<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Padres]]> Copyright 2015 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 Sat, 05 Sep 2015 01:10:01 -0700 Sat, 05 Sep 2015 01:10:01 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Starter Suffers Another Setback]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 22:47:33 -0700 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.

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<![CDATA[Home Run Bug Bites Padres]]> Sat, 05 Sep 2015 00:21:15 -0700 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 16:04:58 -0700 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[Tony Gwynn Remembered in San Diego]]> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:27:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gwynn-Fans-4.jpg Legendary San Diego Padres baseball player Tony Gwynn was honored by fans after he died Monday morning.

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Lose Game And Playoff Hopes]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 23:42:13 -0700 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 07:46:56 -0700 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.

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<![CDATA[Cardinals Avoid San Diego Sweep]]> Sun, 23 Aug 2015 16:41:04 -0700 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 23:19:55 -0700 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 23:12:11 -0700 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 22:41:20 -0700 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."

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<![CDATA[Upton Jr. Finds Rebirth In San Diego]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:11:02 -0700 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.

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<![CDATA[El Nino Washes Away the Braves]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 16:33:54 -0700 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 12:52:49 -0700 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.

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<![CDATA[Melvin Upton, Jr Helps Padres Pummel Braves]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 22:41:23 -0700 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 20:56:03 -0700 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]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Venable to Texas]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 18:25:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/470491188.jpg

The Padres traded longtime outfielder Will Venable to the Rangers Tuesday for minor league catcher Marcus Greene Jr. and a player to be named later.

Greene is 21 and a .250 liftetime batting average in parts of three minor league seasons since being drafted by Texas in the 16th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico Junior College.

The Palm Springs native is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Prior to undergoing the surgery, he spent this entire season with Single-A Hickory of the South Atlantic League, where he hit .218 (17-for-78) with five doubles, five home runs, nine RBI in 25 games.

As for Venable, the Austin, Texas, native had spent his entire professional career with the Padres organization since being selected in the seventh round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Princeton University. He owns a lifetime .252 batting average in parts of eight Major League seasons with the Friars.

Venable has been the subject of trade rumors for the past few seasons, but this move comes at a curious time with the Padres more than 10 games back of the second wildcard spot.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Spoil Maybin's Return to San Diego]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 16:17:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-484373242.jpg

Cameron Maybin enjoyed his return to Petco Park, but the Padres had the last laugh Monday night.

Despite a solo shot by the former Padre and current Atlanta Brave, the Friars earned a 5-3 victory as they open up a six-game homestand.

Rookie pitcher Colin Rea was solid in his second straight outing. With the exception of that one mistake he left out over the plate for Maybin, Rea struck out four batters in 5.2 innings and improved to 2-0 already in his young major league career.

He was happy to get some help from his teammates in the field as Justin Upton hauled in a fantastic catch in left-field, crashing into the wall to rob Pedro Ciriaco of extra bases in the 8th.

Jedd Gyorko also started at shortstop and flashed the leather on multiple occasions – making his case for more playing time in the hole over the next few weeks.

As for the offense, the Pads jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. Will Venable provided a 2-run single with 2 on and 2 out after Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez elected to pitch to Venable in the 8-spot with the pitcher on deck.

Maybe next time Atlanta’s skipper will remember that where there’s a Will, there’s a way. Matt Kemp and Yonder Alonso also provided some insurance in the form of solo homers.

Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta’s all-time saves leader, navigated his way through a shaky 9th inning against his former squad, earning his 34th save of the season. On most occasions, Kimbrel has been as good as advertised since coming to Southern California along with Melvin Upton, Jr in that 6-player off-season trade this past April.

The Padres improve to 5-2 in their past seven contests, but as of Tuesday morning they still trail San Francisco by a hefty 11.5 games for the second wildcard spot.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Beat Cincinnati ]]> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 17:03:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres1.JPG

Starter Colin Rea won his Major League debut on Tuesday night as the Padres held on for an 11-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park.

Jedd Gyorko led the way with a two-run single to kick off the scoring in the first, then added a two-run home run in the second to help the Friars (54-60) score the first 11 runs of the game.

Things got a little hairy in the ninth, as the Reds cut the lead to five and put two runners on base. But Rich Garces was able to shut the door on the victory.

Rea pitched five innings, striking out four while allowing three earned runs. He also notched his first big-league hit with a single in the second inning. Yonder Alonso and Justin Upton each had RBI doubles in the second as the Friars pounded out five runs in the frame.

Todd Frazier had a pair of RBI for the Reds (49-62) with a double in the fourth and a solo homer in the ninth.

The two teams finish their series Wednesday afternoon starting at 12:40 p.m.


 



Photo Credit: NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Spin Class at Petco Park Benefits Cancer Research]]> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 18:47:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Spin+at+the+Park+1.jpg

Stationary bikes will take over Petco Park next month as the San Diego Padres cycle in a new fundraiser for local cancer researchers.

The inaugural Pedal the Cause Radio-Telethon and Spin at the Park will take place Saturday, Sept. 12.

In the outfield, organizers will hold a one-hour spin class open to the public at 6:05 p.m., just as the Padres start playing the Giants at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. Spinners will be able to watch the game on the park’s large video board.

If they make it through the heart-pumping class, participants will be treated to an on-field after-party.

Starting at 2 p.m., volunteers will be accepting donations as the radio-telethon is broadcast on FOX Sports San Diego and The Mighty 1090. Donations will be taken through the Padres’ game that night. Those who wish to contribute can call 1-844-PEDALSD or text “Pedal” to 41444.

Tickets for Spin at the Park are $50 and include the class, a custom towel, one beverage ticket, free parking and two tickets to the Padres versus Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sept. 26.

Proceeds will benefit local organizations like Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Rady Children’s Hospital.
 



Photo Credit: San Diego Padres]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Fall to Brewers]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 23:30:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-482965394.jpg

After a four-game winning streak, the Padres have now lost two of three after falling to the Brewers in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. The 4-1 victory snapped the Brewers' six-game losing skid.

Padres starter Andrew Cashner pitched well enough to win, scattering two runs on eight hits over six innings. But he was outdueled by Jimmy Nelson, who allowed just three Padres hits in 6 2/3 innings.

The Friars (52-55) got their lone run on a sacrifice fly by Yonder Alonso, scoring Matt Kemp in the fourth.

Alexi Amarista had a pair of hits, including a leadoff double in the eighth. Yangervis Solarte followed that with a single to stretch his hitting streak to 10 games. But the Padres were unable to score, as Alonso and Jedd Gyorko struck out to end the inning.

Both teams play again tomorrow night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Ferrell to Screen Baseball Movie at Petco Park]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:32:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP468324219163_FerrellPadres.jpg

Months after Will Ferrell donned a San Diego Padres uniform in a spring training stunt, the comedian's HBO special based off his experiences will be screened at Petco Park. 

In March, the comedian played all nine positions and coached for 10 teams in five Arizona ballparks in a spring-training blitz chronicled for the special.

The movie will be screened Sept. 5 immediately following the game between the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers as a part of Baseball Night in San Diego. All fans at the game will have the opportunity to stay and watch the screening. 

Ferrell will introduce the special, created by Funny or Die in partnership with Major League Baseball. The movie will debut on HBO at 10 p.m. on Sept. 12. 

The special is dedicated to the fight against cancer through the charity Cancer for College. Ferrell will also honor former professional baseball player Bert Campaneris. 

Fans can buy tickets for the game by clicking here.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Comeback Falls Short]]> Sun, 02 Aug 2015 15:43:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482783714.jpg

The Padres have made a habit of winning games with late-inning magic lately. Sunday afternoon in Miami they pulled another rabbit out of their hat, then watched as the Marlins used that strategy against them.

The Marlins got a 3-run, walkoff homer from shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to win 5-2 and avoid getting swept out of their own building. The big blast came off Padres reliever Brandon Maurer, who walked two batters to set the table for Hechavarria.

Had it not been for another unlikely comeback, that situation would have never developed. Miami had a 2-0 lead in the 9th inning when catcher Derek Norris, who seems to be in the middle of every big rally lately, rapped a leadoff single. Two batters later shortstop Alexi Amarista, the most unlikely non-pitcher on the field to go deep, went deep to tie the game 2-2.

Amarista was oh-for-25 entering the game and only had five hits in the entire month of July. On Sunday he had a triple and a home run and get starter James Shields a no-decision.

Shields gave up two runs in the first inning but only allowed two baserunners over the next five innings. He was bested by Miami ace Jose Fernandez, who struck out 10 in 6.0 innings and has never lost at Marlins Park.

The Padres head to Milwaukee to start a 4-game set on Monday. The Brewers are 20-33 at Miller Park, giving them the worst home record in the Major Leagues. Tyson Ross gets the start against Wily Peralta.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win Again, Inch Towards Playoff Picture]]> Sat, 01 Aug 2015 20:19:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482697374.jpg

The Padres beat the Marlins 5-3 on Saturday night in Miami. They followed a tried and true baseball formula: get a good start, have a big inning on offense, let the bullpen lock it up.

Odrisamer Despaigne had another solid outing, going 6.0 innings and allowing three runs to get the win. Shawn Kelley, Marc Rzepczynski, Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel made it stick, not allowing a baserunner in their combined three innings of work. Kimbrel earned his 31st save and still has yet to blow back-to-back saves in his Major League career.

On offense, the Padres big damage came in the third inning. Will Venable scored on a triple by Yangervis Solarte, who scored on a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly (Kemp also had two hits). Derek Norris capped the 4-run inning with a double just inside the 3rd base bag that brought home Justin Upton and Yonder Alonso, who took the extra base when Miami left fielder Derek Dietrich misplayed the ball along the left field wall.

The Padres have won three straight series on the road. That’s not bad for a team who only won three of its first 15 road series this season.

San Diego has won 12 of 16 games, running its record to 51-53. Conventional wisdom would suggest if they can get back to the .500 mark they can start to legitimately think about making a playoff run. That might happen by Monday, and if they make it happen, there’s no reason to think they can’t get in to the post-season because, finally, the schedule is being kind to the Friars.

San Diego’s next 17 games are against teams with losing records. Now, if they do get back in to against a bunch of teams that are not very good, there will be detractors out there who say they proved nothing by busting up the bottom-feeders. However, here’s a dirty little secret: every winning team does that. It’s how they become winning teams.

Submitted for your approval; the following schedule analysis. Let’s start with the Cubs. Chicago is 55-47, currently a game out of the final NL Wild Card spot. The Cubbies are 9-4 against the Reds (46-55) but 4-9 against the Cardinals (66-37). How about the Pirates (60-42), owners of the first NL Wild Card? Pittsburgh is 5-2 against the Phillies (40-64) but 4-6 against the Cubs.

The 56-46 Giants, owners of the final NL Wild Card spot, are the outlier. They’re 2-5 against the Marlins (42-61), and for some reason 9-3 against the first place Dodgers (59-45).

Speaking of L.A., they’re the poster kids for feasting on the weak. The Dodgers are 9-4 against the Rockies (43-58) and 9-3 against the Diamondbacks (50-51 after a 6-game winning streak). The only teams with winning records the Dodgers have a winning record against are the Angels (55-48), who they’ve beaten both times they’ve played so far, and the Nationals (54-47), who they took two of three games from.

Things are about to get very difficult for the NL West leaders. In August they still have series against the Pirates (60-42), Nationals, Astros (58-46), Cubs and Giants, with Pittsburgh and Houston coming on the road.

So if the Padres can do what all the other “winning” teams do over the next three weeks, they’ll be right in the thick of the post-season picture, and yes, they will have earned their spot in the hunt.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Walk Away Winners]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:05:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-482585386.jpg

The Padres did not blow up their roster at the trade deadline. In fact, instead of a fire sale they added a player, getting left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski (pronounced zep-chin-ski) from the Indians for reserve outfielder Abraham Almonte. What would possess General Manager A.J. Preller to keep his club in one piece?

“We have a lot of players who are attractive to other clubs,” Preller told a group of media members in the dugout of Marlins Park in Miami on Friday night. “Ultimately we didn’t get the value we wanted to get to. We like our team.”

Yeah, but that team has a losing record and is a long way out of the playoff hunt.  Assuming they can even get to .500, they still have a lot of ground to make up. Preller says it’s not out of the question.

“We’ve got a big challenge in front of us. I feel like we have the pitching and players here to start making up some ground.”

With the way the Padres have been playing lately, Preller might be on to something. The Friars won again in a unique way, this time beating the Marlins 8-3 in 11 innings. San Diego has now won 11 of their last 15 games.

It could have been a lot easier than it was. Closer Craig Kimbrel, the subject of intense trade speculation, blew his second save of the season when he left a fastball up and Miami infielder Derek Dietrich ripped it in to the upper deck to tie the game 3-3. Interesting stat on Dietrich: he has six home runs but only eight runs batted in this year. All but one of those RBI has come via the home run.

It also gave starting pitcher Ian Kennedy a no-decision. Kennedy was the subject of trade rumors but was not going to be on the mound for a different reason. He wife went in to labor with the couple's fourth child so Ian booked a flight back to San Diego to be there for it. Bad weather delayed the flight and when it was clear Kennedy would not make it home in time he called pitching coach Darren Balsley to see if he could come back to the ballpark and pitch.

Ian watched the birth using FaceTime (Evelyn Nicole Kennedy was born at 2:03 p.m. San Diego time) then took the mound two hours later and made one of his best starts of the season, throwing 7.0 innings and giving up just two runs. Kennedy will try to fly home again Saturday morning and re-join the team next week in Milwaukee.

But, he stuck around to see one heck of a finish. In the 11th inning, the Padres came up with a way to win a game. It was not as dramatic as Thursday’s rain-delayed comeback over the Mets, but it was just as unique. After a Will Venable single Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos, who had only walked 14 hitters in 46 innings this season, walked Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Yonder Alonso one after another to force home the game-winning run.

After a pitching change Derek Norris drew another walk to inflate the Padres lead to 5-3. Then Jedd Gyorko looped a 2-run single to left and Venable singled to score another run and erase any thoughts of a Marlins comeback.

Since the San Francisco Giants also lost on Friday the Padres, at 50-53, are a mere 6.5 games out of the second NL Wild Card spot. Their next 18 games are against teams that have records worse than they do. Maybe Preller was right in holding his ground. This thing just might work out after all.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[GM A.J. Preller Keeps Padres Together]]> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:30:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/preller+1.jpg

There are MLB expert analysts who thought this week would turn the Padres into ancient Rome: All trade roads would lead to San Diego. Given the off-season spree that General Manager A.J. Preller went on, that thinking was certainly not unfounded.

But all the speculation fizzled in to a giant "meh." The Major League Baseball trade deadline passes at 1 p.m. Pacific time on Friday and, despite having multiple pieces to deal, the only move Preller pulled the trigger on was sending reserve outfielder Abraham Almonte to the Indians for left-handed relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, who has a lot of strikeouts in a small sample size this season.

At times over the last seven days, the Friars were rumored to be in talks to trade OF Justin Upton, RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Tyson Ross, RHP James Shields, RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Joaquin Benoit, RHP Ian Kennedy, 2B Jedd Gyorko and OF Will Venable. The only guy on that list to leave the team is Kennedy, but that's so he can be with his wife as she delivers their fourth child. On a related note, Odrisamer Despaigne will make Kennedy's scheduled start on Friday night in Miami.

Of course, the lack of a blockbuster deal does not mean the Padres will not make a deal. They have the month of August to swing a waiver-wire deal, which is more complicated but not at all uncommon.

So, for the time-being at least, the Padres are who the Padres are. Perhaps Preller has seen enough during their recent hot streak (10 wins in 14 games) to think the season is not lost and they can make up the 7.5 games between themselves and a Wild Card spot. Or maybe he just did not think any of the offers made would get enough of a return on his investments.

Whatever the reasoning, the rookie GM is once again the talk of baseball. This time, though, it's for what he did NOT do instead of what he did.



Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Rain Men: Padres Complete Wet and Wild Comeback]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:24:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-482395478.jpg

The Padres were faced with a deficit, a deluge and a delay on Thursday in New York. They overcame them all to take a series from a playoff contender and, perhaps, buy themselves a little more time as the trade deadline nears.

The Friars beat the Mets 8-7 to take two of three games at Citi Field. After six innings San Diego trailed 7-1. Starter Andrew Cashner, who has been the subject of trade talks with his home town Houston Astros, gave up seven runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings. It looked like the Padres were going to turn in another uninspired offensive performance.

Then the 7th inning happened.

The Padres loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, setting up catcher Derek Norris for some drama. Norris, who had not driven in a run since June 28, hammered a Hansel Robles pitch to left field for a grand slam that cut the Mets lead to 7-5. Norris went 5-for-5 on the day.

In the 9th inning Mets closer Jeurys Familia got the first two outs when a the skies unleashed a downpour that forced the officiating crew to stop play. After a 44 minute delay Familia went back out to try and finish what he started.

He was not the same pitcher. Norris and outfielder Matt Kemp both hit two-out singles, setting up outfielder Justin Upton to play the hero. Upton ripped a 3-run home run to right-center field, his team-leading 18th of the season, to put the Padres on top 8-7.

After another rain delay, this one nearly three hours long, Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect 9th inning to earn his 30th save of the season. Having won 10 of their last 14 games, the Padres are suddenly just four games under .500 and moving back in to playoff contention. It may be too late, however, to give General Manager A.J. Preller enough of a reason not to make a few deals before Friday's MLB trade deadline.

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<![CDATA[Padres Win Again As Trade Deadline Looms]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:55:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-482082646.jpg

The Padres beat the Marlins 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, taking three of four from Miami and, perhaps, giving the team a chance to keep the circling vultures from picking apart their roster.

The Friars are once again the subject of trade rumors and their recent hot streak suggests they might be able to keep the roster intact, something the guys in the clubhouse would really like to do.

"As much as anything," said outfielder Will Venable, one of the names being brought up in trade talks. "Obviously upstairs they're going to make what decisions they need to make. All we can control is going to New York and trying to change their mind with a few good games."

That seems like the view in the clubhouse is the front office is in a selling state of mind. But after a 6-3 home stand there is still hope. At least, the Friars hope there's still hope.

"Whether it's a naive thought or not," said Venable, "that's what the plan is. I know that's what we all want to do."

Although they still have issues scoring runs the Padres have played much better baseball, especially on defense, the last few weeks. They've crept back to withing striking distance of a Wild Card spot, making the decisions on whether or not to allow this team in its current form to stay together a whole lot more difficult.

Sunday's game was more of the same formula they've used recently. Get a good start (this one from Odrisamer Despaigne, who went 6.0 innings allowing one run on two hits), score just enough runs to take a small lead and let the bullpen lock it down.

Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel, two more guys who seem to be on the trade block, both threw for the third straight game. Kimbrel notched his 29th save of the season with help from a fantastic catch by Venable in centerfield.

Outfielder Justin Upton, perhaps the most likely player to be traded by Friday's deadline, hit a laser in to the left-centerfield seats off former Padre Mat Latos to get the scoring started, his team-leading 16th home run. The question on Padres fans minds now is will be be his last home run in a San Diego uniform?

One of the teams rumored to be hot on Upton's trail is the Mets, the team the Padres start a 3-game series with on Tuesday night at Citi Field.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade Primer: Who Will Stay, Who Will Go]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 15:19:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-480685990.jpg

Padres General Manager A.J. Preller is going to have an awfully busy week. The MLB trade deadline looms on Friday, July 31, and he has some personnel decisions to make.

On Sunday afternoon at Petco Park I heard a couple of scouts from opposing teams having a discussion in the Press Box. One said his team needs an 8th-inning guy and of all the ones he’s seen Joaquin Benoit is the best available so they (I’ll keep the team a secret) will likely make a play for the Padres setup man. But Benoit is far from the only player who could be pried out of San Diego.

This season other MLB teams are looking at the Padres like they’re Costco; you can probably find anything you need there, and you might walk in looking for one thing but leave with a whole lot more.

There are very few, if any, players who Preller will not at least entertain offers for. So let’s take a look at the ENTIRE San Diego Padres 25-man roster and see who’s likely to go and who’s likely to stay (this is the MLB roster as of Sunday, July 26):

RHP James Shields

He’s an intriguing dilemma. Shields wants to stay in San Diego and the club controls his salary through 2019. However, he jumps from making $10 million this year to pulling in $21 million in 2016. That’s a hefty increase and one the Padres might like to get out of. Shields is proving to be as durable as ever and could be that last missing piece for a team making a post-season push, so if someone wants him badly enough they could make an offer the Padres cannot refuse.

Trade Likelihood
: 40%. Preller would move Shields, but the return is going to have to be awfully big.

RHP Tyson Ross

One of the guys Preller considers the core of the team, Ross is getting a lot of attention. However, he’s been one of the most consistent starters on the club and has two years of arbitration left so there’s certainly no rush to let him leave.

Trade Likelihood
: 2%. It would take a prospect haul of Jeff Bagwellian proportions to get Preller to give up Ross.

RHP Andrew Cashner

Cash is a bit of an enigma. He has the stuff of a front-of-the-rotation starter but this year has not consistently pitched like one. Off-the-field issues like worrying about his mother’s health could very well be contributing to it, and it’s easy to understand why. Cashner has one year of arbitration left so if a team in need of a 4th starter offers up a decent return he could be playing elsewhere by August.

Trade Likelihood: 50-50. The chance to add an electric arm like this might be too much for a contender to pass up.

RHP Ian Kennedy

Kennedy has fought inconsistency as well but of late. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last eight starts and only coughed up one earned run in five of those outings. Kennedy is a free agent at the end of the year and that typically (with the Padres, at least) increases the desire to trade a man and get something more than a draft pick in return.

Trade Likelihood
: 75%. Kennedy is a veteran arm who can help a team looking for a 4th starter for the stretch run.

RHP Odrisamer Despaigne

He’s durable with the potential for brilliant starts but suffers from fits of inconsistency. You really never know which OD you’re going to get and a team in a pennant race can’t rely on that.

Trade Likelihood: 1%. Unless it’s one of those seemingly insignificant deals between teams out of contention who just like someone else’s guy because, Despaigne is not going anywhere.

RHP Craig Kimbrel

Everybody needs a closer, or at least thinks they do. But the Blue Jays REALLY need a closer. Toronto’s bullpen has blown 16 of 31 save chances this year. They have one of the top five lineups in baseball but can’t hold a lead. Kimbrel changes all that. Plus, it’s being reported that the Padres have been scouting the Blue Jays system awfully hard lately, so if Toronto is willing to give up what Preller wants (and he NEEDS to get at the very least what he gave up to get Kimbrel out of Atlanta) the hard-throwing right-hander will need to keep his passport handy.

Trade Likelihood
: 98%. The Jays are three games out of a Wild Card spot. Solving their bullpen issues puts them in the playoffs so you have a motivated buyer here.

RHP Joaquin Benoit

Another veteran who will get an awful lot of attention, likely from the Blue Jays as well. Benoit has been effective for his entire career and offers the flexibility to setup or close. As previously mentioned there is certainly a market for Benoit so Preller will have to see what he can get. Kimbrel’s situation will also have an impact here.

Trade Likelihood: 50-50. There’s no rush to move Benoit but if he can bring in some prospects it’s worth looking in to.

RHP Brandon Maurer

He’s been arguably the Padres best reliever in 2015. Maurer has the stuff to handle the 7th, 8th or 9th innings and he’s under team control for another year. He’s the kind of guy you simply do not let go of at this stage of his career.

Trade Likelihood
: Don’t even bother asking.

RHP Shawn Kelley

The start of his season was a Hindenburg-level disaster. However, in his last 25.1 innings Kelley has allowed just three runs with 30 strikeouts. He’s throwing the ball extremely well and could add bullpen depth to a team looking for help in the middle innings.

Trade Likelihood: 35%. If a team calls asking about him, the pending free agent could be had. The question is how many teams will call about him instead of the variety of other bullpen arms on the market?

RHPs Dale Thayer, Marcos Mateo, Kevin Quackenbush

I put all of these guys in one line because they’re all basically in the same situation. No teams are going to target them but they could all be throw-ins with a deal for another guy.

Trade Likelihood: 25%. Don’t count on it but don’t rule it out either.

OF Justin Upton

Upton is an All-Star hitter who has a history of heating up down the stretch and provides a dangerous power option in the middle of a lineup. He’s a free agent at the end of the year that could very well get a $200 million deal, which prices him out of San Diego. If the Padres don’t trade Upton they’ll get a draft pick. Plenty of teams need a guy like Upton and they know the situation the Padres are in, which will make trade talks very interesting.

Trade Likelihood: I hope his lease is month-to-month. At the last-minute some team will panic and pull the trigger to add a guy who might help them win a World Series title this year.

OF Matt Kemp

1)    Leader of the Padres clubhouse.
2)    Big contract.
3)    With another big 2nd half he’s proving he can still hit and build around.

Trade Likelihood: 0%. This is just not a possibility.

OF Will Venable

Will has quietly had a very nice season. He provides high-quality defense at all three outfield spots and has become a reliable left-handed bat from either the starting lineup or off the bench. There will be discussions about Venable and a team that needs a solid veteran as a 4th outfielder could do a whole lot worse than this guy.

Trade Likelihood: 65%. That number goes up is someone on a contending team gets hurt. Basically, think of Venable as Maverick being ready to launch on Alert-5.

OF Melvin Upton

It’s a miracle the Padres were able to take his contract off the Braves’ hands. Nobody else is going to do the same thing.

Trade Likelihood: -100%. There’s a better chance Pete Rose is inducted to the Hall of Fame next year than there is of Upton getting traded this week.

OF Abraham Almonte

I had honestly forgotten he was with the big club. Odds are most other teams around baseball had forgotten that, too. If he moves it would be another throw-in situation.

Trade Likelihood: 3%.

1B Yonder Alonso

At the age of 28 and six years in to a big league career it’s safe to say Alonso is not going to develop the kind of power people thought he would when he was a younger prospect. Yonder is still able to get on base and will drive in the occasional run but when (if) Wil Myers gets healthy he will likely be a better option at first base. At this stage of the season teams are not looking for light-hitting corner infielders.

Trade Likelihood: 0%. Alonso is not the kind of difference maker you swing a deal for in a pennant race.

2B Jedd Gyorko

Jedd has a big contract that’s not being lived up to. Preller might be looking to move Gyorko but nobody is looking to add him.

Trade Likelihood: Not a snowball’s chance in ……

SS Alexi Amarista

Alexi has been out of his natural position at short and done as good a job as he’s capable of. However, if he can go back to his role of utility infielder his value jumps dramatically. It’s not likely but a team looking for infield depth could kick the tires on Amarista in one of those “under the radar” kind of moves.

Trade Likelihood: 5%. If Preller is able to get a shortstop in another deal he could move Amarista but it’s more likely he stays on to be the swing infielder again.

3B Yangervis Solarte

Similar to Alonso, Yan is a nice player but not a guy who pushes a team over the top. Unlike Alonso, Solarte is only in his second MLB season so there is still upside to consider (even though they’re the same age).

Trade Likelihood: 10%. Again, not likely but not altogether out of the question.

SS Clint Barmes

Here’s a veteran who has played very well when given a chance this year. Barmes is the kind of guy teams covet in the stretch run because he’s solid, good in the clubhouse and has been around the block a few times. Expect a few teams to come calling about him.

Trade Likelihood: 70%. I have no idea why but my gut tells me Barmes is going to be that final piece to the puzzle for a team trying to make the playoffs.

1B Brett Wallace

Left-handed pinch-hit specialist. Everybody needs one of those at some point. But, odds are this is not the one they’ll go after.

Trade Likelihood: 0.5%. This would be a head-scratcher unless he’s added to a deal as a bonus.

C Derek Norris

What a drop-off Norris has had in 2015. He has not driven in a run since June 28, a span of 62 at-bats. Norris has gone from the All-Star conversation to being the guy who’s blocking Austin Hedges’ development. Still, when he’s good Norris is really good and he could very well be playing through an undisclosed injury.

Trade Likelihood: 1%. Preller would have to be blown away by an offer to part with Norris.

C Austin Hedges

He has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt he can handle himself in the majors defensively. He’s also hit for more power than expected and he’s done it with sporadic playing time. Hedges is still one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He’s the kind of guy a team gets in a trade when that team is looking to the future. Since the Padres are looking to the future they’re not going to deal Hedges now.

Trade Likelihood: Nope, no way, nah-uh. Not gonna happen.

OK, I think that’s it. Which players do you want to keep? Which do you want to see go? Let us know in the comments.

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<![CDATA[Padres Have A Winning Homestand]]> Sat, 25 Jul 2015 23:12:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-481976900.jpg

It has not happened very often this year, so let's enjoy it while we can. The Padres beat the Marlins 3-1 on Saturday night at Petco Park. It's their fifth win of their second half-opening, 10-game homestand and since one of the games was rained out, that means the Friars have already guaranteed a winning run at home!

Ian Kennedy made his second straight solid start. Kennedy threw 6.0 innings, striking out seven and allowing one run. He also scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the second inning. After a 2-out double (of the Padres eight hits, the only one for extra bases came courtesy of the pitcher) Kennedy scored on a single by Will Venable to put the Friars up 2-0.

This could be an interesting week for Kennedy. His next scheduled start would come on Friday, July 31. That day is also the MLB trade deadline and Ian has been rumored in a few different trade scenarios. That is also the day his wife is due to deliver their fourth child.

So, things could get VERY interesting for at least one Padre who might once again become a Padre but do it while not in a Padres uniform.

San Diego closer Criag Kimbrel tossed a perfect 9th inning for his 28th save of the season (in 29 chances). He's another guy who is expected to draw attention as the trade deadline draws near.

The Padres can win the series from the Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Petco. Odrisamer Despainge gets the start against former Padre Mat Latos.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Shut Out (Again)]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 22:47:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-481719336.jpg

One of the reasons Bud Black was fired is the team was underachieving, especially on offense. Pat Murphy was brought in on an interim basis to try and light a fire under the team's collective behind.

That decision has not worked out too well. The Padres were shut out again on Thursday night, this time losing 4-0 to the Miami Marlins. San Diego's offense mustered a mere three hits, all of them singles, in their latest uninspired setback.

Marlins starter Tom Koehler struck out seven Padres in 7.0 innings, but he also walked four batters, giving the Padres multiple chances to get a run on the board. As has become their calling card for yet another season, the Friars could not take advantage of the opportunities.

Padres starter Tyson Ross was even more dominant than Koehler ... until the 6th inning. Ross had thrown 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts, only allowing three infield singles, when the proverbial wheels fell off. After a pair of 2-out singles, Ross unleashed a wild pitch that brought in Martin Prado to put Miami up 1-0. Three more singles followed and Ross was gone, saddled with another loss in a game he looked destined to win.

That brings me back to the managerial change. Under Black, the Padres were one game under .500 while averaging 4.05 runs per game. Since he was fired, the Padres are seven games under .500 and averaging 3.56 runs per game.

You can interpret that any way you see fit.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Stomp Padres at Petco Park]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:27:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-481602276.jpg

Brandon Belt hit a tying solo home run in the sixth inning and Buster Posey hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 7-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

Matt Cain pitched six strong innings in his fourth start of the season for the defending World Series champions, who took two of three and have won eight of nine overall.

Padres ace James Shields left with a 1-0 lead after throwing 96 pitches in five innings, and the bullpen promptly gave up the lead.

Belt homered into the sandy play area beyond the fence in right-center on a 3-2 pitch from Marcus Mateo with two outs in the sixth. It was Belt's 10th.

Brandon Maurer (6-3) came on for the seventh and allowed Angel Pagan's one-out single before getting Joe Panik to ground to first. He walked Matt Duffy, who checked his swing on a 3-2 pitch, before Posey doubled to right, with the ball landing just in front of a diving Matt Kemp to give the Giants a 3-1 lead. Hunter Pence singled to right-center to bring in Posey.

The Giants piled on with three more runs against Dale Thayer in the eighth. Brandon Crawford hit a leadoff homer into the Jack Daniels' party deck atop the right field wall, his 14th. Justin Maxwell had a pinch-hit RBI single and Duffy had an RBI base hit.

Cain (2-1) allowed one run and five hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and one walk. He was making his fourth start of the season. He had elbow surgery in 2014 and had been sidelined this season with a strained flexor tendon.

Shields, coming off his first victory since June 3, held the Giants to three hits in five scoreless innings while striking out seven and walking three.

Jedd Gyorko homered off Cain leading off the second inning, his fifth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: LHP Jeremy Affeldt, sidelined since June 16 with a strained left shoulder, was activated from the 15-day DL. He faced two batters in the eighth, allowing a single and a walk. To make room, LHP Josh Osich was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Jake Peavy (1-4, 4.94 ERA) is scheduled to start when San Francisco opens a three-game home series against Oakland. The A's will counter with RHP Jesse Chavez (5-9, 3.21).

Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (6-7, 3.38) is scheduled to start the opener of a four-game series against Miami. The Marlins counter with RHP Tom Koehler (7-6, 3.38).
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Now It's Serious: Padres Win Again]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 22:41:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-481450198.jpg

Matt Kemp has "that look."

Something happens to the man in the second half of baseball seasons. For whatever reasons, his slugging percentage after the All-Star Break jumps about 40 points. He starts hitting home runs more often (one every 20 at-bats as opposed to one every 25 at-bats pre-All-Star Break).

It's almost like when a basketball player starts to feel it. When Kyrie Irving gets in to one of those scoring zones where, no matter how you try to defend him, he's going to get the ball in the bucket. He just LOOKS dangerous.

Right now Matt Kemp just LOOKS dangerous. On Monday night against the Giants Kemp continued his crazy hot streak at the plate, a string that actually started just before the Midsummer Classic (but after the mathematical midway point of 81 games, so we'll count it).

The Padres right fielder had a pair of hits, including a 2-run home run to the Petco Park beach in right-center, to help the Friars to a 4-2 win over the Giants. San Diego has won a season-high five straight games.

Kemp now has an eight game hitting streak. In those eight games he's hit four home runs and driven in 10. He got help in the lineup from Yangervis Solarte, who had three hits and scored a run, and Melvin Upton Jr., who laced a triple to right-center field and scored on one of Solarte's singles in the 6th inning.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy turned in one of his better outings of the year. Kennedy went 6.0 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Brandon Maurer, Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel retired nine of the 10 batters they faced to lock down the win. Kimbrel earned his 26th save, needing just four pitches to do it.

What's even more impressive is the Giants were the hottest team in the National League when they arrived at Petco Park. San Francisco had won six straight games. The Padres can get their sixth straight win on Tuesday night. Odrisamer Despaigne will go for the Friars against Chris Heston.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Rained Out At Home]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 06:44:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/rain+petco+1.JPG

San Diego's Wet and Wild Summer continued on Sunday. This time the July rainstorms did something that has not happened since ... well, ever.

For the first time since the Padres started playing baseball in San Diego, they had a home game rained out in July. Sunday afternoon's weather stopped the scheduled game between the Padres and Rockies in the top of the 5th inning (Colorado was leading 1-0).

The game will be replayed on September 10 with a 12:40 p.m. start time. Folks who had tickets for Sunday's will have those seats honored in the replay.

After a delay of two and a half hours, and with more wet weather in the forecast, the crew at Petco Park decided to call it a day. The last rainout at Petco Park came on April 4 of 2006, a span of 820 home games.

This series we saw the first time a game in our town has ever even been DELAYED by weather in the month of July. The only other July delay in San Diego history came in 2009 and that was because of a swarm of bees.

Sunday's home rainout is just the 17th in Padres history. Keep in mind, they've played baseball since 1969. That's the same number as Dodger Stadium has had in its 53-year existence.

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<![CDATA[Padres Win With Big Hits From Unlikely Places]]> Sat, 18 Jul 2015 20:49:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*182/GettyImages-481281076.jpg

I could get used to this.

The Padres, who have not been able to string wins together all season long, have finally figured out how to do it. The Friars beat the Rockies 5-4 on Friday night at Petco Park. The Pads have won four straight games for just the second time all season and all of a sudden, at 43-49 with a string of games against sub-.500 opponents ahead of them, climbing back to at least respectability doesn’t seem like such a daunting task.

The Padres got something that has eluded them for most of the season: timely hitting. In the 6th inning, Matt Kemp had a couple of runners on with two outs so he decided to continue his recent hot streak. Kemp lashed a 2-run double to centerfield to break a 1-1 tie.

Starting pitcher Tyson Ross was trying to protect the lead when he ran in to trouble in the 7th inning. Brandon Barnes tripled home a run to chase Ross, who left still in line for the win. Brandon Maurer, who’s been fantastic in the bullpen this year, had a rare hiccup, allowing a double to the pinch-hitting Wilin Rosario that tied it up at 3-3.

Ross threw 102 pitches and finished with a no-decision. Maurer threw 12 pitches and got the win because in the bottom of the 7th, Rockies reliever Christian Friedrich issued a leadoff walk to Melvin Upton Jr. then served up a 2-run home run to former Rockie Clint Barmes. Two of Clint’s three home runs this season have come against his old mates.

Actually, it might be a bad idea to let Barmes go then play against him. Clint used to play in Colorado, Houston and Pittsburgh. Against the Rockies, Astros and Pirates this year Barmes is batting .407 and recorded four of his 10 RBI.

Closer Craig Kimbrel, who has struggled with the highest earned run average of his career this year, found a bit of his old magic, striking out the side in the 9th for his 25th save of the season.

Another bright spot for the Padres was rookie catcher Austin Hedges. Not only did he throw out both baserunners who tried to steal on him (Barnes both times), but Hedges also hit a solo home run in the 3rd inning to get the scoring started.

The Friars can earn their first 5-game winning streak of the year, and first series sweep since May 1-3 (also against the Rockies) on Sunday afternoon. Andrew Cashner gets the start against Eddie Butler.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Have A Winning Streak!]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 23:12:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-481156266.jpg

When last we left the San Diego Padres, they had won two straight games in Texas to finish out the traditional first half of the season. On Friday night, back from the All-Star break, the Friars were hosting the Colorado Rockies.

We don't get to say this often, so we'll go ahead and take the chance ... the Padres have not lost in a week!

The Padres beat the Rockies 4-2 for their 3rd straight win. That definitely qualifies as a winning streak for this season. Matt Kemp and Jedd Gyorko both hit home runs in the first inning off Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa. Kemp's was a solo shot and Gyorko's a 2-run job.

Both players struggled early in the year but have been swinging the bat markedly better of late. Kemp is hitting .361 over the last two weeks and Gyorko is at .300 for the month of July. Both of them figure to be around for the long haul.

However, several guys who helped in this one might not be around very much longer. Starting pitcher James Shields threw 5.0 innings and allowed one run to get the win. It's his first victory since June 3. Joaquin Benoit threw a perfect 8th inning with a pair of strikeouts. Justin Upton hit a monster solo homer in the 8th to give the Padres their fourth and final run. Craig Kimbrel tossed a perfect 9th inning to get his 24th save of the year.

All of those guys (and probably a few more like outfielder Will Venable) will be the subject of trade talks right up until the July 31 deadline. How the Padres play in the 13 games leading up to it will determine whether or not general manager A.J. Preller keeps his great off-season experiment together or blows it up and starts fresh again.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Another Commissioner Mishap With The Padres]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:45:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-479963850.jpg

Major League Baseball commissioners are not faring well with Padres fans these days.

First we had the fallout from the naming of a section of Petco Park "Selig Hall of Fame Plaza." Putting the name of anyone not named Tony Gwynn on the name of the franchise's Hall of Fame Plaza is bad enough.

Making it the name of a man who rarely showed any interest in San Diego during his time as commissioner in what was taken as a transparent attempt to get the MLB All-Star Game before he left office rubbed most baseball followers in San Diego the wrong way.

Rob Manfred's first appearance in front of Padres fans did not go well, either. On Friday the new commissioner was in town to help unveil the logo for the 2016 All-Star Game that will be held at Petco Park. Listen closely to the video and see if you can spot where he messed up.

Now, I'm not a professional sports commissioner, but I'm going to assume it's a good idea for someone in that position to know the name of the stadium he or she is standing in and praising.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Get Rare Road Series Win]]> Sun, 12 Jul 2015 15:45:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/182*120/GettyImages-480514054.jpg

The Padres still have a lot of work to do on their offense during the All-Star break, but for now it seems their pitching is back to where we all expected it to be (well, aside from Ian Kennedy).

Tyson Ross continued a string of strong performances from the Friars staff, throwing 6.2 scoreless innings with six whiffs to pace a 2-1 Padres win on Sunday afternoon in Texas. San Diego hits the annual midseason break on a 2-game winning streak.

Despite his great effort Ross was almost saddled with a no-decision. Craig Kimbrel was brought in for a rare 4-out save and, although he made things a little more exciting than Padres fans would have liked, allowing a run in the 9th and letting the tying run reach 2nd base, Kimbrel punched out Leonys Martin to secure the win and his 23rd save of the season.

The Padres took two of three from the Rangers, giving them their first series win on the road since June 5-7 in Cincinnati.

The staff had to be good because the Padres only scored twice again. One run came on pure hustle, when Will Middlebrooks hit a grounder to second and Will Venable beat out a throw to the plate. Jedd Gyorko brought in the other run with an RBI single. It was a better result, but still a nasty trend for the San Diego hitters.

On their 10-game road trip they scored 5, 2, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 6 and 2 runs. It's amazing they won four of those games and a waste of an opportunity when their pitching staff gave up 3, 1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 5, 4, 5 and 1 run.

Just like it's been all year, the Padres just can't seem to get everything working at once for a prolonged period. If they pitch well, they can't hit. If they hit well, they can't pitch. They're 41-49 at the season's traditional mid-way point. When they hit the field on Friday against the Rockies at Petco Park, they'll start a stretch of winnable games.

In fact, of their next 32 games the Padres only play six against teams with a winning record (three at home against the Giants and three on the road against the Mets). For a team that's played one of the most difficult schedules in the Majors, it will be a stretch where they either get themselves back in to the playoff hunt ... or start selling off pieces and looking to next year (again).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Late Heroics Snap Padres Losing Streak]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 21:56:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/169*120/GettyImages-480459808.jpg

James Shields was not very good (by his standards). The offense was struggling again (well, kind of normal by their standards). Really nothing was going well for the Padres, who were well on their way to a 7th straight loss in Arlington, TX, on Saturday night.

Then the 9th inning started.

The Padres got half of their runs and hits in the final frame to stage a 6-5 comeback win over the Rangers. After Shields allowed four runs in 5.1 innings and was in line to take the loss because the Friars only mustered three runs on five hits while he was in the game.

Two of those runs came on a Matt Kemp home run, another on a Justin Upton RBI single. But the 9th started with the Rangers up 5-3. Shawn Tolleson came on to close it for Texas, and suddenly San Diego's bats got going.

With one out, Will Venable reached on a bunt single and moved to third base on a Brett Wallace single. Venable scored when Melvin Upton singled, but Andrew Cashner (who was pinch-running for Wallace) got thrown out trying to reach third base. That meant the Padres had a runner on first with two outs instead of the tying run in scoring position with one out.

Yangervis Solarte did not care. he ripped a 2-run shot to right field to spark a raucous dugout celebration. Craig Kimbrel worked a 1-2-3 inning to get the save and put the Padres in the position to finally win a series on the road, something they have not done since June 5-7 when they took two of three in Cincinnati.

Tyson Ross gets the start against Yovani Gallardo.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tempy, Benito Named to Pads' Hall of Fame]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:19:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/178*120/pod.jpg

The San Diego Padres announced two new franchise Hall of Famers: Gary Templeton and Benito Santiago.

As a rookie in 1987, Benito set a franchise record 34-game hitting streak. It’s still the longest in Major League history for a rookie and the longest ever by a catcher.

He won three Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards in his seven seasons as a Padre.

Templeton played 10 seasons with the Padres and ranks second in at-bats, hits and doubles. Tempy, the team MVP in 1985, ranks fourth in triples.

Induction into the Padres Hall of Fame will take place on Saturday, August 8, before the game with the Phillies.

All fans in attendance will receive a Templeton or Santiago Padres throwback replica jersey.

The San Diego Padres open a three-game series with the Rangers Friday night.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>