<![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 Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:14:24 -0800 Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:14:24 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres New Closer Leaves Game With Injury]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 22:43:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/192*120/Fernando+Rodney+With+Seattle.jpg

The last few years have not been kind to the Padres when it comes to injuries. So, of course, two weeks before Spring Training even starts it looks like they're dealing with an injury.

Relief pitcher Fernando Rodney, the man they just signed to a one-year contract in hopes he can compete for the closer job, is playing in the Caribbean Series for the Dominican Republic. He entered a game against Cuba in the 11th inning and took off on a wild adventure.

Rodney fielded a comebacker, then threw it away for a 2-base error then walked a batter and was visited by the team trainer. He stayed in only to have the bases get loaded when a sacrifice bunt was not played properly.

Rodney struck out the next two hitters but was then pulled from the game after another visit from the trainer. Rodney took the loss when Raphael Soriano gave up a 2-run single but more important is his health. The Dominican team says Rodney was removed as a "precautionary measure" because he'd been experiencing leg tightness during the week.

Representatives from the Padres were reportedly at the game watching Rodney but the team has not yet commented on just what Rodney's ailment is.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Despaigne to Orioles]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:12:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-488079210.jpg

The Padres traded right handed-pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne to the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday for 19-year old pitcher Jean Cosme. San Diego also officially signed reliever Fernando Rodney to a 1-year deal.

Cosme, 19, went 3-5 with a 4.74 ERA (30 ER, 57.0 IP) and 53 strikeouts against 18 walks over 12 starts for Single-A Aberdeen in 2015. The right-hander signed with the Orioles as a 17th-round selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Puerto Rico and made his professional debut with the Rookie-Level Gulf Coast League Orioles that year. Over his two professional seasons (2014-15) he has gone 5-5 with a 4.73 ERA (38 ER, 72.1 IP) and 70 strikeouts against 26 walks over 21 games, 13 starts.

Despaigne, 28, went 5-9 with a 5.80 ERA (81 ER, 125.2 IP) and 69 strikeouts against 32 walks over 34 games, 18 starts, for San Diego in 2015. The right-hander signed with the Padres in May 2014 as a minor league free agent and made his Major League debut later that year for San Diego. A native of Havana, Cuba, he has gone 9-16 with a 4.74 ERA (117 ER, 222.0 IP) and 134 strikeouts against 64 walks in 50 games, 34 starts, over parts of two Major League seasons (2014-15) for the Padres.

With today’s transactions the Padres currently have a full 40-man roster. But don’t be surprised if general manager AJ Preller keeps tinkering this month with spring training on the horizon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Reveal New Stadium Promotions]]> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 06:21:41 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/Padres+Fans+Petco+Park+Exterior.jpg

Canada has hockey night. America has baseball night.

The Padres are bringing Baseball Night in San Diego back to Petco Park for the 2016 season. Every Saturday home game will feature a giveaway or event, including the wildly popular fedora, Padres hoodie and a throwback replica jersey.

The Friars are adding something new this year, too ... technology-based giveaways for the first time as a way to enhance the fan experience at Petco Park.

Many of the 2016 giveaway items feature design elements of the new Padres jerseys and wordmarks, which were unveiled in December.

The fun starts with the opening series against the Dodgers, where every fan in attendance gets an Opening Series Rally Towel. Each day of the series will feature a different towel design based on the newly unveiled 2016 Padres jerseys (April 4 – Commemorative home white, April 5 – Brown and Yellow, April 6 – Navy digital camouflage).
Here's how the rest of the 2016 Baseball Night in San Diego season looks (Giveaways will be distributed to all fans in attendance):

•         Sat., April 16 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Padres Hat (COX); SD Decal and 2016 Schedule Cling
•         Sat., April 23 vs. St. Louis Cardinals: Tyson Ross Jersey T-shirt (Mission Federal Credit Union)
•         Sat., May 7 vs. New York Mets: Padres Hoodie (Toyota)
•         Sat., May 21 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Postgame Fireworks
•         Sat., June 4 vs. Colorado Rockies: To Be Announced
•         Sat., June 18 vs. Washington Nationals: Padres Fedora (National University)
•         Sat., July 2 vs. New York Yankees: Postgame Laser Show
•         Sat., July 16 vs. San Francisco Giants: $10 Coupon to Padres Majestic Team Store
•         Sat., July 30 vs. Cincinnati Reds: SD Ear Buds (United Airlines)
•         Sat., August 6 vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Throwback Replica Jersey (Fanatics)
•         Sat., August 20 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Fan’s choice*: Back-to-school SD Lunch Bag or Back-to-Tailgating SD Bottle Holder
•         Sat., September 10 vs. Colorado Rockies: SD USB Charger 
•         Sat., September 24 vs. San Francisco Giants: Padres Team Photo and 2017 Schedule (Mighty 1090) and postgame Fireworks
*Subject to availability of each item

The full promotional and events calendar for 2016 will be announced prior to single-game tickets going on sale on February 11. You can get tickets at www.padres.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Gwynn Remembered in San Diego]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:27:10 -0800 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 10:30:09 -0800 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[How Justin Upton Leaving Could Help the Padres]]> Mon, 18 Jan 2016 20:44:21 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/Justin+Upton+swinging.jpg

The Detroit Tigers spent most of the off-season telling people they didn’t have the financial flexibility to add another free agent on a 9-figure contract. They already have Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander on the books for more than $200 million total, then added starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann from the Nationals for $110.

But apparently the Motor City Kitties have more cash than they’ve been letting on.

Detroit has reportedly agreed to a 6-year, $132 million contract with former Padres outfielder Justin Upton (pending a physical). Upton, who went to the All-Star game in his lone season in San Diego, was the biggest fish remaining on the free agent market.

Upton gives Detroit another guy with 30-homer potential in the outfield, but it could have an even bigger impact on the Padres. San Diego extended a qualifying offer to Upton (which he declined) so the Tigers have to surrender a draft pick to the Padres.

Add that to the pick the Friars received from the Royals when Kansas City signed Ian Kennedy and Padres General Manager A.J. Preller will likely have five picks in the first 75 selections in the 2015 MLB Draft.

That is the kind of bounty that can either build a team in to a contender or sink it for missing on a golden opportunity. The Padres know first-hand how it can happen because they’ve seen arguably the best and worst single-team drafts in MLB history.

The best is probably the 1968 Los Angeles Dodgers, who took … in one draft, mind you … Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Bobby Valentine, Geoff Zahn, Joe Ferguson, Tom Paciorek and a guy who had success with another club named Bill Buckner.

That group, especially the trio of Garvey, Cey and Lopes, helped the Dodgers rule the National League West for a decade. While they were together L.A. only finished with a losing record one time.

On the other side of the coin you have the Padres themselves. Look back to the 2007 draft when San Diego had six of the first 64 picks. Here’s how they used them in order (overall pick in parenthesis):

(23) Nick Schmidt, LHP, Arkansas
(40) Kellen Kulbacki, OF, James Madison
(46) Drew Cumberland, SS, Pace HS in Florida
(57) Mitch Canham, C, Oregon St.
(63) Cory Luebke, LHP, Ohio St.
(64) Danny Payne, OF, Georgia Tech

Of those only Luebke ever spent a single day in the Major Leagues and his promising career was derailed by a pair of Tommy John surgeries. The lack of impact players from that class has certainly contributed to the Padres lack of success recently.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the guys the Padres had a chance to draft instead of that sinister six include RHP Rick Porcello, 3B Todd Frazier and 3B Josh Donaldson. Odds are they passed on the last two guys two years before that they took Chase Headley and figured the Hot Corner was taken care of already.

The amateur draft is, especially in baseball, basically a form of legalized gambling. Unless you’re grabbing a Ken Griffey Jr. or Bryce Harper it’s almost impossible to know if a kid is going to make it or not. Shoot, 20-something teams passed on Mike Trout.

The Padres have a very unique opportunity this June. If they can hit on even a few picks, we could see the makings of a dynasty. Just ask the Yankees how that works. In 1990 New York had 74 draft picks. Only seven of them ever wore a Yankees uniform.

But two of them were named Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.

Two years later the Yankees had 50 selections. Of those only three made it to Yankee Stadium. But one of them was named Derek Jeter.

Three guys out of 124 picks were the bulk of the reason New York won five rings. It doesn’t take a perfect draft to be a contender. All it takes is finding a couple of perfect picks to make magic happen.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Looking at Shortstop Solutions]]> Sun, 10 Jan 2016 17:01:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*128/Ian+Desmond+defense.jpg

The Padres need a shortstop. I’d say they have only one on the roster but that one is Alexi Amarista and his career -1.7 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating, a defensive metric that has really good players in the positives) at the position are just not a viable option. Amarista is a valuable utility guy but he’s simply not being used properly in the role of an everyday middle infielder.

This year Padres General Manager A.J. Preller is addressing the issue, something he couldn’t get to during the pre-2015 whirlwind.

Barring a trade for a new shortstop, something that doesn’t seem likely at the moment given the Padres attempts this off-season to re-stock their farm system, it’s looking like free agency is the preferred mode of expression. Recently two candidates have emerged as the top options and they bring very different things to the table.

Before we continue it should be noted that any deal that gets done must take in to account Javier Guerra. He’s one of the top shortstop prospects in baseball, a left-handed hitter with a plus glove and a howitzer for an arm. Guerra was acquired in the trade that sent closer Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox and should be ready in two to three years so the Friars don’t want to have someone in place on a big contract blocking the kid.

With that in mind, it’s interesting they’re talking seriously with Ian Desmond. The former Nationals star won three straight Silver Slugger awards before his numbers took a noticeable dip in 2015. Desmond is 30 years old and looking for a big payday.

He made $11 million his final year in Washington and, after the 2013 season, reportedly rejected a 7-year, $107 million deal from the Nats. That tells me he was either banking on himself becoming the next Cal Ripken or he really hated D.C. The former did not materialize but as the top shortstop option in free agency odds are he still wants to get a big payday.

Desmond has the ability to play shortstop or third base. Interestingly the Padres could also use a full-time 3rd baseman. So if they can convince Desmond to play short until Guerra is ready then move over the third I have no problem with him getting a five or six year deal at around $75-$80 million. Having an infield of Desmond, Guerra, Cory Spangenberg and Wil Myers is not an altogether bad idea.

If Desmond is not amenable to a position change or thinks he’s still worth a 9-figure deal then the other option is not a bad one, either.

The Padres have also reportedly been talking to former White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. The 34-year-old is not as good a hitter as Desmond but, until a drop-off in 2015 that could be regression or a simple off season, was the superior defender.

Ramirez was known as a good guy in the Chicago clubhouse and would likely be willing to take two or three years at $20-30 million, one final nice contract before retiring. He would be your proverbial stop-gap to hold down the position and actually give the Friars something resembling production until Guerra is ready.

Both options would be a gigantic upgrade for 2016 and beyond so whichever way Preller ends up going it’ll be nice to see a natural shortstop on the field at Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trevor Hoffman Not Elected to Hall of Fame]]> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 16:35:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/GettyImages-80873945.jpg

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza are the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Those two players combined have 25 All-Star game selections and hit 1,057 home runs so it’s easy to see how they earned a spot in Cooperstown.

Griffey was named on 437 of 440 ballots, giving him the highest voting percentage (99.32%) of anyone in Hall of Fame history. The fact that three so-called MLB experts did not vote for a man with 630 home runs and 13 All-Star game appearances who played his entire career in the teeth of the Steroid Era and did not raise even a bit of suspicion is absurd, but Griffey holds no grudges.

"I can't be upset towards the three people who didn't vote for me,” Junior said. “To have the highest percentage is definitely a shock."

Piazza, a San Diego Padre for the 2006 season, made it in his 4th year of eligibility. He hit 396 home runs as a catcher, the highest total at the position in MLB history (Piazza hit 427 dingers overall). Piazza and Griffey are the only two players who will be inducted this July.

There are four other men who appeared on at least half the 440 ballots: Jeff Bagwell (71.6%), Tim Raines (69.8%), Trevor Hoffman (67.3%) and Curt Schilling (52.3%). Although disappointing that vote total is actually fantastic news for the former Padres closer.

Hoffman was in his first year of eligibility and nobody who has ever earned that high of a percentage in his first year has ever failed to (eventually) be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Of course, in a move that speaks to his infinite class, Hoffy released a statement about this year’s results:

“First and foremost I want to congratulate Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza,” Hoffman wrote. “This is a class of tremendous players and people, both deserving of the title Hall of Famer. While the news today wasn’t the news I was hoping for I am humbled and honored to have been on the ballot and in the conversation with players of this caliber. If and when the day comes that I receive the ultimate honor in our game, I look forward to sharing with my family, friends, teammates, the Padres organization, and most importantly, the fans.”

The Padres organization also released a statement in support of Hoffman:

“We would like to congratulate the Hall of Fame class of 2016, including former Padres catcher Mike Piazza.

Regarding Trevor Hoffman falling short in his first year of eligibility, we share our fans’ disappointment in today’s results.  Few others have represented a franchise in Major League Baseball the way Trevor and his family have represented the Padres over the last three decades. While it may be impossible for us to be objective, Trevor is a true Hall of Famer in our eyes and the eyes of all San Diegans. We hope that well-deserved recognition comes his way in the near future.”

There are several other players with San Diego ties to appear on this year’s ballot. Sadly Kearny High School alum Alan Trammell, who was one of the best middle infielders in the game for a decade with the Tigers of the 1980’s, only received 40.9% of votes so his eligibility is up. Trammell will have to wait another year before he’s eligible to be elected by the Veteran’s Committee.

Former Padres Fred McGriff (20.9%) and Gary Sheffield (11.6%) received enough votes to earn another year on the ballot. Former Padres David Eckstein and Brad Ausmus were both on the ballot. Eckstein only received two votes in his first year of eligibility while Ausmus received no votes. Neither man will be on the ballot next year. Carlsbad native Troy Glaus was on the ballot but received no votes.

Current Padres hitting coach Mark McGwire was named on 12.3% of the ballots.

So Trevor Hoffman and the greatest changeup the game has ever seen will have to wait at least one more year to see what his Hall of Fame plaque will look like. But his case could be strengthened in 2016 because next year’s group of first-time eligible players does not contain anyone the caliber of a Ken Griffey Jr. Here’s the list of guys who will join Hoffy and company on the ballot next year (in alphabetical order):

Pat Burrell, IF/OF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Mike Cameron, OF
Vladimir Guerrero, OF
Derrek Lee, 1B
Magglio Ordonez, OF
Jorge Posada, C
Manny Ramirez, OF
Edgar Renteria, SS
Arthur Rhodes, LHP
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Jason Varitek, C
Javier Vazquez, RHP
Tim Wakefield, RHP

A case will certainly be made for guys like Guerrero, Posada, Rodriguez and Varitek but it’s certainly going to be difficult to convince 75% of voters that they’re worthy of being called a “First-Ballot Hall of Famer,” a title on 51 men in history have earned.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Predicting 2016 for San Diego Sports]]> Fri, 01 Jan 2016 08:56:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Chargers+Fan+Dean+Sign.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson takes a shot at predicting the future in this commentary

Now that 2015 is gone we can focus on 2016. There are a whole lot of questions that need to be answered about a whole lot of things in the San Diego sports landscape. So here are some takes on what I think will happen … and what I think should happen for a few of our local sporting entities.


WHAT WILL HAPPEN:  The Bolts will file for relocation to Los Angeles and win the vote of the owners on Jan. 13 in Houston, proving just how clueless the men who run NFL teams truly are. Mike McCoy will be retained as head coach and make only minor changes on his coaching staff. The Bolts will have a good NFL Draft, grabbing Ohio State defensive lineman Joey Bosa with the 3rd overall pick. With him and a few young offensive linemen playing well McCoy’s game planning and in-game decision making will lead the team, playing at the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of crowds about half the size of the ones USC gets, to a 6-10 record. Dean Spanos will then give McCoy a new contract because, hey, they’re close to being mediocre and that’s the Spanos sweet spot.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN:  Internationally known mentalist David Blaine breaks in to the Spanos household in the dead of night (assisted by Penn & Teller) and hypnotizes Dean, making him believe he does not want to move the team to L.A. In fact, he wants to have Goldman Sachs build a stadium with 100 percent private money in downtown San Diego. Spanos will not file for relocation and choose to fire McCoy, sending Blaine to convince Jon Gruden to come coach the Chargers for $10 million a year. The Bolts still draft Bosa and add some young offensive linemen who play well. With Gruden’s game planning and in-game decision making they go 12-4 and win the Super Bowl, securing a spot in Canton for quarterback Philip Rivers.


WHAT WILL HAPPEN:  General Manager A.J. Preller finds a shortstop just before Spring Training but only to fill the position for two seasons as they wait for Javier Guerra to develop (so no monster trades and no Ian Desmond). Wil Myers stays healthy and has an All-Star-caliber season at 1st base. Tyson Ross has an All-Star-caliber season and throws the first no-hitter in franchise history but is not traded. Andrew Cashner has a bounce-back year and throws the second no-hitter in franchise history but is traded at the deadline to a contending team that needs another arm for the rotation. Catcher Derek Norris has an All-Star-caliber first half and is also traded to a contender who needs a bat, handing the backstop duties full-time to Austin Hedges. In return Preller gets another handful of prospects, setting the team up for a serious run of success … that starts in 2018. The Friars win 80 games, a step in the right direction under Andy Green, but still finish 4th in the National League West.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN:  General Manager A.J. Preller signs a shortstop named Ian Desmond. He then signs a corner outfielder named Alex Gordon and a starting pitcher named … Tim Lincecum. Don’t laugh. Lincecum has a career 10.9 K/9 innings rate at Petco Park, his best at any MLB ballpark (I know, it’s facing Padres hitters but just work with me here). Lincecum rediscovers his old magic at the ballpark he was born to pitch in, winning 25 games with a 1.28 ERA and 420 strikeouts (yes that number was chosen a reason). This time the drastic rebuilding works and the Padres win 130 games on their way to a World Series championship.


WHAT WILL HAPPEN:  San Diego’s new hockey team will continue its early season success as the Ducks find a way to get back in to playoff contention and leave their top prospects on the farm. The Gulls earn a playoff spot and make their way to the AHL Finals, beating the Toronto Marlies to win the Calder Cup.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN:  Yeah, that pretty much nailed it.


WHAT WILL HAPPEN:  The basketball program wins the Mountain West regular season AND conference tournament titles to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament again. Along the way Malik Pope rediscovers his scoring touch, becoming the first round NBA Draft pick a lot scouts believe he’s capable of being. Steve Fisher’s guys win the first round game then get a rematch with Kansas, scaring the daylights out of the Jayhawks before falling in double overtime. Kansas goes on to win the National Championship.

The football program builds off its 10-game winning streak to win another MWC championship game and this time win the Las Vegas Bowl in front of a sellout crowd. Head coach Rocky Long gets head coaching offers from major power conference schools but turns them down to keep building the Aztecs in to the next Boise State, a mid-major team that scares the daylights out of Big-5 schools.

The baseball program wins the MWC regular season and conference titles and gets to host the NCAA Regional, where they advance to the Super-Regional for the first time. But, traveling to Berkeley they lose in three games to the California Golden Bears.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN:  The basketball, football and baseball programs are joined by every other SDSU sporting entity to win every single MWC championship of the year. They’re then able to take that success to Major League Soccer and with the help of John Moores build, not just a 35,000 seat soccer/football stadium, but an entire sporting complex to house an MLS expansion team and Aztecs football games in an outdoor facility and an indoor arena for the Gulls and Sockers to play in. That indoor arena will be so awesome it attracts a NBA team to come back to San Diego and that team is … the Clippers!

Owner Steve Ballmer realizes, even if he wins multiple NBA titles, Los Angeles will always be a Lakers town so he rights the Sterling wrong and moves the Clips back down south, where they average more fans per game than the Chargers do at their new stadium in Carson.

Happy New Year everybody!!!!!

<![CDATA[Matt Bush is Back in Baseball]]> Fri, 18 Dec 2015 23:44:52 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/Matt+Bush+Padres.jpg

In 2004 the Padres drafted San Diego native Matt Bush with the first overall pick of the MLB Draft. The Mission Bay high school alum's problems started almost immediately.

He moved from shortstop to the mound as a relief pitcher and despite being immensely talented Bush never advanced beyond high-class A before the Padres gave up on him. He ended up in the Rays organization but a battle with substance abuse led to a DUI and a 34-month prison stay.

Now, Matt Bush is back in baseball.

He signed a minor league deal with the Rangers. Texas sees the now-29-year-old continuing his career as a relief pitcher. They might be the perfect place for Bush to live his Big League dreams. Outfielder Josh Hamilton is back with the Rangers and could serve as a mentor to keep Bush on the right track.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Safety Changes Coming to Petco Park]]> Wed, 09 Dec 2015 16:22:57 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/Petco+Park+Aerial+Shot.jpg

A recent increase in the frequency and severity of fans being injured at Major League Baseball games is leading to immediate changes at ballparks across the country, including San Diego’s Petco Park.

Early in the 2015 season fans in at least six different stadiums were injured by balls or bats flying in to the stands. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who was the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in California in July, toured all 30 MLB stadiums to see how fan safety can be improved.

To Manfred’s credit, he acted quickly and came up with three guidelines that so far have been enthusiastically received by the 30 MLB clubs:

• Clubs are encouraged to implement or maintain netting (or another effective protective screen or barrier of their choosing) that shields from line-drive foul balls all field-level seats that are located between the near ends of both dugouts (i.e., the ends of the dugouts located closest to home plate, inclusive of any adjacent camera wells) and within 70 feet of home plate.

• Although Clubs already provide warnings to fans about the dangers posed by batted balls and bats entering the stands and the need to pay attention to the action on the field during each at-bat, the Commissioner's Office recommends that Clubs continue to explore ways to educate their fans on these issues and is providing Clubs with resources to assist them in this area.

• The Commissioner's Office will be working with the Clubs and online ticketing sellers to identify ways to provide customers with additional information at the point of sale about which seats are (and are not) behind netting.

The Padres already had plans to not only extend the netting at Petco Park, but to change it out for a new product manufactured by Promats Athletics that is designed to keep the safety standards necessary to protect fans while minimizing the appearance of the net so it does not impede the view. The Padres will be extending the netting to meet MLB’s new suggestions.

“This recommendation attempts to balance the need for an adequate number of seating options with our desire to preserve the interactive pre-game and in-game fan experience that often centers around the dugouts, where fans can catch foul balls, see their favorite players up close and, if they are lucky, catch a tossed ball or other souvenir,” said Manfred in a statement.

While the new netting is a step in the right direction MLB still encourages fans sitting close to the action to make sure they’re paying attention to the action on the field at all times.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tommy John Helping Tommy John Avoid Future Tommy Johns]]> Mon, 07 Dec 2015 17:06:29 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-52184610.jpg

For baseball fans that are under the age of 35, Tommy John means a surgery that’s saved the careers of countless pitchers.

For baseball fans that go back a little further, Tommy John pitched for 26 years and won 288 Major League Baseball games with his unique left-handed delivery.

For this story, Tommy John is a new San Diego chiropractor who has a unique way of helping the human body heal itself.

Oh, and Tommy John is also a boat, so let’s start this tale there.

Dr. Tommy John III is the son of that 288-game winner and a chiropractor who was living in Chicago, looking for a place with better weather. So he came to Southern California and decided on San Diego. Any doubts about the move were erased when he was with a friend at Seaport Village.

“I’m facing Downtown, she’s facing the boats,” says Dr. John. “All of a sudden she says, ‘Oh My Gosh!’ I looked over her shoulder and there’s a boat … Tommy John. I freak out; sprint to the boat, get there and there’s a guy working on it.”

Here’s how the resulting conversation actually went:

TJ III: “Do you own this?”
Boat Guy: “No, what’s up?”
TJ III: “Well my name’s Tommy John.”
BG: “Yeah but you’re not the Dodger pitcher Tommy John.”
TJ III: “Well actually that’s my dad.”
BG: “WHAT?!?!”

The boat individual came down off the boat to shake Dr. John’s hand and share a little more information.

“Three owners ago the original builder, in 1978, was a huge Dodger fan and named it after your dad,” says John, quoting the man. “I was so moved emotionally with everything that was going on in my life, I almost threw up. If you bottled that air you could probably sell it with this story.”

It’s fitting that Tommy John III is setting up shop with a new chiropractic practice in Scripps Ranch (11633 Sorrento Valley Rd., Suite 1B). San Diego is a baseball hotbed, and his family’s name has become synonymous with baseball.

Dr. John was, like his father, a professional ballplayer. In high school he was the Minnesota State Player of the Year and attended Furman University, where he started having arm trouble, too. John III suffered a shoulder infection from a dye injection, needed a pair of surgeries and after a few years in the minor leagues he found a new calling. He’d become drawn to how the body heals itself and self-regulates.

He believes everyone’s body works and learns differently and tries to approach medical care that way.

“I can’t force that in,” says Dr. John. “A measurement on one person is not a measurement on somebody else. My role is removing some stuff and then just kind of stepping to the side and you do all the cool stuff. Just like Dr. Jobe did (the surgery) to my dad and then just said TJ, go ahead and then TJ had to figure it out.”

Dr. Frank Jobe is the man who first performed a reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament using the Palmaris longs tendon. Since that does not exactly roll off the tongue and the man who was willing to be his first subject was Tommy John, the name stuck. But there was no rehabilitation program for something like this so TJ had to come up with something on his own.

What he figured out was a workout program that included 2500 repetitions of certain shoulder exercises every day. What most people don’t know is before the ligament snapped Tommy John had 10 years of elbow pain, enduring 40 cortisone shots, before his arm finally gave in.

So now here comes Tommy’s son specializing in soft tissue injuries but that really is a coincidence.

“I wasn’t led by (what my father went through). I was just around it and all of a sudden things started to attract me.”

Both Tommys now have a common goal: keeping as many young players from the procedure as possible. Over the last four years there have been 129 players who had the procedure done. Over the first 25 years of the operation’s existence there were 131 players who had it done. The Johns think they know the root of the problem.

“These big leaguers that are getting injured never had the childhood development that they were supposed to have like the ones of 30 years ago,” says Dr. John. His legendary dad agrees.

“You can throw when it’s baseball season,” says Tommy John the 288-game winner. “But right now it’s not baseball season, it’s football season. Play football, play soccer, play basketball. These kids are getting injured because they throw 12 months a year and your arm’s not made for that.”

The proliferation of travel ball teams and a Major League premium on velocity have kids trying to throw harder and longer than ever before. World-renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who has worked on MLB All-Stars and NFL Pro Bowlers, has even performed the UCL reconstruction on elementary school kids that have already blown out their elbows.

“The big leaguers are going to be big leaguers no matter what,” says Dr. John. “If they’re in a cave they’re going to be a big leaguer. It doesn’t matter because that level is so high. When they get injured, though, that’s when we need to figure out what they missed in their childhood development. Now they’re back at that infantile state and they have to earn coming back. And that’s why we’re seeing Tommy John two and three times on people.”

Unless something changes, and fast, the number of players at the youth, high school and professional levels will continue to rise.

“It’s only going to get crazier and much worse,” says Dr. John. “The rates are going to be freakish whether you control pitch counts, whether you go to a six-man rotation, all those efforts like symptom chasing, stretch this is like trying to change the weather to prevent frostbite instead of putting on a coat and gloves.”

Tommy John the 26-year big leaguer sees the massive paydays of today’s elite players and fears parents may be feeding the problem by looking at their kids with dollar signs in their eyes.

“They think that their little Johnny is going to be the next Zack Greinke or David Price or Clayton Kershaw but if you look at the numbers there are roughly 3-million kids that play little league baseball worldwide and in the Major Leagues there are only 750 players. Does that mean you don’t play? No, you play. But you’ve got to know when you’ve reached your limit. The parents see this and they think their kid is going to be the next $200 million pitcher and it’s the farthest thing from the truth.”

The elder Tommy now lives in Palm Springs, not a long drive from his son’s practice in Scripps Ranch. He was pitching for the Dodgers when he had his procedure. His son was born in Fullerton. So it seems all too fitting that they’ve returned to Southern California to leave a mark on the baseball community. This time, though, they’re determined to make sure it’s not a surgery scar.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Bill Walton Reacts to His Basketball Festival]]> Fri, 04 Dec 2015 22:23:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Bill_Walton_Talks_About_the_Basketball_Festival_1200x675_579952195859.jpg

This week has seen a fantastic event at Petco Park: The Bill Walton Basketball Festival. It started on Monday with high school games and concludes Sunday afternoon with the Aztecs and Toreros playing for the City Championship.

On Friday Bill Walton himself shared his thoughts on the festivities, the first basketball games ever played inside the Padres' jewel of a Downtown ballpark. As you'd imagine, the NBA Hall of Famer and San Diego native is excited for this veritable Hoop-a-palooza.

I can listen to this man talk forever. When you hear his enthusiasm, you'll understand why.

<![CDATA[Former Padres Manager Gets a New Job]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 17:27:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/Bud+Black+padres+Portrait.jpg

After getting, then turning down, the manager's job for the Washington Nationals former Padres skipper Bud Black is heading back to Southern California.

But, he's not taking over the Dodgers manager's spot, as has been widely speculated (more on that in a second). Black is reportedly going back to Anaheim in a front office role, likely as special assistant to the general manager.

Buddy was pitching coach for the Angels before being named the Padres manager prior to the 2007 season. He spent all his time in Anaheim under Mike Scioscia, who is still the manager there. A few weeks ago Black won over the Nationals but could not come to an agreement on a contract so Washington hired Dusty Baker to be their new skipper.

Black had then been linked to the Dodgers but L.A. seems to be more interested in a different member of the Padres' coaching staff. Word is Dave Roberts is one of two finalists for the Dodgers managerial spot. Roberts, a Rancho Buena Vista High School alum, worked on Black's staff in San Diego from 2010 through last season, first as the first base coach then as a bench coach.

The other finalist for the Dodgers job is Gabe Kapler, currently L.A.'s farm director. Interestingly, Roberts and Kapler were teammates in Boston in 2004, the year the Red Sox ended their 86-year World Series frustration.

Even if he does not earn the Dodgers job Roberts will not return to San Diego. New Padres manager Andy Green retained pitching coach Daren Balsley and third base coach Glenn Hoffman but is getting new faces to fill out his staff. Green and General Manager A.J. Preller have already added Alan Zinter, former hitting coach with the Diamondbacks and Astros, as their new hitting guru. Green is still looking for his bench coaches.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Closer in 5-Player Deal]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 18:51:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Craig+Kimbrel+Padres.jpg

The “Rock Star GM” is at it again.

If anyone was wondering if Padres General Manager A.J. Preller would be timid after last year’s whirlwind of activity failed on the field, the answer is an emphatic NO.

On Friday Preller pulled off a trade with the Red Sox, sending All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel to Boston for a package of four prospects: Logan Allen, Carlos Asuaje, Javier Guerra and Manuel Margot (more on them in a second).

The 27-year-old Kimbrel spent just one season in San Diego, going 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 39 saves in 43 chances. Kimbrel came over from the Braves (along with OF Melvin Upton Jr.) just before Opening Day of the 2015 season. In that deal the Padres gave up a pair of prospects and a draft pick, but the return for Kimbrel now might be better than what they surrendered to get him.

“If he came here and performed like he’s really always performed,” said Preller, “if we got to a point in the next few years that we wanted to turn the asset around we were going to be able to recoup a lot of value and put the organization in a better spot.”

So, let’s get to know the new guys with a little scouting report sprinkled in:

Logan Allen, LHP

18-year-old lefty out of IMG Academy, selected in the eighth, 231st overall in the 2015 Draft.  LHP fastball sits in low-90’s. Velocity has greatly improved over last year. Throws a change up and two different breaking balls.

Carlos Asuaje, IF

24-year-old from Venezuela, bats left throws right. Undersized, small, athletic frame. Short, compact swing. Excellent bat control with a knack for making contact. Makes pitchers work. Below-average power potential; plays best at second base, fringe-average arm strength. Soft hands, great instincts, has versatility and is being developed as a true utility player. Lacks standout tools but profiles as a bench utility player. Strong instincts (basically sounds a lot like David Eckstein)

Javier Guerra, IF

20-year-old from Panama. Slightly undersized (5’11”) but athletic, quick twitch athlete. Short, compact, line drive swing. Good bat control. Propensity for swing and miss, more gap power with plenty of doubles. Plus arm strength, quick release, able to make any throw from SS. Below-average run speed. Won’t be an impact bat but will more than make up for it with plus-to-elite defensive profile (perhaps an Andrelton Simmons-style player).

Manuel Margot, OF

21-year-old from Dominican Republic. Ranked as the 25th-best prospect in all of professional baseball by www.mlb.com. Medium frame with fast-twitch muscle and above-average athleticism. Fluid swing, quick hands, smooth load with little wasted movement. Plus bat speed, natural bat-to-ball skills. Presently a line-drive hitter with surprising polish to approach. Shows willingness to see pitches but likes to attack early in the count. Surprising power for size, average arm strength, quick release, plenty of arm strength for center field. Reads ball off bat well in center, shows understanding of how to take precise routes. Plus-plus speed, gets out of box quickly. Needs to improve reads when stealing bases. Potential for 30-plus bases at big leagues. Had a streak of 62 at-bats without a strike out to start 2015 season.

None of these four players have advanced beyond Double-A yet. The question now is what happens to the Padres bullpen in 2016?

The setup man (Joaquin Benoit) and the closer were dealt in back-to-back days, so there’s a big opening on the back end in San Diego. Preller said there will be a process of finding the man who can carry of the Padres tradition of dominant closers, mentioning Brandon Maurer, Kevin Quackenbush and Marcos Mateo as possibilities by name.

A.J. also said the extra financial flexibility (trading Benoit and Kimbrel freed up nearly $19 million in salary for 2016) gives the Padres the option of going out of the open market to find a free agent closer, or possibly strengthen the franchise’s infrastructure.

“Whether it’s programs, scouting front, amateur market, international market, I think we’re going to look at all those avenues as ways to be a championship team,” said Preller. “I think this gives us some flexibility financially to move some money around and really invest in certain areas and I’m definitely looking forward to going about that.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres, Yankees Make a Deal]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 17:38:00 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-479472456.jpg

The Padres need all kinds of help on their infield. At the end of the 2015 season they did not have an established, every day starter at any of the four infield spots.

Plus, there’s a real debate on who should be starting behind the plate; Derek Norris or Austin Hedges? So Padres General Manager A.J. Preller has lots of questions.

Might Jose Pirela be one of the answers?

The Padres swung a trade with the Yankees to land Pirela on Wednesday. The 25-year-old native of Venezuela played in 37 games for the Yankees last year, hitting .230 with a home run and five RBI. He earned a call-up with a solid run at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit .310 with three home runs, 23 RBI and 42 runs scored in 64 games. Most of his time was spent at 2nd base but he also plays 3rd base, shortstop and both outfield spots.

Pirela has been in the Yankees system since signing as a 16-year-old back in 2006. In nine minor league seasons he’s played in a whopping 860 games and actually made an appearance at every spot on the field except pitcher and catcher. That either means he’s versatile or doesn’t have a natural position.

To get Pirela the Padres had to give up Ronald Herrera, a 20-year-old pitcher who went a combined 8-7 with a 4.08 ERA, 104 strikeouts and 42 walks over 26 games (25 starts) between Single-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. Another Venezuelan, the Padres acquired Herrera in 2014 as the “player to be named” in the Kyle Blanks trade.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Padres Pitcher Ian Kennedy Can Make MLB History]]> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 21:03:52 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Ian+Kennedy+Padres+Delivery.jpg

The Padres offered outfielder Justin Upton a qualifying offer on Friday. That comes as no surprise.

When Upton inevitably rejects the one-year, $15.8 million offer the Friars will have a chance to negotiate a long-term deal with him, but so will every other big league team. So odds are the Padres will be getting a compensatory 1st-round draft pick for their All-Star left-fielder.

However, Upton is not the only one to whom the Padres extended a deal. Starting Pitcher Ian Kennedy was also given the qualifying offer, creating quite the interesting situation.

Kennedy is coming off a year where he started terrible, then got pretty darn good, then fell off again. He finished giving up more than four runs a game with a 9-15 record, not exactly the kind of numbers that typically get you nearly $16 million bucks a season.

With names like Zack Greinke, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann on the market it’s likely Kennedy will not be the first choice of most teams in free agency, so he’ll seriously consider the offer and hope to have a great season to build value working into next year’s off-season. If he rejects it, then Ian enters the free agent waters hoping for a multi-year deal on the open market with no guarantees the total value reaches that level.

Qualifying offers are almost never accepted. Actually, that is not correct. They are never accepted. No player has ever signed a qualifying offer sheet. This year a record 20 players were extended qualifying offers, and all of them are expected to say thanks, but no thanks … except Kennedy. Several factors come into play here.

If a player who received a qualifying offer chooses to sign elsewhere, their former teams get a compensatory pick in this year’s MLB Draft, which is one reason the Padres would extend the offer. In addition, the team that signs the player has to give up a Draft pick as compensation. So ask yourself this … is Ian Kennedy, a pitcher at Petco Park who had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of a paltry 0.8 in 2015, really worth a long-term deal in the $20 million range PLUS a draft pick?

Most likely not, so it’s going to be tough for Ian to get a big pay day outside of San Diego which makes the guaranteed $15.8 million awfully enticing. Keep in mind, Kennedy’s agent is Scott Boras so odds are he’ll take the free agent route.

All the players who received a qualifying offer have until November 13 to make a decision. Let the Hot Stove season begin!

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Should Let Upton Walk]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 22:20:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Justin+Upton+Padres+On+deck+circle.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson takes a look at one of the Padres’ biggest off-season questions in this commentary

What should the Padres do about Justin Upton?

Depending on which baseball evaluator you talk to, Justin Upton is either an elite talent who’s on the brink of a breakout season or an elite talent who’s never going to fully live up to his potential. He’s either about to blossom in to a perennial a 40-homer-a-year guy or an over-swinger who strikes out too much and gives away at-bats.

So … What should the Padres do about Justin Upton?

He’s either a 28-year-old with solid numbers and all five tools or a guy who’s been in the league for nine years and lacked consistency. He’s either a middle-of-the-order masher who you can build a lineup around or a complimentary bat you need to pair with another, more dangerous hitter to be truly successful.

I ask again … What should the Padres do about Justin Upton?

I’ll tell you what they should not do. They should not give him the kind of contract he’s going to get on the open market and that kind of narrows things down a bit. Most industry experts agree Justin Upton will command somewhere around $125-$150 million over six or seven years as a free agent.

That’s some serious cash and the Padres lineup certainly will lose some of its pop if he’s gone (of course, that’s not saying all that much on one of the most listless offenses in the game). But MLB history tells us signing an outfielder to a 9-figure deal is a recipe for disaster.

As we enter the free agency period there are 10 outfielders who have contracts worth at least $100 million:

1)    Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) $325 million
2)    Matt Kemp (SD) $160 million
3)    Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) $153 million
4)    Mike Trout (LAA) $144.5 million
5)    Carl Crawford (LAD) $142 million
6)    Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) $130 million
7)    Jayson Werth (WAS) $126 million
8)    Josh Hamilton (TEX via LAA) $125 million
9)    Matt Holliday (STL) $120 million
10)    Ryan Braun (MIL) $105 million

Trout might be a bargain at his price. He’s the most exciting young talent in baseball. I could make an argument that Stanton is worth his deal because he has the potential to hit 60 homers every year and it’s hard to put a price on putting rear ends in seats (what else do Marlins fans have to watch?). So let’s throw those two guys out and focus on the other eight.

Choo had a solid season and Braun was alright, but certainly not commensurate with their bloated paychecks. The other guys were flat-out stealing money.

The eight players on that list not named Stanton or Trout combined for a WAR (wins above replacement) of 8.8. Trout alone had a WAR of 9.0. Would you like to know how much MLB teams paid for those 8.8 wins?

Just last year alone the Padres, Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, Nationals, Cardinals and Brewers paid a grand total of $128,642,857 for 8.8 more wins than random dudes most likely making the league minimum would have brought them. That’s $3,267,517 more than the Royals paid their entire roster to win the World Series.

That circles us back to Justin Upton. Baseball economics dictate he’ll get a big payday. The Padres are going to make him the qualifying offer of around $15.8 million, which they have to do by Friday November 6 and is really a no-brainer. If he shocks the world and accepts it San Diego gets him for another year at a decent price. If he doesn’t and signs elsewhere the Friars end up with a high-quality compensatory draft pick.

But the second the negotiation heads north of nine digits General Manager A.J. Preller needs to say, “Thanks but no thanks. We appreciate your hard work. Good luck on the remainder of your career.” It’s crazy to think but San Diego probably could afford that kind of deal and Ron Fowler’s ownership group has shown the desire to raise payroll in an attempt to win. As much fun as it is to watch Upton hit, the Friars should let him walk away.

Upton might hit 40 homers and drive in 130 runs in 2016. He certainly has that kind of potential. However, the Padres need to play the percentages on this one and look somewhere else for a left fielder. Upton might be the guy who puts a contender over the top but the Padres have too many holes to fill to be in that class.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Going Green: Padres Introduce New Manager]]> Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:50:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Andy+Green+1029.jpg

The San Diego Padres are going green - with a new energetic, young manager.

Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller introduced 38-year-old Andy Green as the team's new manager in a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Green served as the Arizona Diamondbacks' third base coach this past season and will be a 1st-time MLB manager.

The 38-year-old has spent a dozen years with the Diamondbacks' franchise.  Prior to serving as the club's third-base coach, he held manager jobs with the franchise's minor league teams for 4 years where his squads collectively finished 30 games over .500.

Green helped the Missoula Osprey win the 2012 Pioneer League Championship and was named the Manager of the Year twice at Double-A Mobile in 2013 and 2014.

As a player, Green was with the Diamondbacks from 2000 to 2006, the Cincinnati Reds in 2008 and the New York Mets from 2008 to 2010.

“Andy has the combination of intelligence and feel for the game that we are looking for to lead this team,” Preller said in a statement. “As a player, he displayed a strong work ethic and even stronger passion, earning everything he achieved."

Green takes over a team that underachieved in 2015 despite Preller's offseason roster makeover.

Even with all of the big name off-season signings, the Padres took a step backwards and finished a disappointing 74-88. San Diego has suffered through five straight losing seasons and last made the playoffs 9 years ago - in 2006.

In early October the club announced interim manager Pat Murphy would not be brought back in the same capacity with the club next season.

Murphy took over after Bud Black was fired in mid-June. The Washington Nationals plan to introduce Black as their next manager after the World Series comes to a close.

Photo Credit: Ben Rosehart/ NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[The Padres Should Vote No on Nevin]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:53:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-50919308.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson offers some advice to the Padres as they look for a new manager in this commentary

The Padres are piecing together their list of managerial candidates. General Manager A.J. Preller hinted that he was going to look in a lot of different places and not rule anybody out based on background or experience level.

So let me do that for him.

One name that keeps on coming up is Phil Nevin. It has not come up from the Padres front office but it sure as heck has been a popular go-to suggestion for the Friar Faithful.

Nevin was an All-Star for the Padres as a player in 2001 when he hit 41 home runs. He played seven of his 12 MLB seasons in San Diego (Nevin also had stops in Detroit, Texas, Minnesota, Anaheim, Houston and the north side of Chicago) with manager Bruce Bochy so he saw first-hand what a great manager does.

Two years after retiring Nevin started managing in the independent Golden Baseball League with the Orange County Flyers. It only took him one year to join the Tigers organization, managing their Class AA and AAA affiliates. Nevin spent the last two years at the helm of the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Diamondbacks.

Nevin only has one winning record in his seven years as a manager (2014) but he has a pretty good guy in his corner.

“He’s drawing a lot of attention because he’s rock solid,” Hall of Famer manager Tony LaRussa, the Diamondbacks’ Chief Baseball Officer, told the Arizona Republic. “He’s got a great background as a player, manager, infield, hitter and a leader. Triple-A is a tough place to manage. He was understanding and nurturing of the young guys but also had the respect of the veterans. He’s smart and has a good out-going personality that attracts people. And he runs a hell of a game.”

If Tony LaRussa vouches for you, people will listen. Nevin has already interviewed for the Marlins managerial job and he’s on the Nationals wish list. If Phil does get a MLB manager’s spot, more power to him. I’m rooting for him to do it.

I just hope it’s not in San Diego.

Maybe it’s because I saw how irascible he could be as a player and that’s poisoning my opinion. Maybe it’s because of that combined 54 games under .500 as a minor league manager, something that can be more a product of an organization’s lack of depth than a manager’s ability. Maybe it’s because I still don’t trust Tony LaRussa as far as I can spit a sunflower seed.

But the most likely reason is … it just doesn’t feel right.

Nevin could be the next Casey Stengel, I have no idea. I’m sure there are a lot of Padres fans who would love to get a guy in who might serve as a bridge to Bochy and his success. But for an organization that has veteran players entrenched for a few years a rookie MLB manager with a spotty minor league record and a nondescript playing career seems like an awfully big gamble.

Matt Kemp, James Shields, Melvin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Derek Norris … these are all guys who have established themselves in the game and probably aren’t going to listen to just anybody. If you’re going to go with a first time manager a guy like Jason Varitek makes a whole lot more sense. Varitek was the glue for a pair of World Series champions and one of the most respected players in the game. Just about anybody will bend to his will.

Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire won six division titles in a nine year span with Minnesota. He would be a guy who commands respect in the clubhouse.

The Padres need somebody with name recognition. Phil Nevin certainly has name recognition … with the fan base. The Friars need someone the guys in the clubhouse will get excited about before they ever even meet him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Announce Search For New Manager]]> Sun, 04 Oct 2015 17:04:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-488255468.jpg

Shortly after the Padres were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers to end their season, the club announced interim manager Pat Murphy would not be brought back in the same capacity with the club next season.

A.J. Preller, San Diego Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager announced at the same time that the Padres will begin searching for a new manager immediately.

Despite all the big name offseason signings, the Padres finished a disappointing 74-88 missing the playoffs.

In the regular season finale, San Diego fell 6-3 to the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.  The Padres dropped 6 of their final 7 games to close out the year.

Clayton Kershaw struck out his 300th batter of the season in his final tuneup before the playoffs. He sat down 7 Friars in 3.2 innings of work to finish the year with 301 total strikeouts.

Kershaw is the 1st MLB pitcher to reach 300 Ks since 2002 and joins Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling as the only three men to do so since 2000.

As for the Friars, Rookie outfielder Travis Jankowski provided all the offense with one swing of the bat. His 3-run homer in the 7th was his 3rd of the year since getting called up from Triple-A El Paso.

San Diego's Frank Garces gave up 2 runs in 2 innings of work in his first major league start. The Padres used a plethora of relievers to further evaluate their roles in the future.

Injured Padres Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton did not play in the regular season finale. 

Upton is a free agent along with starting pitcher Ian Kennedy who pitched well in his final appearance earlier this week.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose 2-1]]> Sat, 03 Oct 2015 21:17:18 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-491065174.jpg

In a game where the Padres were playing for nothing but respect and a love of the game while the Dodgers were playing for home field advantage in the playoffs, the advantage went to the team that needed the win.

Zach Greinke allowed one run on four hits over eight innings for the Dodgers to earn the National League ERA title. His offense helped with a Justin Turner solo home run in the first inning and an Adrian Gonzalez RBI ground out in the fourth to give them a 2-0 lead.
The Padres cut the Dodgers lead in half in the fifth when Austin Hedges hit his third home run of the season making it 2-1 L.A. But they couldn’t capitalize in the ninth. Jedd Gyorko singled and Kenley Jansen hit Brett Wallace to put the go-ahead run on, but Alexi Amarista and Hedges both had fly outs to preserve the Dodgers win.
With the New York Mets getting swept by the Nationals in a doubleheader, L.A. is ensured home field advantage for the Division Series.
Frank Garces (0-0, 5.00 ERA) is on the mound to prevent the sweep for the Padres tomorrow against Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.16 ERA). First pitch is at 12:10 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Drop Another One in L.A.]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 21:48:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-491065174.jpg

The Padres started the 2015 season at Dodger Stadium with hope, hype and high expectations. They're finishing the 2015 season at Dodger Stadium with agony, anguish and angst.

Somewhere in between ... the truth lies.

The Dodgers won 6-2 in the first game of their season-ending 3-game series against the Padres. Well, season-ending for San Diego. Los Angeles is going to the playoffs for the third straight year. San Diego will finish with a losing record for the fifth straight year.

Padres starter Casey Kelly had a rough 3rd inning. After Adrian Gonzalez singled home a run to put the Dodgers up 1-0, Kelly got Justin Turner to hit a check-swing grounder to Cory Spangenberg at second base. The rookie tried a backhand flip to start a double play but the ball got away from him and floated in to left field.

The error let one run score and Kelly couldn't overcome it. The Dodgers scored five times in the inning and, given the fact the Padres have failed to score five runs in a game in more than a week, the game was pretty much already over.

Padres 1st baseman Cody Decker, who has become a fan favorite, drove in his first Big League run with a sacrifice fly in the 7th inning.

The Dodgers are 5-12 against the Padres this year. L.A. has won every series they've played and with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw going the next two games it's a good bet that trend will not change over the weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[For Padres, the Scoreboard Says it All]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 05:47:07 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-490766822.jpg

I really hope the Padres are shut out at least one more time in their last four games of the 2015 season. Finishing the year with 19 shutouts just seems sick and wrong.

That number means far too much to have it in any way associated with this level of ineptitude. The Friars were blanked again on Wednesday night, losing to the Brewers 5-0 in the next-to-last game of the year at Petco Park.

Milwaukee rookie Zach Davies gave up five hits and struck out six in his 7.0 innings of work. For the Padres is was just more of the same stuff we've grown aggravatingly accustomed to. They went 0-6 with runners in scoring position, squandering what few opportunities they had to push runs across.

As if the final score was not nauseating enough left fielder Justin Upton might not play again this year (or for the Padres ever again). The team's home run leader ran headfirst in to the left field wall chasing a triple by Logan Schafer. He needed help to make the walk from the warning track to the clubhouse.

If Upton is not available for the series finale against the Brewers or any of the final three games at Dodger Stadium he becomes a free agent and could very well be too pricey for the Padres to bring back.

The last home game of the year starts at 3:40 Thursday afternoon. Ian Kennedy takes the mound in what might also be his final appearance in a Padres uniform against Taylor Jungmann.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Make Broadcasting Changes]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:45:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/196*120/Don+Orsillo+Red+Sox.jpg

Changes are coming to the Padres broadcast teams. Hall of Fame announcer Dick Enberg will retire at the end of the 2016 season. The team has already found his replacement, and it is a good one.

Former Red Sox play-by-play man Don Orsillo will be joining the group on a limited basis next year before taking over full-time in 2017. Orsillo is a fan-favorite and one of the most popular broadcasters in Boston history. After 15 years in the booth for the Red Sox, the team surprisingly decided not to bring him back.

That upset the Beantown fan base and that is not the group of people you want to get mad at you. Sox fans got more than 60,000 signatures on a petition to keep Orsillo around after NESN made the news public.

Orsillo’s personality should go well with Padres color analyst Mark Grant, who will return for his 21st season on San Diego broadcasts.

“We are excited to add Don to our broadcast lineup,” said Padres President and CEO Mike Dee. “Over his 15 years broadcasting Major League Baseball, Don has established himself as one of the premier play-by-play men in the game. We look forward to both his fun-loving personality and outstanding play-calling ability resonating with Padres fans during what we expect will be a very long career in San Diego.”

There will also be a change in the radio booth. While Ted Leitner returns for his 37th season calling Padres games, his partner Bob Scanlan will not return in 2016. Scanlan, one of the most well-liked members of the Padres broadcast team, will be replaced by Jesse Agler, who moves over from hosting Padres Social Hour on FOX Sports San Diego.

Agler has filled in on TV and radio broadcasts in a play-by-play capacity. The Padres don't see the radio side having a true "color analyst," instead envisioning Leitner and Agler together co-playing the role of play-by-play and color commentator.

Eduardo Ortega, celebrating his 30th season as the Spanish-language voice of the Padres in 2016, will return to the booth for an expanded schedule of Spanish-language telecasts on FOX Deportes San Diego. He will be joined once again by former Padres catcher Carlos Hernández in the role of color analyst.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Fall 6-3 to DBacks]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 21:43:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-490060342.jpg

Padres right-hander Casey Kelly made his first major league start in three years Friday night at Petco Park against the Diamondbacks. After a rough start, Kelly calmed down but it was too late for the Padres.

Kelly struggled early giving up two runs in the first inning. The big hit was a second inning grand slam off the bat of Arizona’s A.J. Pollock to make it 6-0. But Kelly settled down retiring the next 11 hitters. He went five innings giving up six earned runs walking one.
The Padres got on the board in the fourth when Matt Kemp scored on a Jedd Gyorko ground out. Wil Myers added another run in the fifth with an RBI single and Alexi Amarista made it exciting cutting the Diamondbacks lead to 6-3 the next inning with an RBI single of his own.
But the Friars couldn’t complete the comeback dropping them to 72-82 on the season. Game two is tomorrow at 5:40 p.m. local time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why Should Anyone Watch the Padres This Weekend?]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 13:07:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Alexi+Amarista+Walkoff+Winner.jpg

The twilight of the Padres 2015 season is upon us as the Friars host their final weekend home series. With the team eliminated from the playoffs, or hopes of a winning season, people are asking why they should go to a game. Well here is a list of reasons San Diegans should head to Petco Park this weekend to support the Friars during their final weekend home series of the year against Arizona.
1.)  We’re lucky to even have a Major League Baseball team to be disappointed in. Only 28 cities in the U.S. and Canada are lucky enough to host at least one of the 30 MLB teams. Think about all those other cities that don’t have a team to vent their frustrations at?

2.)   Petco Park is gorgeous. From the views of the bay to the cityscape visible behind the Park at the Park, there isn’t a bad view in the house (except that eyesore of the National University sign). Plus there are plenty of food and drink options. My only gripe is that you can’t get a bucket of multi-colored cotton candy anywhere on the Upper Deck. I’ve been a season ticket holder for years and can’t find one.

3.)  Local guys are living their childhood dreams of playing for their hometown team and that’s just awesome. Relief pitcher Nick Vincent was born and raised in Ramona (Well born in Poway since we don’t have hospitals in Ramona but you get the idea). When he made his MLB debut in 2012 he became the first kid from our little town to make it to the big leagues. He’s worked hard to get where he’s at and since baseball is a business, who knows how long we can call him a hometown Padre before he gets sent somewhere else. Alex Dickerson is another local product. The Poway native got his first call up this year. You, your kids or your grand kids could’ve stood behind these guys in line somewhere in San Diego over the years and now they’re playing for the Padres, how cool is that?

4.)  Jon Edwards. The 27-year old relief pitcher battled cancer…this past December. Edwards was diagnosed with testicular cancer the week before Christmas. He had surgery days later, found out the cancer hadn’t spread and was back throwing after 3 weeks. Edwards and his wife Katelyn are expecting their first child in early November.

5.)  You could witness first hand, Cody Decker history. Every diehard Padres fan knows Decker’s story. After seven seasons in the minor leagues, Decker finally got his first Major League call up in September. He’s seen game action but has yet to get his first Major League hit. When he does, you know his teammates and fans will make it a big deal. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be part of Decker history?

6.)  Promotions-If you still need encouragement to make it to Petco Park this weekend, how about some festivities to lure you (free stuff!)?

FRIDAY - Fiesta in the Park before the game. The party starts at 4:30 (game at 7:10) and includes beer, wine, food, Mariachi and Folklorico dancers as well as a Selena tribute band, Como La Flor. Fill the ballpark and cheer for your Padres and you know they’ll be dreaming of you tonight.
SATURDAY - Star Wars Night! Count on Jedd(i) Gyorko to have a big night. The Padres encourage people to come dressed in costume so the people watching will be great. It’s also Team Photo Day so you can remember who played for the Padres in 2015 before they get traded away in 2016. I kid…kind of.
SUNDAY - There’s nothing better than a Padres Sunday home game when they salute the military and wear their camo jerseys. This Sunday is also Compadres Kids Sunday Signings where kids get the opportunity to meet the players.

7.)  You never know what’s going to happen. This season Matt Kemp became the first Padres to hit for the cycle. We’re still waiting on a no-hitter or perfect game. Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin and James Shields are scheduled to start for the Padres, maybe one of them will have a historic day? You never know.

8.)  The Padres have no plans to leave San Diego. While the Chargers brass continues to threaten moving the team to Los Angeles, the Padres have always taken pride in being in San Diego. They’re active year in and year out in the community and only ask for our support in return.
I could go on and on but at the end of the day, you should just want to support your team. I get that it might be too expensive for some or others may live too far away. But if you have the opportunity to get to Petco Park this weekend (or for the final home series Tuesday-Thursday), go. Support your Padres and have a blast while doing it.

Hey, maybe we can get Pope Francis’ attention and have him bless the franchise for next season. The Friars have got to be his favorite team, right?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Gives Birth to Petco Park's First Baby]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 14:54:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Petco-Park-Generic-Garske.jpg

Now this is a true love of the game.

A woman gave birth at Petco Park in downtown San Diego Thursday night around the third inning of the Padres vs. San Francisco Giants game.

The baby boy, named Levi, is the first to be born at the stadium, Petco Park officials confirmed via social media.

The very pregnant fan, who apparently did not have time to reach a hospital, had her son on a bench in the park's Palm Court Plaza. Some fans reported an off-duty nurse who happened to be at the ballpark helped deliver the baby.

The Padres rallied for the little guy, pulling off a 5-4 win in the 9th over the Giants -- an extra treat, provided his parents are San Diego fans.

The birth was announced over the loudspeaker at the ballpark to a roar of cheers from fans.

The newborn news surprised and entertained those in the stands and outside of the stadium. Many took to Twitter to talk about the ballpark birth.

“It was amazing, so amazing. It was beautiful. Go Padres!” an excited fan told NBC 7 after the game.

"He's a future Padre!" another man said.

“We were just sitting in our seats and one of our friends came back and said, ‘A baby is being born,’ and that it happened very fast and people were holding tarps around [the mother],” another Padres fan in attendance explained.

A trio of young Padres fans said the news of the baby boy being born at the ballpark was very cool.

“I’ve heard about babies being born on airplanes, but never at a ballpark,” one of the boys told NBC 7. “You’re legendary if you’re born at a ballpark.”

The enthusiastic young fans said they have big expectations for the little slugger.

“He’s legendary! He’s going to be a ball player,” said another boy.

Padres outfielder Travis Jankowski – who scored the game winning run Thursday night – was also happy to hear about the baby’s birth at Petco Park.

“Two pretty cool things that happened in one night,” Jankowski told NBC 7. “That guy might be our good luck charm. We gotta get him season tickets.”

The player said the baby is an honorary, mini member of the team now.

“That’s awesome. He’s a Padre!” Jankoswki added.

A security guard at the ballpark told NBC 7 the baby was due Friday, so the mother nearly hit a home run with the accuracy of her due date.

The San Diego Padres gave a shoutout to the newborn on the team's Twitter feed after the game, posting: "Great crowd of 31,137 were here tonight -- of course that doesn't include the baby boy that was born @PetcoPark around the third inning."

Photo Credit: Monica Garske
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<![CDATA[Padres Knocked Out of the Playoffs (Again)]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2015 22:03:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-488969262.jpg

You know that scene at the end of Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader discovers Luke has a twin sister that Obi-Wan tried to hide from him and when he realizes it Vader says, “Now his failure is complete,” you remember that?

That’s kind of what happened to the Padres in Colorado on Friday night. The Friars lost to the Rockies 7-4, becoming mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. So General Manager A.J. Preller’s failure is complete.

Still, I admire him for trying. The grand off-season experiment blew up but the vast majority of Padres fans would rather flame out in spectacular fashion than go away with a whimper, something the franchise has done far too many times in the past.

On Friday starting pitcher Ian Kennedy allowed four runs (three earned) in 6.0 innings. He was down 4-1 when Wil Myers smoked a solo home run to cut the lead to 4-2 and give the Friars a chance. But San Diego gave away far too many chances, going a miserable 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

The Rockies put the game away in the bottom of the 7th with three runs off a combination of relievers Jay Jackson and Marc Rzepczynski.

The Padres absorb their 79th loss of the year, meaning they’ll have to finish the season on a 12-2 run to avoid ending a fifth straight season with a losing record. Either way I think we can expect Preller to make another series of gigantic splashes in the off-season. I don’t know about you but I’ll be cheering him on all the way.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mad Bum Shuts Out The Padres]]> Sat, 12 Sep 2015 20:49:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/Madison+Bumgarner+vs+Padres.jpg

Madison Bumgarner is one of the best pitchers in baseball. For whatever reason the man gets better as the season wears on (just ask the Royals what it's like to face Mad Bum in the fall). So when the Padres had to face the Giants lefty in September, one had a pretty good feeling things would not end well for the Friars.

But even the most ardent of Giants fans would have predicted what transpired Saturday night at AT&T Park.

Bumgarner missed a perfect game by one swing of the bat in a 9-0 San Francisco win. The reigning World Series MVP struck out nine, walked zero and allowed just one hit in his latest masterpiece. That hit came with two outs in the 8th inning off the bat of Melvin Upton Jr. (who also broke up a no-hit bid by Giants starter Chris Heston with a 6th-inning single in July).

The elder Upton might have been the most unlikely man in the building to ruin Bumgarner's bid for perfection. In his career Melvin was 0-10 with six strikeouts against him (thanks to Corey Brock @FollowThePadres for that fantastic stat).

The Giants offense gave Bumgarner plenty of room to operate. San Francisco roughed up Padres starter Ian Kennedy with four runs in the 4th inning and three more in the 5th. Kennedy was yanked with two outs in the 5th inning, making him the second straight Padres starter to get an early hook (Andrew Cashner was pulled in the 5th of Friday night's loss).

Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt both hit home runs for the Giants, who have outscored the Padres 17-1 in the first two games of the weekend series. Fallbrook High School alum Mike Leake will try to finish the sweep of his home town team on Sunday. Leake faces Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne because promising young right-hander Colin Rea, who was scheduled to take the mound, reported soreness in his elbow and forearm.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Scanlan on What Ails the Padres]]> Mon, 07 Sep 2015 18:14:22 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/163*120/GettyImages-487245056.jpg

Give the Padres credit. They lost their fourth straight game on Monday afternoon but they did it in a really interesting way.

The Rockies handed the Friars their fourth straight loss, 6-4 at Petco Park on Monday afternoon. Here are just a few of the unique things that went down:

  • Rockies pitcher Kyle Kendrick hit his first career home run, a solo blast off Padres starter Ian Kennedy.
  • As a team the Rockies struck out 16 times and still won.
  • In one stretch between the 7th and 8th innings eight consecutive batters struck out (five Rockies, three Padres)

Those are the statistical anomalies. It goes deeper than that. In the 3rd inning Daniel Descalso lofted a fly ball to right field. Matt Kemp, who had hit a 2-run home run in the first inning to tie the game at 2-2 (and extend his streak to 27 straight games reaching base), settled under it at the wall and simply dropped it. Much like Nick Vincent’s throwing error in Sunday’s game against the Dodgers it was a play that you would never expect that guy to not make.

“I’m sure it was a tougher play than what fans can see,” said Padres Manager Pat Murphy. “Things went against him after the 2-run homer that made us even but he’s done so many great things for us all year we’ve got to pick him up.”

That’s one thing the Padres have simply not been able to do this year, but as Murphy said it’s not for a lack of trying.

“I wouldn’t challenge the effort,” said Murphy. “I would never challenge the mental makeup. I think the guys are going after it.”

Had it not been for a few feet the end result may have been different. In the 6th inning Wil Myers was batting with the bases loaded when he hammered a long drive that hooked just foul down the left field line. The grand slam likely would have won the game. Myers ended up striking out.

As Murphy said, it’s one of those things that typifies the 2015 Padres season. Things just don’t seem to go their way.

“This is Major League Baseball and as I’m finding out it’s tough to win games,” said Murphy. “Every team is close. Every team can beat you.”

Over the weekend I spoke with Padres radio announcer Bob Scanlan, a walking encyclopedia of baseball knowledge. We talked about what went wrong this year and what needs to happen in the off-season to make sure we don’t see it again next year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Throw Another One Away]]> Sun, 06 Sep 2015 15:42:14 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*125/Nick+Vincent+Padres+Dodgers.jpg

“When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment ... Or the moment defines you.” – Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy

How about this for a defining moment: 7th inning, bases loaded, two outs in a 2-1 game. All you need is one out to get out of the inning and steal a little momentum back. Then a ball that rolls about 30 feet turns in to a 3-run error.

Welcome to Padres baseball, 2015.

The Friars fell to the Dodgers 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at Petco Park. That very situation played out and it did not go well for the home team. Ramona native Nick Vincent was on the mound with the bases loaded and Andre Ethier at the plate. Ethier topped a nubber up the first base line. Vincent fielded it and lobbed the ball right over the head of 6-foot, 3-inch Wil Myers at first base. By the time it was tracked down all the runners had scored, Ethier was at third base and the Dodgers had their 5-1 lead.

It’s just how things seem to go for San Diego’s professional baseball team these days. The Padres got their only run on a solo homer by Jedd Gyorko, who has gone deep three times in the last four games. The lack of anything resembling an offense once again made a loser of a starting pitcher who deserved better.

Andrew Casher allowed just two runs in 6.0 innings with five strikeouts. Of the Dodgers’ seven hits in the game only one was for extra bases (a double by Justin Turner).

Los Angeles takes three of four games in the series and is now 11-5 against the Padres this season. The teams have one more series against one another, the final three games of the season at Dodger Stadium. That should be the final series the Padres play in 2015 but the Dodgers will very likely be just setting up their starting rotation for the playoffs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Sign Practice Squad Players]]> Sun, 06 Sep 2015 12:25:09 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-484939560.jpg

The Chargers have signed seven players to their 2015 practice squad. Interestingly, each one plays a different position. The full list looks like this:

Greg Ducre, CB
Javontee Herndon, WR
Michael Huey, G
Ryan Mueller, LB
Adrian Phillips, S
Dreamius Smith, RB
Damion Square, DT

Ducre was a contender to make the 53-man roster until he suffered an injury during training camp. Herndon made a name for himself as a kickoff and punt returner, as well as showing well as a wideout.

NFL teams re allowed 10 men on their practice squads so the Bolts still have three spots available. They may be holding those for players who were released by other teams.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Shut Out Again]]> Sat, 05 Sep 2015 21:44:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*142/GettyImages-487062596.jpg

The Padres should have gone ahead and let Will Ferrell take the field again on Saturday night at Petco Park. They still would not have scored any runs but at least they would have been entertaining.

The comedian was in San Diego to host a preview of his HBO special “Ferrell Takes the Field” on the massive video screen at Petco Park. Alas, the man who helped make San Diego classy could not inspire the Padres bats to do anything against the Dodgers, leaving many Friars fans in a glass case of emotion.

Los Angeles won 2-0 despite a great start by Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, who for whatever reason cannot get a win against the Dodgers. He’s appeared in 10 games against L.A. (seven starts) and pitched to a 2.67 earned run average. That should be good enough to get you at least one win but Ross is now 0-6 against the Dodgers.

He was saddled with another “L” because Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford brought home Andre Ethier with a ground-rule double in the 4th inning and his offense could not figure out how to get anybody around the bases. The Friars had seven baserunners against L.A. lefty Alex Wood (three hits and four walks) but stranded all of them.

The one that hurt the most came in the 6th inning. Matt Kemp was on first base after a single, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Padres home run leader Justin Upton. But Kemp got picked off and the Padres never got another hit. This is the 17th time they’ve been shut out this season, a number I would have thought was illegal.

San Diego falls 12.5 games out of first place with the loss. They can still split the series with a win on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Starter Suffers Another Setback]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 21:47:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Get_To_Know_Josh_Johnson_NBC_RSH-MCDS_1200x675_409572931639.jpg

Pitcher Josh Johnson was on the mound Friday night for his first rehab assignment with the San Diego Padres high Single-A affiliate the Lake Elsinore Storm in hopes of rejoining the big league club after his second Tommy John surgery. He was scheduled to pitch one inning for the Storm during their game in Visalia followed by another inning on Monday.

But Johnson couldn’t record an out before leaving the game. The 31-year old right hander threw four pitches, giving up a single to right field before he called his coaches and trainers to the mound. Following a quick conversation, Johnson left the game heading for the clubhouse.

The San Diego Padres haven’t given any word on why Johnson left early.

Before the 2014 season, the Padres signed Johnson to an $8 million deal. He missed the entire season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery of his career that April. This season the Padres signed him to an incentive-laden $1 million deal. Setback after setback-including triceps tightness and a nerve issue in his neck-pushed Johnsons first rehab action back to Friday.

When the Padres initially signed Johnson, the plan was for him to be a top of the rotation starter. But after injuries plagued the two-time All Star, they thought moving him to the bullpen may suit him better. Plus after nearly two seasons on the disabled list, the Padres are just trying to get Johnson back on the field since he has not pitched in the major leagues since the summer of 2013.

<![CDATA[Home Run Bug Bites Padres]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:21:15 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*121/GettyImages-486618126.jpg

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing really goes exactly as you want it to? Like, you're not TOO far off but just uncomfortable enough to know what you're doing is not quite right? That's pretty much how Friday night was for the Padres.

The Friars lost to the Dodgers 8-4. Padres starting pitcher James Shields was finding either too little of the strike zone or too much of it. Shields issued six walks and gave up two home runs in his 5.0 innings of work, but still left with the game tied 3-3. Once he was gone the Padres bullpen let it slip away.

In the 6th inning Mark Rzepczynski gave up a pair of 2-run homers. First Justin Ruggiano got him, then three batters later Adrian Gonzalez rode one out. The Dodgers hit five home runs in the game.

The Padres also got all of their runs via the long ball. Matt Kemp hit a 2-run shot in the 1st inning to run his RBI total to 89. Kemp has quietly driven in the third-most runs in the National League. Jedd Gyorko and Brett Wallace added solo shots but San Diego's only other hit was a single by Yangervis Solarte.

The Padres and Dodgers play game three of their four-game set on Saturday night at Petco Park. After the game there will be a special screening of the comedy Ferrell Takes the Field on the massive left field video board. The special will air next week on HBO but since the Padres were one of the teams comedian Will Ferrell played for during Spring Training, San Diego fans with tickets to Saturday's game get to see it early.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Expand the Big League Roster]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:04:58 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/Alex+Dickerson+Padres.jpg

It's become a late-summer tradition in San Diego. As the Padres play out the string we get to see some young players who did well enough in the minor leagues to earn a MLB call-up (remember clubs are able to expand their rosters for the final month of the regular season). On Wednesday the Friars added three players to the group.

Poway native Alex Dickerson got the call to come up from Triple-A El Paso. Dickerson can play the infield and outfield. Dickerson hit .307 with 12 HR and 71 RBI this year with the Chihuahuas. The 25-year-old made his MLB debut in August, getting one hit in two at-bats before heading back down to the farm.

Catcher Rocky Gale will make his MLB debut. He was in the mix to make the Padres Opening Day roster out of Spring Training after a solid Cactus League performance. Gale batted .307 for El Paso and threw out 35% of base stealers.

Jon Edwards is heading to Petco Park. He was the "player to be named" in the trade with Texas for Will Venable. Edwards is a right-handed relief pitcher who, in 37 games at the Triple-A level this year, was extremely effective. Edwards struck out 51 hitters while walking only 11. He converted 23 of 24 save chances.

Interestingly, Edwards has only been a pitcher since 2012. He was drafted in 2006 by the Cardinals as a high school outfielder but he didn't advance beyond high-A ball. After some time in the Independent Leagues he was signed by the Rangers to start his pitching career.

The Padres now have 30 players on the roster. They race another San Diego native, Rancho Bernardo High School alum Cole Hamels, on Wednesday night when they finish their 3-game series against Texas. The Padres send Ian Kennedy to the mound.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose Game And Playoff Hopes]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 22:42:13 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*126/GettyImages-485621476.jpg

Before the Padres took off their East Coast road trip we asked a few of their players about the slim chances of making the playoffs. To a man they said they were "optimistic" they can still make a run.

I myself have been among those saying they're not out of it yet! Well after dropping two of three in Washington then losing 7-1 to the Phillies on Friday night it pains me to say the Padres are out of it.

Sure they're 9.5 games out of first place and the Dodgers have not acted like they have any interest in running off with the National League West. Mathematically the Padres are still very much alive for a post-season spot.

Realistically, however, the Friars simply don't have the horses to run to the front. There will be no late-breaking sprint to the front of the pack. After 128 games (yes I'm a slow learner) it's clear this team simply is not playoff-caliber.

Friday night the only run the Padres scored came on a solo home run by Justin Upton. The only other hit they got came on a double by Cory Spangenberg. Staring pitcher Ian Kennedy took the loss despite only allowing two runs in 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Philly did its damage with five runs against Marc Rzepczynski and Odrisamer Despaigne in a 5-run 8th inning.

The grand experiment by Padres General Manager A.J. Preller did not work out. But I will not give up hope that the fact they tried something new will lead to the right formula being assembled in San Diego soon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oldest Living Pearl Harbor Veteran Throws Out 1st Pitch]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:46:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/WW+II+Veterans+1st+Pitch.jpg

The oldest survivor of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor threw the ceremonial first pitch Sunday before the San Diego Padres game at Petco Park.

Raymond Chavez, 103, who served on the U.S. Navy coastal minesweeper USS Condor, was joined by Jack Paris, who served on the U.S. Navy battleship USS Colorado and was on it in Tokyo Bay when Japan surrendered to end World War II.

Chavez threw his pitch to reliever Kevin Quackenbush while Paris threw his to coach Dave Roberts. The crowd of more than 30,000 gave both men a standing ovation for their effort and to thank them for their service.

The Padres have a longstanding tradition of honoring the Military at home games on Sundays.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Padres 10-3, hampering their attempt to sweep their third series this season and second in a row.

<![CDATA[Cardinals Avoid San Diego Sweep]]> Sun, 23 Aug 2015 15:41:04 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-485028708.jpg

The start of the game could not have been a whole lot worse for the Padres. A walk, a throwing error, a fielding error, two singles and a triple put San Diego in an early hole and against a team like the Cardinals it’s borderline impossible to climb back out of something like that.

Padres rookie Colin Rea had his first bad outing and Cardinals ace Michael Wacha (one of their many aces) was good if not dominant in a 10-3 St. Louis win. The Cards avoided getting swept for the first time all season and snapped the Padres 5-game winning streak, in the process denying the Friars a chance to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since Bud Black was still the manager (that would be June).

In the first inning Rea walked Tommy Pham then made a pad pickoff attempt, throwing the ball up the line and letting Pham advance to third base. The rookie got Jhonny Peralta to hit a liner right at Yangervis Solarte but the 3rd baseman had the ball kick off his glove for another error that let Pham score and give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead they quickly expanded.

Jason Heyward singled then Yadier Molina singled to score Peralta. They both scored on a triple by Stephen Piscotti, running the lead to 4-0 St. Louis before the Padres ever got an at-bat. Rea was pulled after allowing five runs in 4.0 innings, takinng his first Major League loss. Piscotti added a long solo home run in the 7th and another 2-run shot in the 9th but by that point the game was already well in-hand.

Wacha threw 6.0 innings, allowed just five hits and one run while striking out three. He got his 15th win to tie Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta for the National League lead. He got himself out of a few jams and benefitted from sheer good luck. In the 6th inning, for example, Justin Upton ripped a line drive double to left but then Wacha threw his glove up to catch what looked like a Yonder Alonso single … Melvin Upton Jr. hit a rocket that was tracked down by Piscotti in left … and Austin Hedges smoked a line drive right at Pham in center. A few feet difference on any of those drives and the Padres could have made a comeback.

Padres right fielder Matt Kemp was able to add a little bit of excitement with a 2-run single in the 9th inning to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in the National League. The Padres fall to 61-63 on the season but remain 6.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West. They have Monday off to fly to Washington and start a 3-game set against the Nationals. James Shields gets the start against San Diego native Stephen Strasburg.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Keep The Good Times Rolling]]> Sat, 22 Aug 2015 22:19:55 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-484921780.jpg

This might be a bit strong, but for the moment it's accurate: The Padres have the Cardinals number.

The Friars chased their series-opening 9-3 win over St. Louis from Friday night with an 8-0 blowout on Saturday in front of 44,816 fans in the East Village. The Cardinals may have the best record in baseball but for right now they can't seem to solve a team that's a game under .500.

In fact, there is only one National League team with a winning record against the Cardinals this season and plays its home games in San Diego. The Padres are 4-2 so far, with a chance to sweep on Sunday. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy rewarded the Padres for pulling him back from the waiver wire with his best start of the season. Kennedy tossed 6.0 shutout innings, striking out a season-high 10 Cardinals hitters. Five relief pitchers threw the last three innings, adding six more punchouts. The staff had to be good because it was a close game.

Well, until the 7th inning it was a close game. That's when the Padres offense went nuts.

The inning started with San Diego up 1-0. It ended with them leading 8-0. In between they sent 12 hitters to the plate and burned through four Cardinals pitchers. Matt Kemp dealt the first blow with a line drive, bases loaded single to center to score two runs and put the Padres up 3-0. Then Justin Upton doubled to bring in two more runs. A couple of batters later Clint Barmes ripped an RBI double, followed by an Alexi Amarista RBI single. The scoring was capped by rookie Travis Jankowski's infield RBI single.

Jankowski had two more hits, becoming the third player in Padres history to have two hits in each of his first two MLB games. The others were John Sipin in 1969 and Juan Bonilla in 1981.

There was one negative in the game. Catcher Derek Norris suffered a bruised wrist when he was hit on the wrist. X-rays revealed no break but he's going to be day-to-day.

The Padres are now one game over .500 with Pat Murphy as manager. With the Dodgers losing again in Houston, the Pads are now just 6.5 games out of first place in the NL West.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win 4th Straight Game]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:12:11 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*123/GettyImages-484805036.jpg

Travis Jankowski got a lot of "firsts" out of the way early. The Padres rookie made his Big League debut on Friday night against the Cardinals (who, remember, have the best record in baseball).

On the second pitch he saw, Jankowski laced a single to center off veteran pitcher John Lackey for his first MLB hit. That not being enough, the 24-year-old outfielder followed it up with another hit in the 5th inning for his first multi-hit game. That single to left brought home Andrew Cashner to give Travis his first RBI. He then scored on a Yangervis Solarte home run for his first run.

Not a bad night in The Show, especially when it comes in a 9-3 win that just happens to be the 500th Padres victory at Petco Park. San Diego is now 500-450 in their downtown playground.

Jankowski was just one of many Padres who had a memorable night. Solarte had a pair of hits and has now homered in three straight games. If he continues to stay unseasonably warm, his new El Nino nickname just might stick (even though he's not terribly fond of it).

In the 8th inning the Padres got a couple more big blasts. Brett Wallace hit a 2-run, pinch-hit missile that flew 431 feet to right field. His shot was followed up by another 2-run homer by Matt Kemp that sent the Padres faithful home happy.

Perhaps the happiest man in the ballpark not named (or related to a) Jankowski was Cashner. The right-hander who has had all kinds of tough luck was saddled with another unearned run in the first inning after an Alexi Amarista error. It was the 22nd unearned run Cash has been saddled with this season, nearly twice as many as any other pitcher in the game.

This time, however, he got enough run support to overcome it. Cashner locked up the Cardinals offense for the next five innings, striking out eight to get the win. The Padres have won four straight games and are 8-2 in their last 10.

Plus, with the Dodgers getting no-hit by Astros starter Mike Fiers, the Padres are now just 7.5 games out of first place. I know, I know, it'll take another 10 or so straight wins to get back in to playoff contention, but stranger things have happened.

Heck, if Donald Trump can be the frontrunner in a Presidential election, ANYTHING can happen.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres To Host 1st Official "Pride Night"]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 21:41:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/IMG_3168.jpg

For years San Diego's LGBT community has supported the Padres. Now the Padres have decided to show support for the LGBT community.

On Tuesday, September 1, the Padres will host the first officially sanctioned Pride Night at Petco Park. Prior to the first pitch against the Texas Rangers the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus will sing the National Anthem, something they have not done at Petco Park in eight years.

In addition to a limited edition hat giveaway that night, $5 of every Pride Night ticket will be donated to San Diego Pride, GSDBA and San Diego Gay Men's Chorus (tickets for the event can be purchased at www.padres.com/sdpride).

Since 2007, San Diego Pride has organized the annual "Out at the Park" event (which has actually been around a lot longer that that) which draws close to 1200 fans to a Padres game and nearly 500 to a pre-game tailgate. That event has never been officially associated with the team or MLB. This new one will.

"San Diego has long bee a city that embraces its diversity," said Stephen Whitburn, executive director of San Diego Pride. "We are so pleased that the San Diego Padres are creating this opportunity to officially celebrate San Diego's LGBT community and its allies. We are looking forward to a fun night at Petco Park."

<![CDATA[Upton Jr. Finds Rebirth In San Diego]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:11:02 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/162*120/GettyImages-484440962.jpg

When the Padres made that eve of Opening Day trade with the Braves to get closer Craig Kimbrel the really big negative in the deal, even more than parting with a pitching prospect as good as Matt Wisler, was taking on the contract of Melvin Upton Jr.

A few years ago the elder Upton brother was one of the best young players in baseball. Remember this is the guy who hit 7 home runs in 16 games of the 2008 post-season, helping the Rays reach their only World Series, and he was only 23 years old at the time.

Upton had a few more productive years in Tampa before signing a big-time free agent contract with Atlanta. That’s when those proverbial wheels flew off his career.

Upton only batted .198 in two seasons with the Braves, making his 5-year, $72.25 million deal look like one of the worst in baseball history. When Upton was dealt to San Diego, he got off to another slow start. But lately, quietly, he’s been looking like the Tampa Bay version of Melvin Upton.

“I just cleaned some things up and got things where I feel pretty consistent,” said Upton after helping his new team complete a sweep of his old team.

Over the last month (going back to July 20) Melvin Upton Jr. has put up a .281 batting average while slugging a robust .484. Those are interesting increases for a guy who’s coming to a ballpark not exactly know for offensive excellence. So … what’s gotten in to Melvin?

“Just seeing the ball better,” says Upton. “Nothing really big. Just getting in a comfortable spot and swinging the bat.”

Seeing the ball is something both Melvin and his younger brother Justin have said they do very well at Petco Park.

“The background is definitely pretty good, better than some other parks,” says Upton. “It’s a big blue wall out there so it’s a pretty good place to see the ball.”

But even more than that, the trade gave Upton a chance to hit the reset button on his career.

“It’s great to see Melvin really come in to his own and gain some confidence,” says Padres manager Pat Murphy, who was managing at Triple-A El Paso when Upton came through for a rehab assignment. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have. Confidence is such a key in everything you do and to see Melvin gain some confidence is pretty special.”

Melvin does not deny a change of scenery has been good for him.

“I think the fresh start has a lot to do with it. Unfortunately things didn’t go the way I wanted them to the last two years but, like I said, it’s a fresh start, a new club, the coaches here are behind me and I’m having fun.”

Melvin Upton Jr. turns 31 years old on Friday. If he keeps showing the form he has the last month in San Diego that albatross of a contract might end up being a decent deal after all.

<![CDATA[El Nino Washes Away the Braves]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:33:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-484513334.jpg

The Padres completed their 3-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 3-2 win at Petco Park on Wednesday afternoon. In a season almost completely devoid of positives at least we have this little tid-bit for today:

The win gets the team back to 29-29 at home. Anything in 2015 that is associated with a non-losing record must be considered a good thing.

Third baseman Yangervis Solarte followed up his home run from Tuesday night with another big day at the plate. Solarte went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and two runs batted in. He scored San Diego’s third run on a double by rookie catcher Austin Hedges.

In the post-game clubhouse Padres players and coaches took great glee in bestowing a new nickname upon Solarte. From “Slowarte” due to his lack of foot speed … to “Fastarte” after legging out a triple … Yan is now known to his teammates as “El Nino.” Not even he knows how, why or who came up with that one but if he's going to continue to swing a hot bat the moniker fits.

Tyson Ross made the start and only allowed one run in 6.0 innings, striking out five. He was relieved by Shawn Kelley, who struck out the side to get his second win of the year. Joaquin Benoit gave up one run in the 8th inning on a Nick Markakis double but closer Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect 9th on 11 pitches to get his 35th save of the season.

The Padres improve to three games under .500, but things get a lot tougher this weekend. The St. Louis Cardinals come to Petco Park for a 3-game series starting Friday night. The Cards have the best record in baseball, sitting 33 games over .500. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Padres against John Lackey.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Padres Prospect Joins the Big Club]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:52:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/GettyImages-481411398.jpg

After trading Will Venable to the Rangers, the Padres had room on their roster for an outfielder. They filled it with Travis Jankowski, a 24-year-old who has been tearing up minor league pitching this year.

Jankowski started the season with Double-A San Antonio and hit .316 and scored 50 runs in 73 games. Then he was promoted to Triple-A El Paso, but took a quick jaunt up to Canada and helped the USA win a silver medal in the Pan Am Games.

Since getting back with the Chihuahuas, Jankowski has been unstoppable. He's hitting .392 with a .464 on-base percentage. That's enough to earn a call-up to the big club. Jankowski, who is also one of the best defensive outfielders in the system, is on the bench for the Padres' Wednesday afternoon series finale against the Braves at Petco Park.

<![CDATA[Melvin Upton, Jr Helps Padres Pummel Braves]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:41:23 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/melvin+upton+jr.JPG

Whatever Melvin Upton, Junior ate before Tuesday’s game he should probably put on the menu every night.

The artist formerly known as B.J. single-handedly crushed the Braves’ spirits with a pair of towering home runs against his former club, to help San Diego pummel Atlanta 9-0.

Padres pitcher James Shields also kept the visitors at bay with 7 strikeouts over 6 shutout innings to earn his first victory in over a month thanks to another offensive outburst by the Friars.

Yangervis Solarte smacked a 3-run bomb in the 6th a few batters after Upton’s first homer of the game. Upton then went yard again in the 7th and Derek Norris was along for the ride.

The Padres have now beaten Atlanta 9 straight times at Petco Park. San Diego improves to 6-2 in its last 8 contests and looks for the sweep Wednesday afternoon before getting Thursday off.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Rea of Light for Padres]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:56:03 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484368196.jpg

The Padres’ post-season hopes still look bleak in late August but rookie right-hander Colin Rea is providing a ray of light. The 25-year-old pitcher already owns a pair of victories on the mound after just two major league starts and is benefiting from strong run support early and often.

In Rea’s outings against the Reds and Braves, the Friars combined to rack up 14 runs – before the end of the 3rd inning. That extra wiggle room helps a young pitcher like Rea feel more comfortable when he makes a few mistakes which are inevitable. For example, former Padre Cameron Maybin unleashed the fury on a pitch Rea left over the plate Monday night, but that one swing doesn’t look so bad in the 4th when his club spots him a 3-0 cushion in the 2nd. It’s easier to shake it off and refocus with a 3-1 lead than a 1-0 deficit.

Even some of the best veteran pitchers in the bigs start to press when they don’t get an iota of run support. Rancho Bernardo product and current Texas Ranger Cole Hamels knows all about that during the past few seasons. Even back in 2010 while with Philadelphia, the Phillies did not score a single run in one-third of the games Hamels started when he was on the mound.

It’s just two starts so let’s not get carried away here. But Rea appears to have the makeup and the demeanor of a starting pitcher that can carve out some staying power in San Diego. And at a towering 6-foot-5, the Iowa native stands tall on the mound peering towards the batter’s box. If Andrew Cashner can turn the corner, James Shields, Rea and Cashner could be integral parts of the Padres rotation for years to come.

Rea is scheduled to close out this homestand with his 3rd big league start Sunday against the Cardinals. As Morgan Freeman’s character says in the movie Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing… maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” As the 2015 campaign winds down, maybe the Padres have a little bit more hope for the future thanks to this “Rea” of light as September unfortunately gets closer to San Diego than the standings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>