistently with guys who have turned in to solid Major League Baseball players. I like the shortness of his stroke from the left side, the aggressiveness of it.”

OK now it’s getting a little spooky. Even Dickerson himself says he was taken aback by how much his new manager knew about him before they’d ever met.

“He knew quite a bit,” said Dickerson, a Poway High School alum. “He knew medical history. He knew my averages against lefties and righties. For me that’s just a good sign in a manager, knowing his own players, and that’s what he said from the beginning; he wants to get to know us and you can tell throughout the day he tries to make a conversation with you. That’s a special trait as a leader.”

“I think he’s also just observant,” said 1st baseman Brett Wallace. “He likes to get a chance to talk to you, sit down, look you in the eyes and see what you’re about.”

Green also knows about guys who are new to the Padres, like infielder (and Francis Parker High School alum) Nick Noonan, a non-roster invitee.

“Very steady-handed at shortstop, former first-rounder so there’s a lot of stuff you can like. He’s a guy coming out of the draft who a lot of people considered a possibility to have some power as part of his game.”

Noonan only hit one home run in 76 games with the Giants so the Padres are hoping to unlock that potential pop. Noonan is already impressed with his new manager.

“He seems very acclimated to what I’ve done and who I am as a player so I’m excited to talk with him more and have him see me play a little bit,” said Noonan.

Green’s power of recollection extends to guys who have never even spent a day in The Show, or even been a member of a franchise where Green has worked.

On 24-year-old catcher Christian Bethancourt, who’s played 80 games with the Braves:

“We identified four or five areas of improvement. This guy’s got a ton of raw ability. You look back on prospect lists; he was on the top half of prospect lists in all of baseball for a number of years. He has a ton of upside but also a ton of work ahead of him.”

On Manuel Margot, an outfielder who came over from Boston in the Craig Kimbrel trade and has never played above AA:

“Manny Margot is really exciting. I mean you watch him run around the outfield drills it’s a ton of athleticism. He’s got a lot of whip in his bat. He’s had a real good track record at a very young age at a high level and we’re excited to have him.”

On about Jabari Blash, a Rule V draftee from the Mariners who’s still looking for his first MLB call-up:

“He’s got all the potential in the world. You look at what he did in the minor leagues last year; it was 32 home runs, a very impressive walk rate. Strikeout rate might be up but that’s not any cause for concern. He gets on base and drives guys in.”

Green is a baseball junkie, pure and simple. He came in to his interviews with General Manager A.J. Preller with plenty of plans for the MLB club. All of this knowledge about organizational depth has come in just a couple of months.

“I think most of the interview process was a lot more about leadership and how you draw things out of people, not necessarily trying to figure out what you know about the High-A 1st baseman and what brings to the table. You rely on the people in the organization to fill you in. Since then it’s been a crash course.”

One that, so far, he’s passing with flying colors.

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<![CDATA[Padres' Upton Gets Career Back On Track]]> Tue, 01 Mar 2016 13:44:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-512501990.jpg

The Padres starting centerfielder on Opening Day is very likely going to be Melvin Upton Jr. A fair share of Padres fans look at his numbers (and $16 million contract) and are not terribly thrilled to see #2 patrolling the outfield.

But Upton has something to prove, and he’s more than happy to do it with the Padres.

“Most importantly, they let me be myself,” said outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. “They didn’t really put any expectations on anything. They said come in and be who you are. They told me they knew I was a hard worker and told me to just continue to work.”

Upton came over from the Braves in the Craig Kimbrel trade at the end of Spring Training in 2015. Getting away from Atlanta might be the best thing for his career. When asked if teams not letting him be himself was a problem in the past, Upton chose his words carefully.

“Tampa was good to me,” he said. “Joe (Maddon) was good to me. Joe always let me be myself so no, definitely not there.”

The numbers would support that. In eight years with the Rays Upton a career WAR of nearly 21 and was in the positive category every year except 2006 (when he was 21 years old). In Atlanta his numbers plummeted, hitting below .200 with a negative WAR.  Whatever went down there was not only bad for Upton’s career; it was bad for his psyche.

The trade to San Diego seemed to rejuvenate Upton. He hit .278 after the All-Star Break. Even his defense seemed to improve at Petco Park. Upton is among several players who say they’re feeling a level of comfortability they haven’t had in a while.

Nick Noonan was selected in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Giants. The Francis Parker High School alum got a couple of call-ups to San Francisco, but never really felt like he could play the kind of game he needs to play to be successful.

“I felt like I maybe just put a little bit of reserve on myself,” said Nick Noonan. “Now I’ve just been cutting it loose here and it feels great, just being loose and carefree.”

All this newfound personality freedom is being championed by first-year manager Andy Green, who wants guys to get their work done but have some fun in the process.

“I want everybody to be their authentic selves,” said Green. “The goal here is not, we turn one person in to another person … we help each person become the best version of themselves. I have no intention of myself being Tony LaRussa or Chip Hale or Bruce Bochy, that’s not going to happen. I’m going to be the best version of myself and continue to work to get better.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Let The Games Begin (Almost)!]]> Tue, 01 Mar 2016 13:38:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/IMG_1332.JPG

The Padres held an intrasquad game at Peoria Sports Complex on Tuesday. It was mostly an exercise for the younger players but a few guys with big league service time did take place.

Eight different pitchers threw one inning each. Jose Dominguez and Tayron Guerrero started and both tossed perfect frames with a strikeout.

The only run of the game came in a way the Padres will likely try to score a lot of runs in 2016: good old “Small Ball.”

Infielder Jemile Weeks was hit by a pitch and stole second base, putting him in scoring position for Austin Hedges. The catcher who was serving as the designated hitter in this game delivered a single to score Weeks.

The game’s other two hits came off the bat of outfielders Jabari Blash, who ripped a liner to left field, and Hunter Renfroe, who legged out an infield single on a ground ball in the hole at shortstop.

The Padres play their first game against another team on Wednesday when they meet the Seattle Mariners in their annual Charity Game.

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<![CDATA[Padres Looking For That Certain Special ... Something]]> Tue, 01 Mar 2016 07:22:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-474025094.jpg

Baseball is filled with statistical analysis. We’re now able to quantify how many runs a players can save or how many wins he’s worth. But in a game where BABIP, WAR and UZR are now widely used to determine how good a player is (and how much money he makes) there is still one thing that Sabermetrics haven’t cracked:

CHEM.

There’s no way to quantify it. There’s no way to really identify it. There’s not even a way to prove it exists. But ask around the Padres clubhouse and they’ll swear to you that Chemistry is vital to a team’s success … even if they aren’t entirely certain how to go about getting it.

“Not too many analysts or people in general really put too much emphasis on chemistry,” said starting pitcher James Shields, who has been to the World Series with the Rays and Royals, two teams that analysts also thought were far from being Pennant contenders. “You look at every single interview during the playoffs, you hear all the players and all they talk about is brotherhood and team chemistry. They don’t talk about stats, they don’t talk about how they got there, all they talk about is the brotherhood they have in the clubhouse. I guess it’s hard to judge but I think we’re really starting to get that here in Spring.”

If the Padres ever really achieved any kind of bond it happened far too late to save their ill-fated 2015 season. This year they’re getting a start on the process a little earlier.

“I think the team is feeling a little more comfortable this year,” said Shields. “We had a lot of new guys last year, a lot of guys who are high-profile guys. Bringing in 11 new guys was a little bit difficult as far as the comfortability part. I think guys are starting to feel for each other a little bit right now and we’re going to try and build off that here in Spring.”

Shields will be vital to that process. Like every successful manager, new skipper Andy Green needs a representative in the player ranks to be a buffer and handle some of the conversations he can’t get to. Green and Shields have already struck up a strong rapport.

 “He’s been awesome,” said Green. “He’s going to be a tremendous leader for us this year as a guy we’re going to rely heavily on to get our message out to the clubhouse. He relishes that role.”

Shields is the highest-paid and most accomplished pitcher on the Padres staff. When he was signed before the 2015 season part of the expectation was for him to take the reins and be that leader. It didn’t fully materialize. Perhaps it’s just taking a little longer than they thought.

“He’s very intelligent, very savvy, very competitive,” said Green, “so I expect big things from him.”

Green is banking on Shields to have success, and that success to help drive the leadership role.  But what will that do for the elusive chemistry? Some folks say winning creates it. Others say it leads to more wins. Shields has a very strong opinion on that.

“I think chemistry creates winning. That’s my answer to that.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Museum Lets Fans Honor Tony Gwynn]]> Wed, 02 Mar 2016 09:53:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-451294826.jpg

As baseball season gets closer, Padres fans naturally start to think about the greatest player the franchise has ever known.

A brand new way to honor Tony Gwynn is coming together at an interesting place. Or, when you think about it, the spot kind of makes perfect sense.

Alesmith Brewery in Miramar is giving fans a chance to help build a permanent museum dedicated to the San Diego great (watch the video for how the idea came together with help from Tony's family and a quick history of baseball and beer).

Once the Gwynn museum is finished, money from admission fees will go to the Tony and Alicia Gwynn (TAG) Foundation. Just one more way to carry on the legacy of Mr. Padre.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Catcher Expects Big Things in 2016]]> Sun, 21 Feb 2016 18:20:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/Padres+Derek+Norris+Batting.jpg

Padres manager Andy Green has already slotted Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner at the top of his starting rotation. Early returns would indicate he made the right decision.

“All three looked great,” said catcher Derek Norris, who caught all three starters on the first day of camp. Norris played quite a bit with all of them a year ago. Deno is not one to pull any punches when giving feedback, so his glowing review is quite encouraging.

“Tyson and Andrew, I went up to them and said I got nothing to say, which doesn’t happen very often, as many of these guys can probably tell you. They were excellent. They look like they put in a lot of work in the off-season. They look fit. They look strong.”

The guys on the bump aren’t the only ones who put themselves through a rigorous off-season. Norris also changed his training regimen to prepare for his 5th big league season, putting more of a focus on injury prevention.

“All the work I put in this off-season, so far it’s paying off,” said Norris. “I feel a lot better right now in Spring than I did last year coming in to Spring. I’m stronger. My weight’s down a little bit, too, so that’s a good combination for me. I’ll be able to stay lighter and more healthy throughout the year.”

Norris appeared in 128 games behind the plate in 2015 and it appears the grind (and a few nagging ailments) took its toll. Norris saw his batting average and on-base percentage improve dramatically after the All-Star break but his power numbers dropped in the second half of the season.

Norris spent a fair share of time at 1st base late in the season but he sees himself primarily as a catcher, so he’s doing all he can to get his body ready for the demands of the most physically taxing position in the game while at the same time getting to know his pitching staff.

Unlike last year, when he had to learn about every single pitcher on the roster, in 2016 Norris already has a relationship with most of the arms. Now he’s spending time trying to cater to the fresh faces in a new place.

“A majority of these guys are coming back from last year,” said Norris. “For me just getting to know some of these Rule V guys we picked up over the winter, some guys via free agency or wherever we got them, just getting a good game plan together and getting with Andy (Green) and figure out which one of these guys is going to help the team the most on Day 1.”

Green will likely consult Norris and fellow returning catcher Austin Hedges on who should earn the 4th and 5th starting spots in the Padres rotation.

Trade rumors have been swirling around Norris for weeks and with General Manager A.J. Preller anything could possibly happen. But for as long as the Padres have Derek Norris, be it another five days or another five years, it looks like they’ll be getting the best version of Derek Norris anyone has seen yet.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Add Another Closer]]> Sat, 20 Feb 2016 17:25:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-487833004.jpg

If the Padres want to be competitive in 2016 (and beyond) they feel like they need to create some competition. The Friars have made this abundantly clear to all their relief pitchers.

As if that group did not have enough variables already, another one was thrown in to the mix. San Diego signed veteran reliever Casey Janssen to a minor league contract and invited him to Big League camp. The new guy was there for his first workout on Saturday morning.

The 34-year-old Janssen made 48 appearances for the Nationals last season. He was only scored on in 12 of those outings, but when things went wrong they seemed to go REALLY wrong. Janssen finished with an ERA just a shade under 5.00.

“Obviously I’m motivated,” said Janssen. “Last year didn’t go the way I wanted it to and I’m out here to prove that I’m the pitcher I know I can be and that last year was just a little bump in the road.

Janssen, a Southern California native who played at UCLA, spent the first eight years of his career with the Blue Jays. He spent three years as Toronto’s closer, saving a career-high 34 games in 2013.

The Padres are expecting Janssen to fight for a spot on the Opening Day roster, and possibly at the most high-profile spot in the bullpen. When the Padres signed Fernando Rodney he became the presumptive closer. Janssen might get a chance to push Rodney, a challenge he would welcome.

“At this point in my career I just want to help. I want to win,” said Janssen. “I’ve pitched everywhere in a bullpen from the early innings to the back end to closing. I truly believe that if you can pitch in the 6th you can pitch in the 9th. Three outs is really just three outs and that’s how I treat it.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Green Names Padres Opening Day Starter]]> Fri, 19 Feb 2016 17:10:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/240*120/Andy+Green+Padres.png

Andy Green is not one for wasting time.

On Friday, the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers in Peoria, AZ, the new Padres manager shared a fairly large bit of information. When asked who his Opening Day starter is going to be, Green fired back with conviction.

“Tyson Ross,” Green said. And he was not joking around.

“You didn’t think you were going to get truth?” asked the skipper. “You thought I was going to make stuff up?”

It’s certainly not an issue or trust. It’s just that most clubs that don’t have a Clayton Kershaw or Jake Arrieta, a guy who’s a no-brainer at the top of the rotation, typically wait a while to name their Opening Day starter. Green saw no reason to wait on anointing Ross, a 2014 All-Star.

“We had a conversation with him yesterday. We feel like he’s earned that right,” said Green. “Tyson is ready and eager to take the ball Day 1 and we’re excited to have him as our ace. It’s an affirmation of who Tyson is and where he’s headed.”

“It totally caught me off-guard,” said Ross. “It’s a true honor to be named Opening Day starter.”

Many Padres observers thought James Shields, the Friars’ 2015 Opening Day starter, would have the inside track on doing it again this year. Instead he’ll get the ball in the second game of the season, followed by Andrew Cashner. That’s right; Green went so far as to lay out his rotation for the season’s entire first series against the Dodgers.

“I think James Shields has been incredibly effective in that slot, starting Opening Day,” said Green. “I think he could have done it admirably. I think we have some added benefit of separating the power arms in our rotation in Tyson and Cashner, kind of slot James right in the middle of those guys. We like the way it sets up.”

Nobody on the Padres roster has a resume like Shields, who led the team in wins and innings pitched a year ago. But Ross had the best ERA and was tops on the staff with a 3.1 WAR. Long regarded as a Pro’s Pro, Shields handled the information as Green had hoped he would.

“(James) was thrilled for Tyson. He was the consummate teammate in that moment.”

This moment could very well signal a turning point for the Padres organization. Green is bringing a no-nonsense approach to the managerial position.

“I don’t think there’s any hesitancy to make decisions when we know what we need to do,” he said.

It’s a shift that’s already being felt in the clubhouse at the Peoria Sports Complex.

“It’s kind of a new culture we’re trying to create here,” said Ross. “I’m looking forward to taking that first step.”

By naming his Opening Series starters on Day 1, Green is sending a few messages. One is he believes in the guys at the top of his rotation. Another is he’s not going to hem and haw when a decision needs to be made, so those guys had better live up to the expectation or he’ll find somebody who can.

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<![CDATA[Padres Make Intriguing Spring Training Invitations]]> Wed, 17 Feb 2016 17:12:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-487058488.jpg

The Padres have invited 19 non-roster players to Spring Training. On the list are some of their better prospects like outfielder Hunter Renfroe … a few guys who have limited MLB experience like left-handed reliever Frank Garces … and players coming back from injury like right-handed starter Brandon Morrow.

But then you have a bunch of players who are trying to catch on again with a big league club and either resurrect their careers or simply get the break they haven’t received yet. The Friars have a couple of very interesting names on the 2016 list.

One is infielder Nick Noonan. He’s a graduate of Francis Parker High School who was drafted 32nd overall by the Giants in the 2007 Draft. Noonan made his MLB debut in 2013 but has only played 76 games with San Francisco. He’s still just 26 years old and has the ability to play 2nd base, shortstop and 3rd base. He’ll be trying to earn a utility role on the bench of his home town team.

Another guy to keep an eye on is RHP Philip Humber. If the name sounds familiar it’s probably because on April 21, 2012 Humber was pitching for the White Sox when he threw the 21st official Perfect Game in baseball history at Safeco Field against the Mariners.

Since then he’s only made 21 more starts, going 4-13 in the process. He spent 2014 with the Sacramento River Cats (AAA affiliate of the Oakland A’s) and pitched in 2015 for the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization. It’s a monster longshot but if the Padres are able to salvage something from Humber (and if anyone has the track record to do that it’s Pitching Coach Darren Balsley) they’ll have a heck of a steal, and an even better story, on their hands.

Here’s the full list of Padres non-roster invitees:

Right-Handed Pitchers (8)
Martires Arias
Luis Diaz
Jose Dominguez
Johnny Hellweg
Philip Humber
Daniel McCutchen
Brandon Morrow
Carlos Pimentel

Left-Handed Pitchers (1)
Frank Garces

Catchers (3)
Rocky Gale
Jason Hagerty
Erik Kratz

Infielders (5)

Carlos Asuaje
Nick Noonan
Adam Rosales
Ryan Schimpf
Jemile Weeks

Outfielders (2)

Hunter Renfroe
Skip Schumaker

Padres pitchers and catchers report to the Peoria Sports Complex on February 18. Position players join them on February 23.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Spring Training Preview]]> Mon, 15 Feb 2016 15:18:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-465319976.jpg

What a difference a year makes.

In February of 2015 the Padres were the talk of Major League Baseball. Their off-season, while risky and ultimately doomed, was fascinating to watch unfold. It showed the franchise was willing to try to win, something that frankly took Padres fans by surprise.

In February of 2016 the Padres are just kind of … there. Their off-season was more about fixing what didn’t work a year ago and laying the ground work for the next decade than trying to become an immediate contender. Well-known faces like Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton and Jedd Gyorko are gone.

Even the bunch will look different. For the first time since 2006 Bud Black is not calling the shots. Instead we get to see how new manager Andy Green wants to run the ship.

So when Padres pitchers and catchers report to the Peoria Sports Complex exactly what is Spring Training going to look like? Let’s take a shot an answering some of those questions.

Let’s start with the starting rotation. We know Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner are the top three guys there. Well, they are until one, two, or all of them are traded (and mark my words: that is going to remain a possibility all the way up through August). Assuming they all stay put for a while the other two starters will come from a large group of candidates.

The three frontrunners, as far as I can tell, are Brandon Morrow, Brandon Maurer and Colin Rea (again, as long as General Manager A.J. Preller doesn’t pull off another trade).

Morrow was arguably the Padres’ most effective starting pitcher in the first month of last season. He was 2-0 with a 2.73 ERA and a career-best strikeout-walk ratio when his season ended with an injury. The Padres re-signed him to a minor league contract in hopes he’ll be able to get healthy again.

Maurer was a starter with the Mariners but moved to the Padres bullpen in 2015. He was mentioned by Preller as a possible closer candidate after the Kimbrel trade but the Friars added Fernando Rodney as a free agent so they’re going to give Maurer a chance to earn his way back in to the rotation during Cactus League play.

Rea is one of the Padres’ top prospects and showed flashes of what he’s capable of in a handful of late-season starts. Rea’s final outing was easily his best. On September 8 he went 7.0 shutout innings against the Rockies but did not throw again after experiencing elbow and forearm soreness. He did not require surgery and if healthy will get every chance to make the Opening Day roster.

Then we have the bullpen. Rodney is in. If Maurer doesn’t earn a spot on the rotation he’ll be back there, too. Lefty Drew Pomeranz, who was acquired in a trade with the A’s for 1st baseman Yonder Alonso, and Carlos Villanueva (free agent from the Cardinals) are also likely shoe-ins.

The fight for the final three or four sports will be massive. In the mix are Ramona H.S. alum Nick Vincent, Kevin Quackenbush, Robbie Erlin (who is also on the list of starter candidates), Leonel Campos, Cory Mazzoni and a whole ton of young arms that have yet to make their big league debuts but have had success in the upper minor league levels.

Aside from Rodney and Villanueva the Padres ‘pen will be extremely young but it should feature a bunch of big arms, something Preller has shown an affinity for.

As far as the position players go … that’s not any more solidified than the pitching staff is. The only things we can write in permanent ink are Alexei Ramirez at shortstop and Matt Kemp in right field (again, assuming he is not traded). After that we have a pretty good idea that Wil Myers is the 1st baseman, Cory Spangenberg is the 2nd baseman and Yangervis Solarte is at 3rd.

Behind the plate Derek Norris is the presumptive starter with Austin Hedges and Christian Bethancourt as the backups. However it’s widely known that Norris is on the trade block for a couple of reasons. One is he is one of the few players the Padres have at the moment who could bring back real value. Another is they’d love to insert Hedges, who proved himself to be every bit as good defensively as we’d hoped, as the everyday guy.

Trying to fill the outfield next to Kemp is a lot like what the Friars are facing in the bullpen. There are a lot of options but you’re not quite sure how they’ll all fit together. We know Melvin Upton will be back. Offensively he leaves a lot to be desired in a man making $16 million but he is still a valuable defender who can play either center or left.

John Jay, acquired from the Cardinals in the deal that sent Jedd Gyorko to St. Louis, is also pretty much guaranteed a roster spot. Then we have a few prospects to take a long look at, including Travis Jankowski, Hunter Renfroe, San Diego native Alex Dickerson and Jabari Blash (taken in the Rule V Draft by the A’s before coming to the Padres in the Alonso trade). Jankowski is the best defender in the group but doesn’t profile as a big power guy. Renfroe and Blash have the kind of raw power scouts gush over and Dickerson is a left-handed bat the Padres desperately need.

Oh, and don’t forget about the bench, where Alexi Amarista and Skip Schumaker, Jose Pirela and Brett Wallace will be trying to earn at-bats.

That’s how things stand on Monday, February 15. Just for fun I’ll take a stab at how the roster will look on April 4:

STARTING PITCHERS (5)

Tyson Ross, RHP
James Shields, RHP
Andrew Cashner, RHP
Brandon Maurer, RHP
Colin Rea, RHP

RELIEF PITCHERS (7)

Fernando Rodney, RHP
Carlos Villanueva, RHP
Drew Pomeranz, LHP
Nick Vincent, RHP
Leonel Camps, RHP
Cory Mazzoni, RHP
Tayron Guerrero, RHP (He’s 6’7” and throws in the upper-90’s)

CATCHERS (2)

Austin Hedges
Christian Bethancourt
(Yes, I think Norris will be dealt at some point before Opening Day)

INFIELDERS (6)

Wil Myers
Cory Spangenberg
Alexei Ramirez
Yangervis Solarte
Alexi Amarista
Brett Wallace

OUTFIELDERS (5)

Matt Kemp
Melvin Upton Jr.
John Jay
Travis Jankowski
Jabari Blash

That last name, Blash, has the kind of nutty pop the Friars have needed for a while. I’m thinking he’ll put together such a prolific Spring that the Friars will have no choice but to keep him on the roster in April.

The youth movement is officially on for the Padres. Again. Play ball!



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Caravan to Stop at Madres Fundraiser]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 18:03:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/465295602.jpg

The San Diego Padres are spending a portion of the week roving the city on their annual Padres Caravan. But one stop gives the Friar faithful a chance to meet the players and help the community.

Saturday, February 13th a group of players will stop by the San Diego Madres Dining for Dollars fundraiser at Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill in Hazard Center. Between the hours of one and four p.m., ten percent of restaurant sales along with raffle sales will go to the Madres to help support local youth baseball and softball teams.

The San Diego Madres are an organization of women and men whose mission is “to provide all children of San Diego County the opportunity to play baseball and softball” according to www.sandiegomadres.org. The group, founded in 1972 has helped over 450 teams.

Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill is located at 7510 Hazard Center Dr, Ste 215, San Diego, CA 92108. Players are expected to arrive around 2:30 p.m.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>