<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Sports News, Photos, and Scores for the Padres, Chargers and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:08:03 -0700 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:08:03 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Padres Hammer Cardinals]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:00:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jedd+gyorko+cards+preview.jpg

Starting pitcher Jesse Hahn is continuing his impressive run. On Wednesday night he allowed just four hits and one run in seven innings of work. At 7-2, Hahn is off to the best start ever by a Padres rookie. To say he also got offensive support would be an understatement as the Padres beat the Cardinals 12-1.

Jedd Gyorko collected four hits and four RBI including his 6th home run of the season. Will Venable also went yard. Yangervis Solarte added four base hits and drove in a pair. The Padres put the game away in the bottom of the seventh, pushing eight runs across the plate.

The Padres go for the unlikely series sweep against the Cardinals Thursday afternoon at Petco Park.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Magazine Honors Tony Gwynn]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:07:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sd+mag+issue+gwyn+story.jpg

Back in the day, San Diego Magazine writer Ron Donoho had the idea to get a hitting lesson from Padres legend Tony Gwynn. Needless to say, it didn’t go well.

“He was like, ‘I hate your swing,’ Donoho remembers. “I had somebody all set up to take some live pitching, but he wouldn’t even let me get that far.”

What he did was give Donoho his undivided attention for as long as it took – a trait so many people remember about the man they called “Mr. Padre.”

“He stood in the batting cage and made me take swings off the tee,” Donoho said. “He held my tape recorder. What pros would do that? He hung around for more than 3 hours for the piece.”

That was Donoho’s personal remembrance of Gwynn. He was one of the San Diego Magazine contributors who compiled other heartfelt memories of Gwynn from executives, coaches, players, media and fans in a 10-page spread in this month’s issue, titled “Remembering Mr. Padre."

It includes memories from players like Cal Ripken, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with Gwynn in 2007. It also includes a Padres fan who lived in San Francisco and would go see Gwynn every time the Padres were in town.

The memories are spliced with classic photos from his career and life as well as a “scorecard” that highlights the best stats of his career.

"We wanted to give fans a place to pay tribute to him alongside all the VIPs,” Editor Erin Chambers Smith said. “And you know what's cool? The memories and sentiments are very similar, whether from a major leaguer or a little kid. He treated everyone the same. It was an honor for our staff to work on this."

It also pays tribute by making every page in the issue number 19 – a little tricky if you want to navigate the mag, but we’ll let it slide.

Donoho’s favorite contribution was from former Padres president and current Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino.

“I appreciate that he called from Boston,” Donoho said. “I always liked him. He’s a smart guy.”

The issue hit newsstands this week. Or you can just read the digital version.

In case you missed them, here are some other great tributes to Gwynn, including a story from his batboy with the Padres.

Of course, NBC 7’s tributes to Gwynn are the best around, in our completely unbiased opinion.

<![CDATA[Padres Top Cardinals 3-1]]> Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:42:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/tyson+ross+dodgers+preview.jpg

Tyson Ross (10-10) wasn't at his best, but was good enough. Despite giving up five walks, Ross allowed just one run as the Padres beat the Cardinals 3-1.

The offense was supplied by Jedd Gyorko, who had two hits including the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth. Yangervis Solarte homered in the seventh, his second as a Padres and the first batting from the left side.

Game two of the series is Wednesday night at Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Petco Goes to the Dogs]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:35:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dog+day+thumb.jpg The Friars' best friends took over Petco Park before Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the annual Dog Days of Summer promotion.

Photo Credit: Matthew Wood/NBC7]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Finally Getting Healthy]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:27:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jedd+gyorko+cards+preview.jpg

Slowly but surely, the Padres are starting to get healthy again.

Shortstop Everth Cabrera was activated from the disabled list today after missing all of July with a hamstring injury. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko returned to the lineup on Monday after missing 44 games with plantar fasciitis in his foot. Yonder Alonso was back at his post at first base over the weekend after spending more than a month on the shelf with a sore wrist.

Perhaps most importantly, staff ace Andrew Cashner threw a successful bullpen session and could be back in the next few weeks. He has made just 12 starts this season after two stints on the disabled list.

Of course, with the Padres looking at a 12 ½ game hole in the National League West after dropping three of four to the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, it’s more a case of too-little-too-late. It also makes you think what could have been if everyone had stayed healthy all season.

But speculating about that won’t do any good. Instead, the team has to focus on the St. Louis Cardinals, who come to town for a three-game series this week. It’s the first time back at Petco Park in nine days for the Friars, who will spend all week at home.

Can the new additions to the lineup help put some runs on the board against a streaking Cards team? Let’s find out.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.:
Tyson Ross (R, 9-10, 2.65) vs. Lance Lynn (R, 11-7, 3.05)
Ho-hum, another quality start from Ross, who has seven straight outings allowing two runs or less. Lynn just had a three-game win streak snapped, despite going six strong against the Tampa Rays over the weekend.

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.: Jesse Hahn (R, 6-2, 2.12) vs. Kelly (R, 2-1, 3.90)
Hahn continues to impress, putting up six quality starts – including three in a row – since his call-up last month. He battles Kelly, a SoCal native who went to UC Riverside. He has pitched six or more innings in just two of his six starts this year.

Thursday, 12:40 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-2, 1.66) vs. Miller (R, 7-8, 4.20)
It was the shortest start of the season for Despaigne over the weekend, as he went just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and five walks and took the loss. Miller hasn’t won since June 6.

What’s at stake: As usual, the Cardinals are right in the thick of the playoff race. They trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 2 games in the National League Central and are out of the wild card by just a half-game.

This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams. They meet in St. Louis next month.

Who to watch:
Outfielder Seth Smith is hitting an astounding .471 over the past week and leads all Padres in home runs (11), average (.295), doubles (21) and walks (44). Tommy Medica is 8 for his last 20. Yangervis Solarte has hits in four of his first six games with the team since coming over in the Chase Headley trade.

Cardinals: Shortstop Jhonny Peralta leads the team with 14 homers and has a hit in five of his last six games. Outfielder Matt Holliday shook off a first-half slump and leads the team with 53 RBIs. He also has three home runs in his past five games. First baseman Matt Adams has hit over .300 in every month except for July (.289). He had a four-RBI game against the Cubs on Saturday.

Coming up: The Atlanta Braves come to town for a rematch of last weekend’s series where they took three of four from the Friars.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heading Home]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:10:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*284/padres+pic+521+16.jpg

For the sixteenth time this season the Padres failed to score a run. For the upteenth time they wasted another strong starting pitching performance. The result: A 2-0 loss in the series finale on Monday to the Braves.

Padres starter Jason Lane (0-1), a former big-league position player turned pitcher, navigated through six-plus innings and really made only one mistake. The 37-year old hung a slider to lead-off hitter Evan Gattis in the seventh inning. Gattis promptly deposited it into the left field seats at Turner Field. That was all the offense the Braves would need, although they tacked on another run in the eighth.

The Braves got a strong performance from Ervin Santana (10-6). His slider was snapping and Padres hitters were swinging. That combination led to eleven strikeouts for Santana, tying a career high. For good measure reliever Craig Kimbrel took over where Santana left off. The Braves closer pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out the side for his 32nd save of the season.

The Padres finished the road trip with a 3-4 record. They face the Cardinals Tuesday night at Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Find An Easy Way To Stay Healthy]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:46:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/Chargers+team+meeting+on+field.jpg

The San Diego Chargers have made it through five training camp practices with your typical maladies.

"Your normal nicks, bruises, cuts," said linebacker Donald Butler. "You're a little sore."

But that's about the extend to it. The Bolts are relatively healthy, especially compared to several other NFL teams who have already lost key players for the entire season. There might be a simple, yet obvious solution for that.

"I think we have to credit our strength staff," said Butler. "We're doing a lot more stretching."

That's right. The thing we all hated in Junior High School physical education classes ... good, old-fashioned stretching is back.

"We're been emphasizing a little more stretching than we did," said head coach Mike McCoy. "It's something we did more of this off-season. You're always looking to improve the team, and looking back at last year we had some pulls during the off-season program and training camp."

Stretching lines have always been a part of NFL practices. But now, instead of simply going through the motions, the Chargers are stretching before, during, and especially after practice.

"We're continuously encouraging the players to do every little extra detail to take care of their bodies," said McCoy.

Although, in reality, it's a little more than a suggestion.

"Coach doesn't give us much of a choice on that one," said Butler.

"We take it very seriously," said defensive end Corey Liuget. "It keeps the lactic acid out of your muscles and gets you going for the next day of practice. It keeps you a little fresh."

Research performed by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests post-exercise stretching can reduce muscle soreness and prevent injury, but is often neglected. The 2014 Chargers are paying stretching the attention it deserves, and it seems to be working.

"We're coming back out here in a couple of hours," said quarterback Philip Rivers. "Getting a good stretch before finish, hopefully we can stay away from any Tweaks. We've been pretty good so far."

Who knows? Perhaps extra stretching will help the Chargers extend the length of a playoff stay.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Del Mar Makes Changes to New Turf Surface]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:51:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Del-Mar-Horse-Track-warmup.jpg

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is making changes to its new turf track after an unusually high number of horses were euthanized in the first 10 days of the season.

Since Opening Day, seven horses have been put down because of race-related injuries. Four of those incidents happened on the track’s new racing surface.

An eighth horse died after collapsing in a morning workout before Opening Day.

While they continue to have the "utmost confidence" in the turf course, track officials said they want to err on the side of caution by making adjustments.

“…everything possible is being done to ensure the track’s first priority, which is safety of horses and riders,” a DMTC statement read.

On Sunday, two turf races were moved to the main track.

The track also instructed its crews to start scheduled maintenance early, aerating and watering the new turf surface on Sunday in advance of Wednesday’s races.

Track officials say the inner rail will also be moved to 18 feet out of caution.

The multi-million dollar project to widen the green began in September. Fourteen horses can race on the new surface. The previous course allowed 10.

In Saturday’s fifth race, Little Swiss Echo appeared to break a leg near the finish line. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke, 19, fell off and was stepped on by two other horses.

In the ninth race, J Kat was pulled up on the far turn by jockey Corey Nakatani with severe injuries to his left foreleg.

On Friday, Longview Drive sustained major injuries to his left front leg and was euthanized. Jockey William Antongeorgi had pulled up the horse early in the race.

In the sixth race on the turf, Yes She's Unusual unseated jockey Brice Blanc on the far turn when she stumbled after sustaining a serious injury. The horse was euthanized.

Before horses race at DMTC, they are reviewed by veterinarians at four different times, according to track spokesperson Mac McBride.

The morning of a race, the groomer and trainer must pull the horse out in front of the barn. The horse must gallop cleanly in order for them to go forward.

In the afternoon, lip tattoos are checked at the receiving barn to make sure the correct horse is racing. Vets feel legs, etc. They will pull the horse if they see anything that doesn’t look right, McBride said.

Horses are looked over again at the paddock and during the warmup period out on the racetrack.

“If they see a horse doing anything funny, anything that is not a normal, fluid motion by the horse, the horse is withdrawn from the race,” McBride said.

Racing officials said they’ve consulted the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Thoroughbred Trainers, the Jockeys’ Guild and the California Horse Racing Board about the recent deaths.

“I think Del Mar is doing the right thing,” said Jay Privman with the Daily Racing Form. “They did not race on the grass, they realize something is going on and they’re trying to figure out what it is.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[One Bad Inning Dooms Padres]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:10:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/176*120/452811220.jpg

The Padres should get Andrew Cashner back from injury soon. When that happens, somebody is going to have to come out of the starting rotation.

Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy and Jesse Hahn aren't going anywhere (even though Kennedy will miss Monday's scheduled start in Atlanta with an oblique injury while Jason Lane is called up from El Paso to take the hill).

Despite Saturday night's setback, Odrisamer Despaigne has earned his keep.

So the odd man out might be the one who's thrown more innings for the team than anyone else the last two seasons, and the lone lefty in the group; Eric Stults.

Sunday afternoon against the Braves, Stults threw 5.0 hitless innings, allowing just one baserunner and facing the minimum 15 hitters. The problem is, he threw another inning where things just went haywire.

That inning was the 3rd, when Stults gave up six runs on six hits in a game the Braves won 8-3. It's the 13th loss of the season for Stults.

The Padres offense came on solo home runs from Yangervis Solarte (his first in a San Diego uniform) and Rene Rivera, and an RBI single by Tommy Medica.

The Padres can split the series on Monday behind Lane, who'll be making his first career MLB start on the mound. Lane played parts of six seasons, mostly with the Astros, as an outfielder before going back to the minors and reinventing himself as a left-handed pitcher.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Paralympian Blake Leeper Vies for Wheaties Box]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:55:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Blake-Leeper-0727.jpg Bob Babbitt, co-founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, talks with Paralympian Blake Leeper who has his sights on the Rio Olympics and the Wheaties Box.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Over 25,000 Compete in SF Marathon]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:05:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/marathon_preps_sf2.jpg

Thousands of people from all over the country winded their way through the streets of San Francisco bright and early Sunday to compete in the city's annual marathon.

The first race started at 5:30 a.m., and the route kicked off and finished along the Embarcadero, with stops through the Marina, Golden Gate Bridge, the Park and the Presidio--tracing the northern part of the city.

There were temporary closures and transit changes, as more than 25,000 people laced up for the race.

"It does frustrate me a little bit because it does get very crowded--it's already crowded sometimes for the ballgames," runner Rachel Amaya said. "But it does get crowded."

"I did not know there was a lot of stuff going on, but I’m used it being from LA," runner Chad Eichten said. "And there is always stuff going on, so you just figure out ways around it."

The marathon's conclusion was around 1 p.m.

A Berkeley woman won the San Francisco Marathon for the second year in a row, and a man from Reno, Nevada earned his first win.

Anna Bretan finished the 26.2-mile course in two hours, 47 minutes and 50 seconds, according to race officials.

That is just slightly longer than the two hours, 42 minutes and 25 seconds it took the mother of three to win the race in 2013.

Bretan also, notably, was the women's winner of the 2012 Oakland Marathon.

On the men's side, race officials report August Brautigam beat his competitors by crossing the finish line in two hours, 32 minutes and 16 seconds.

But just a few hours later, more sports fans will head to the city, as the San Francisco Giants try and avoid the sweep against their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cal-train is adding extra capacity for riders coming to the city for the game--or for people attending a late afternoon soccer match with the San Jose Earthquakes at Candlestick Park.

<![CDATA[Freeney, Floyd Back at Contact Drills at Practice]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:10:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/chargers+generic.jpg

Dwight Freeney and Malcom Floyd made welcome returns for the San Diego Chargers on Saturday.

Freeney, an outside linebacker, and Floyd, a wide receiver, missed the majority of last season with injuries.

Their return to contact drills was notable in the first day the Chargers worked in pads.

"It was good and I felt fresh," said Freeney, 34, who was restricted to four games and a half sack last year after tearing a quadriceps muscle.

"I'm just going to let the coaches gauge where I am. I'm trusting them to tell me when they want me to get in and when they need to pull me because I'm chomping at bit and ready to go."

Some wondered if Freeney, who has 108 sacks, would return this year. He was cut by the Indianapolis Colts after the 2012 season, one in which had a career-low five sacks while battling an ankle injury.

"I didn't retire when I was released from Indy because I didn't want it to end that way," Freeney said. "I wanted to end it when I said so, not when those guys said I was done."

But Freeney, who's entering his 13th season, admitted rebounding from the quad injury was challenging.

"It wasn't good," said Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowler. "When you're older you're thinking, `Well, this could have been my last year. Should I come back and grind through the whole rehabilitation process?'

"But I wanted to go out on my terms. I didn't want to think later, `Shoot, I could have stayed a couple of extra years and got a couple more Super Bowls."'

Floyd returned to physical drills for the first time since spraining his neck after making a reception at Philadelphia on Sept. 15. He participated in the team's offseason workouts, but players don't wear pads then.

"I was glad to be back out with the guys but I treated it just like any other day," Floyd said. "I still feel young."

Floyd didn't avoid contact, blocking defensive backs when the play required it.

"I had to stick my nose up in there a couple of times," Floyd said. "I'm just trying to take care of my teammates. I got some cracks in and that was good for me and good for my teammates."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reinsdorf Hospitalized in New York]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:49:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Reinsdorf+Smart.jpg

Chicago Bulls and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was hospitalized Friday night after an "episode of light-headedness," the Chicago White Sox said in a statement.

Reinsdorf's "episode" required medical attention during his stay in Cooperstown, New York. He was taken to Bassett Medical Center where he will stay overnight "as a precautionary measure."

"All tests tonight indicate that he is fine," the team said in a statement. "He is coherent, is resting comfortably and is communicating with his doctors and medical staff."

He is expected to be released Saturday morning.

Reinsdorf is in New York to attend this weekend's Hall of Fame induction of former White Sox star Frank Thomas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Win 3rd Straight]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:09:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*136/452685304.jpg

Jesse Hahn was recalled from Double-A San Antonio for Friday night's start against the Braves in Atlanta.

If he keeps this up, he'll never be in the minor leagues again.

Hahn threw 6.0 innings, allowing only one run and striking out four in the Padres' 5-2 win. Yes, you read that correctly. The Padres scored five more runs, giving them 26 in the last three games.

Keep in mind, this is an offense that has scored 26 or more runs in only three WEEKS of the 2014 season, and the season started on March 31.

All of the Padres runs came in the first five innings. Tommy Medica singled to bring home Chris Denorfia in the first inning. Medica had a career-high four hits. In fact, he had gotten a hit in seven straight at-bats before grounding out in the 9th inning.

The Padres got another run in the 3rd inning when Chris Nelson's sacrifice fly scored Carlos Quentin, then two more in the 4th on a Denorfia RBI single and a sac fly from Yangervis Solarte.

Rene Rivera singled home Jeff Francoeur in the 5th, but by then Hahn had all he needed. The young right-hander has made four career starts on the road, giving up a total of four runs in those starts and winning all of them.

The Padres can win their 4th straight on Saturday when another effective rookie, Odrisamer Despaigne, takes the mound against Julio Teheran.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Runs Roll in as Padres Head South]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:58:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/will+venable+braves+preview.jpg

Don’t look now, but the Padres have quietly won two straight series coming off last week’s All-Star break.

In those victories, they are scoring more than seven runs a game. Wait a second, could there be a correlation between scoring runs and winning ballgames? Why didn’t someone tell them earlier?
Seriously though, the Padres are now 32-5 when scoring four or more runs – second best in the league. The problem is they’ve now played 101 games on the season. That’s a lotta three-runs-or-less performances, resulting in too many losses.

Maybe some good ol’ southern hospitality will do the Padres well, as they travel to Atlanta this weekend for a four-game series with a Braves team that just dropped three of four to the Miami Marlins to fall out of first place in the National League East.

Friday, 4:35 p.m.:
Jesse Hahn (R, 5-2, 2.21) vs. Alex Wood (R, 7-7, 3.24)
The wins just keep on piling up for Hahn, who has won five of his last six starts, allowing three earned runs or fewer in each of them. Wood has four quality starts in five outings since rejoining the rotation last month.

Saturday, 4:10 p.m.: Odrisimar Despaigne (R, 2-1, 1.31) vs. Julio Teheran (R, 9-6, 2.64)
OD took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Sunday, and has yet to have a bad outing in his month in the majors. Teheran has won three of his last four decisions.

Sunday, 2:05 p.m.: Eric Stults (L, 3-12, 5.00) vs. Zach Minor (L, 3-6, 5.32)
The defeats just keep on piling up for Stults, who took over the league lead in Ls with his 12th on Tuesday. But he still has a better ERA than fellow lefty Minor, who has allowed 12 earned runs in his last two starts.

Monday, 9:10 a.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 8-9, 3.66) vs. Ervin Santana (R, 9-6, 3.87)
With six more strikeouts on Wednesday, Kennedy jumped to second place in Ks in the NL with 143. Santana has won four of his last five starts, striking out 10 against the Marlins this week.

What’s at stake: These two teams might as well get used to each other. They meet in seven of the next 10 games for each – the only times they will face off all season.

While the Padres are keeping their phone lines open to entertain trade offers from contenders, the Braves could be looking to shore up their pitching staff as the trade deadline nears. They would love to be able to flip underachieving outfielder B.J. Upton for a low-end starter or bullpen arm. Good luck with that.

Who to watch:
Outfielder Seth Smith has nine hits during his current five-game hit streak and continues to lead the team in home runs (11), RBIs (31), average (.293) and walks (43). Fellow outfielder Will Venable is hitting .393 in his last 10 games. Catcher Rene Rivera is coming off a three-hit game that includes a homer and two-run single.
Braves: Outfielder Justin Upton (B.J.’s brother) has a hit in eight of his last nine games. He leads the team with 18 homers, 57 RBIs and a .287 average. First baseman Freddie Freeman leads the team and is fifth in the NL with 28 doubles. Third baseman Chris Johnson has a pair of homers in his last five games.

Coming up: Welcome the Padres back home next week with a series against the St. Louis Cardinals starting on Tuesday, followed by a visit from these Braves next weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Antonio Gates Mourns Death of Sister]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:31:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/107513449.jpg

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was at training camp on Thursday, but no one would have blamed him for missing it. The player is mourning the loss of his 22-year-old sister, Pamela.

Pamela died Wednesday after a three-year battle with lupus.

Recently, Gates had missed spring practices and told the public he was tending to a family situation.

On Thursday, it was reported Gates was often traveling after road games to visit his ailing sister in Detroit.

After practice, the all-pro football player said: “You basically get one chance to prove you love your family.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Players Lift Padres]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:17:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cubs_2014_37.jpg

The Padres day started with the news of Cameron Maybin's 25-game suspension for a failed drug test. It ended with an 8-3 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Yangervis Solarte, acquired from the Yankees in the Chase Headley deal, tripled in the first inning to drive in the Padres first run. He finished with two hits an RBI and two runs scored. Jeff Francoeur also delivered. Called up from El Paso to replace Maybin on the roster, the big league veteran collected a hit, drove in a run and also scored. Tommy Medica had a productive day at the plate as well. He had three hit and drove in two.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy went six innings to collect his eighth win. Kennedy managed to navigate around the season high six walks he allowed. Tsuyoshi Wada started for the Cubs and took the loss. Cubs pitchers had trouble finding the plate all evening. They combined to walk eleven Padres.

The series wraps up Thursday night at Wrigley.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Cameron Maybin Suspended ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:51:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cameron+maybin+drug+suspension.jpg

San Diego Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin has been suspended 25 games after testing positive for an amphetamine, a violation of league policy, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday.

The suspension is effective immediately. He is the first major league player to be suspended this season under the league's drug policy.

"I have been undergoing treatment for several years for a medical condition, attention deficit disorder, for which I previously had a Therapeutic Use Exemption," Cameron said in a statement. "Unfortunately, in my attempts to switch back to a medicine that had been previously OK'd, I neglected to follow all the rules and as a result I tested positive. "I want to assure everyone that this was a genuine effort to treat my condition and I was not trying in any way to gain an advantage in my baseball career. I understand that I must accept responsibility for this mistake and I will take my punishment and will not challenge my suspension."

"Our club fully supports Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," Padres manager Bud Black said in a statement. "Cameron has accepted full responsibility for his violation and apologized to his teammates and coaches. We are all looking forward to his return."

Team President and CEO Mike Dee also released a statement: “I’m disappointed in Cameron’s violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, but am pleased that he’s taking responsibility for his mistake. The Joint Agreement was put into place to protect both the player and the game, and the Padres fully support it.”

The team called up Jeff Francoeur today to replace him on the roster, a move that's expected to be made official on Wednesday.

Maybin has had a disappointing year so far, hitting just .249 with one home run and nine RBIs. He missed nearly all of April with a biceps injury. He has just one hit in hist last eight games.

He's not the first Padres player to face a drug suspension from the league. In 2012, catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. Last year, All-Star shortstop Everth Cabrera missed 50 games the final 50 games of the season when he was linked to the Biogenesis investigation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Call Up Frenchy From El Paso]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:16:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jeff+francoeur.jpg

The Padres’ latest call-up is more than just your typical minor-league prospect, and he might make things a little bit more interesting in the clubhouse.

Jeff Francoeur, 30, is expected to join the team in Chicago on Wednesday after his promotion from the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas. He takes the place of Cameron Maybin, who was suspended for 25 games on Tuesday for violating the league's drug policy.

The outfielder is a major league veteran, having played in parts of nine seasons with the Braves (2005-09), Mets ('09-10), Rangers ('10), Royals ('11-13) and Giants ('13).

The man they call Frenchy is also the victim of a couple of recent pranks that were recorded by his Chihuahuas teammates and include current Padres Carlos Quentin, Brooks Conrad and Kevin Quackenbush.

In the first one, the rest of the team convinces Francoeur that teammate Jorge Reyes is deaf – a ruse that went on for more than a month. That video has more than 1 million views on YouTube.

In the second video, posted recently, teammates lock Francoeur in the bathroom, forcing him to crawl through the ceiling in order to escape.

Needless to say, the addition should liven things up during an otherwise dismal season.

As for his on-field acumen, Francoeur has a .268 career batting average. He won a Gold Glove in 2007 while with Atlanta, also driving in more than 100 runs in both ’06 and ’07.

He hit .294 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs for El Paso this season.

Francoeur was released by the Cleveland Indians before the start of the season and signed a minor-league deal with the Padres in March.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Padre Beats Padres]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:55:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cubs_2014_34.jpg

While Padres bats remained silent, a former Padre's was not. Anthony Rizzo homered in the third and seventh innings, pacing the Cubs to a 6-0 victory. He now leads the National League with 25 home runs. It was the Friars 15th shutout loss of the season.

Padres starter Eric Stults (3-12) took the loss. He labored through five innings on a sticky Chicago night. Stults gave up three runs on six hits, yet managed to strike out seven Cubs batters. Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks (1-0) pitched seven strong innings and in the process the rookie bagged his first major league win.

Game two of the three game series is under the lights Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Head to 'Friendly Confines']]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:40:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/yasmani+grandal+cubs+preview.jpg

There’s a line from the classic movie “Dazed and Confused” where the junior high teacher responds to kids who are trying to leave class early in order to avoid getting beat up by the high school seniors: “It's like our sergeant told us before one trip into the jungle. Men, 50 of you are leavin' on a mission, 25 of ya ain't comin' back.”

That has to be how the current Padres roster is feeling after seeing two teammates traded away in the past week, and more changes potentially coming before next week's non-waiver trade deadline.

As they embark on a seven-game road trip, they face a foe in the Chicago Cubs who are no stranger to playing for "next year." Currently in last place in the National League Central, the Cubs are now 17 games under .500 after losing five straight and eight of their last 10. Needless to say, neither of these teams are making postseason plans.

But there’s always next year and beyond, something the Friars are squarely focused on as they continue to reshape their roster for the future. At least they get to spend the week at the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field.

Let’s look at the upcoming series.

Tuesday, 5:05 p.m.:
Eric Stults (L, 3-11, 4.98) vs. Kyle Hendricks (R, 0-0, 6.00)
Stults leads the league in losses, but has allowed just seven earned runs in his last four starts. Hendricks is making just his second big league start, allowing four runs in six innings in his debut.

Wednesday, 5:05 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 7-9, 3.62) vs. Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 0.00)
After allowing just two earned runs in his previous three starts, Kennedy gave up four in five innings against the Mets over the weekend. Wada pitched five scoreless innings in his MLB debut.

Thursday, 5:05 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 8-10, 2.70) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.61)
Ross has allowed just seven earned runs in his last six starts. Meanwhile, Jackson has coughed up 12 runs in his last nine innings of work and hasn’t won in over a month.

What’s at stake: Well, not too much. The teams split a series at Petco Park earlier this year and this is the last meeting between the two, so the season series is on the line. The Cubs are trying to avoid the worst record in baseball – they lead the Rangers and Rockies by a game. Aaaaand, that’s about all to look forward to in this battle of trade deadline sellers.

Who to watch:
Catcher Yasmani Grandal is starting to heat up with homers in his last two games. He is now second on the team with nine, but still sports an ugly .214 batting average. Outfielder Seth Smith had four hits over the weekend and leads the current roster with 11 homers and 29 RBIs (Headley has driven in 32 runs). Infielder Chris Nelson has four hits in his first 10 at-bats since his call-up from Triple-A last week.

Cubs: Former Padres prospect Anthony Rizzo leads the team with 23 homers is tied for the team lead in RBIs (53) with fellow All-Star Starlin Castro. Outfielder Justin Ruggiano is hitting .362 in July. Recent call-up Arismendy Alcantara has 10 hits in his first eight games in the majors.

Coming up: The Padres head south to Atlanta for a four-game series against the Braves this weekend before coming home to face the St. Louis Cardinals and Braves again next week.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chase Headley Traded to Yankees]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:29:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chase+headley+traded.jpg

The Padres continued their push to build for the future, trading away veteran third baseman Chase Headley to the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

Headley, 30, has played his entire career with the Padres, who selected him in the second round of the 2005 first-year player draft.

Immediately after news he'd been traded, he sent this message to fans via Twitter, "I would just like to thank the @Padres and the city of San Diego for the best years of my life. I'm excited to join the Yankee organization!"

It's the second big trade for the Friars, which also dealt closer Huston Street to the Angels over the weekend.

The Padres will get infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-handed pitcher Rafael De Paula in exchange for Headley and cash considerations.

After a rough start that included some time on the disabled list, Headley picked it up as of late, hitting .323 in July. His was still hitting just .226 overall on the season.

Headley will be a free agent after this season, so the Yanks are basically renting him out for the rest of the year.

His breakout year came in 2012, when he led the league with 115 RBIs and earned both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers' New Levi's Stadium Sees First Arrest]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:47:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP807363826924.jpg

Eric Johnson now owns the title for being the first person arrested at Levi's Stadium.

The 51-year-old Watsonville man was "spotted wandering inside" Levi's Stadium, the 49ers' new $1.3 billion football palace in Santa Clara, at about 6:45 a.m. on July 15, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Security officers detained Johnson for trespassing, and then discovered that he had an arrest warrant out in San Mateo County. He was booked into jail and released the next day, the newspaper reported.

Technically, an unidentifed construction worker was the first person arrested at the stadium site, but Johnson's arrest was the first bust at the completed Levi's Stadium.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[WNBA Coach Michael Cooper has Tongue Cancer]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:24:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP13030709140.jpg

Atlanta Dream coach Michael Cooper has early stage tongue cancer and has taken a leave from the WNBA team.

He will have surgery this week at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta and a full recovery is expected, the Dream said Monday.

The 58-year-old coach is expected to miss about two weeks, with assistant coach Karleen Thompson filling in. Atlanta plays at Minnesota on Tuesday.

"I'm fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection," Cooper said. "I know the team will be in good hands with coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon."

Cooper is in his first season with Atlanta. His team leads the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record. He coached the East to a 125-124 overtime victory at the WNBA All-Star game Saturday.

Cooper won five NBA titles as a shooting guard with the Los Angeles Lakers during the "Showtime" era from 1978-90. As a coach, he won two WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks and one NBA Development League championships with Albuquerque.

After his second run with the Sparks, Cooper was hired as the women's coach at Southern California. He resigned in March following an 11-20 season, his first losing mark in four seasons.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Which Other Padres Could Be Traded?]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:34:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/chase+headley+trade+deadline.jpg

Another veteran Padres player was traded on Tuesday, as Chase Headley was shipped to the New York Yankees for a pair of prospects.

He follows Huston Street, who was sent to the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.

The question now is whether the Padres are done making moves before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Who else could be out of a Padres uniform before next week’s deadline? Let’s look at the feasibility for some of the most talked-about names.

Chris Denorfia: A free agent in the offseason, Deno offers some flexibility in that he can play all three outfield positions. He doesn’t have the power most AL teams would covet (he set a career high with 10 homers last year) but offers a solid career .275 batting average and a wealth of experience. The Blue Jays are also looking long and hard at Denorfia and would probably be his destination when he is dealt. The question is whether Toronto would want both of these guys and if they have enough to give up in return.

Carlos Quentin: He might be the biggest name in the lineup, but that doesn't make him the most desirable. His injury history and no-trade clause make Quentin a bit tougher to move. He hasn't done himself any favors even when healthy, putting up a paltry four homer and .176 batting average in 47 games this season. Potential suitors would most likely come from the American League, where they can DH his bad knees and fielding. Perhaps the Royals?

Ian Kennedy: What an interesting situation this rotation has become. Kennedy has turned it on over the past two months, showing the form that made him a 21-game winner a few years ago. That has also coincided with rookies Odrisamer Despaigne and Jesse Hahn earning spots in the rotation with some quality outings. There’s no shortage of contending teams who would love to have another solid starting pitcher. The Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners, among others, have shown interest. The question is if it’s in the Padres’ best interests to give him up.

Joaquin Benoit: Here is another intriguing option. It wouldn’t make sense to deal away your closer, then turn around and trade away the heir to the ninth inning – and only guy in the bullpen with any real closing experience. But the asking price is high for Benoit, who is owed $8 million this year and next. Will a team like the Pirates or Indians pay for a solid back-inning guy to solidify their bullpen? Or will the Tigers swoop in and deal for the guy they let go in the offseason? Can the Padres afford to lose another top-line reliever? The way this bullpen has been shutting opponents down, they might be able to afford to take a chance with some unproven guys and regroup in the offseason.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aviators Clinch a Playoff Spot]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:42:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Aviators0720_1200x675_310215747911.jpg NBC 7's Jim Laslavic reports on the win by the Bryan Brothers Sunday.]]> <![CDATA[Woman, 105, Makes History With First Pitch ]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 17:22:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres-Pitch-Agnes-0721.jpg

Agnes McKee's birthday celebration wasn't just a first for her. It was also a first for Major League Baseball.

At 105, McKee threw out the first pitch before Sunday’s San Diego Padres game and became the oldest person ever to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

“I haven’t thrown a ball in years,” she said before the game.

“I do Wii Bowling which we do like this,” she said gesturing. “So it’s the same thing.”

“Other than that, nothing on this scale have I ever done before,” she said.

McKee said she was a bit nervous about the throw, but said all pitchers have trouble with control.

She used a walker to make it to the pitchers’ mound and tossed a respectable underhanded throw to catcher Rene Rivera.

The Padres say the idea to have McKee mark her July 16 birthday with the first pitch was sparked by the staff at her retirement living community.

It may have been her first Padres game (her husband was the baseball fan in the family) but it wasn’t her first memorable birthday celebration.

Five years ago, she went skydiving at an indoor facility.

As far as the future, McKee said she’d like to achieve another “first.” Her new goal is to bowl a perfect game on Wii Bowling.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Nearly Snap No-Hitter String]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 19:14:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/164*120/452440448.jpg

As a franchise, the Padres have played 7,264 regular season games (and 34 more in the playoffs). Sunday at Petco Park, the Friars came awfully close to recording their first no-hitter in a 2-1 win over the New York Mets.

Odrisamer Despaigne, the native Cuban making his fifth career MLB start, lost his no-no with two outs in the 8th inning against the Mets. Up until that point, he sure had no-no stuff.

"Once you get past the 6th, I think there's a legitimate chance," said Padres manager Bud Black. "I thought he was throwing well enough to think, hey, it could happen."

Despaigne finally surrendered a double to Daniel Murphy, then went from thinking "I could make history!" to realizing "I could take the loss!"

David Wright followed with a single to score Murphy, and the game was tied 1-1. You see, the Padres offense had only scored once, on a solo home run in the 4th inning by catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has gone deep in back-to-back games.

Despaigne's outing was the fifth-longest no-hit outing in Padres history.

After he left, Alex Torres was able to keep Wright from scoring, so Despaigne finished the day allowing two hits, one run, striking out five, and getting a no-decision.

The Padres won with two outs in the 9th inning when Seth Smith hit a comebacker to Mets pitcher Josh Edgin, who fell over trying to field the soft grounder and gave Smith just enough time to beat the throw to first base as Cameron Maybin scored the winning run.

The Padres took two of three games from New York, and now hit the road for a seven game road trip that starts Tuesday in Chicago against the Cubs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ross Pitches Padres Past Mets]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 22:05:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/tyson+ross+dodgers+preview+all+star.jpg

Tyson Ross is pitching like an All-Star. He threw a gem Saturday against the Mets, striking out six over seven innings notching his 8th win of the season.

In their 6-0 win the Padres played their version of home-run derby. Yasmani Grandal hit a 440-foot solo shot in the 2nd. Will Venable homered in the fourth and Seth Smith hit his eleventh of the year in the sixth.

The Padres and Mets finish off the series Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Trade All-Star Closer]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 00:35:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/495673647.jpg

Three weeks ago, the Padres let general manager Josh Byrnes go, and team executive chairman Ron Fowler declared with emphasis, "This is not a fire sale!"

But on Friday night, it sure felt like a fire sale was starting.

The Padres traded 2-time All-Star Huston Street, the most efficient closer in baseball this season and arguably their best player, to the Los Angeles Angels for a package of four minor league prospects. The Friars will also send minor league pitcher Trevor Gott to the Angels.

For Street, the news was not a surprise.

"Blackie (manager Bud Black) called down during the game and said, hey, didn't want you to be caught off guard why we're not using you here, but there's some stuff going on," said Street. "He didn't really have to tell me much more than that."

Street said the organization kept him in the loop on trade talks as much as it could, something he appreciates. He could become a free agent after the season, and didn't rule out the possibility of returning.

"I love this place," said Street. "I'd come back. Obviously, when you have personal success, you have great memories, but I signed back here during the 2012 season because I believed we can win. I still believe this team can win. It's been three of my favorite years of my life."

So, is this just the beginning of the Padres trade season?

"We have to make that assessment, almost, day by day," said Assistant General Manager A.J. Hinch, who is one of three people handling the G.M. duties while the Padres search for a replacement for Byrnes. "The reality is, we're plenty of games under .500 that we've got to balance the here and now with what we can get moving forward. How many does that mean? I don't know. In this particular deal we felt like it was something we had to move on, given the talent we're getting back."

And what is that talent they're getting back? A haul of minor leaguers regarded as the top of the Angels system.

Second baseman Taylor Lindsey, relief pitcher R.J. Alvarez, shortstop Jose Rondon and starting pitcher Elliot Morris are all now part the San Diego system. However, none of them will join the big league club yet.

Lindsey is a 2nd baseman with Triple-A Salt Lake City who some scouts think can develop in to a solid run producer. In 75 games for the Bees, he hit .247 with eight homers and 30 runs batted in. Lindsey did miss three weeks last month after suffering a concussion, but Padres assistant General Manager A.J. Hinch said the Padres are not concerned.

"We did a thorough exam and feel very comfortable with the medical review," said Hinch.

Lindsey will report to Triple-A El Paso.

Alvarez is a right-hander with an electric arm, showing off a fastball that hits 100 miles per hour. He's only allowed one earned run in 27.0 innings with Double-A Arkansas.

However, he also missed more than a month with tenderness in his pitching elbow. Since coming off the disabled list he's pitched 9.0 innings, striking out 10 while only allowing five hits. He'll head to San Antonio.

Rondon is a Venezuelan-born shortstop who has a knack for putting the ball in play for Single-A Inland Empire. He's currently 5th in the California League with a .327 batting average. Rondon recently played in the MLB Futures Game at Target Field in Minnesota. Although his defense at shortstop is above-average, the Padres just used their first round pick on Trea Turner, so Rondon might be used as a utility-type player of start learning the outfield. He'll join Lake Elsinore.

Morris was the Angels' 4th round pick from 2013. This year he was promoted to the California League, where he's gone 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA in nine starts. The Padres think he can continue to develop as a starting pitcher. Morris will join Rondon with the Storm.

Ramona native Nick Vincent will re-join the Padres on Saturday to take Street's spot on the 25-man roster.

For now, Joaquin Benoit (who took the loss when he gave up a 9th inning run in Friday night's 5-4 loss to the Mets at Petco Park) will take over the closer's role, something he did admirably in Detroit in 2013. At least, for now he will. Benoit has also been the subject of trade talks, along with 3rd baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Carlos Quentin.

With 13 days to go until the MLB trade deadline, almost anyone could be on the move. Or not.

"We've got a lot of good players that teams have asked about," said Hinch, "but that doesn't mean we're just open to trading everyone."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Anybody Score at Petco This Weekend?]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:12:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/despaigne+mets+preview.jpg

Everybody knows about the Padres' struggles at the plate this season. This is a lineup that's hitting just .214 on the season – 23 points worse than any other team in the league.

We also know their pitching has been lights out. It kept them in last weekend's series with the Dodgers by allowing just seven runs in four games. Unfortunately, they lost three of those -- two by a score of 1-0 and another 2-1 -- and are reeling as they come out of the All-Star break.

They welcome a New York Mets team with many of the same problems -- solid pitching but a lineup that ranks 26th in batting average and 28th in slugging.

So, will anybody be able to score this weekend? Let's break down the series.

Friday, 7:10 p.m.:
Ian Kennedy (R, 7-9, 3.47) vs. Bartolo Colon (R, 8-8, 3.99)
Kennedy has allowed just two earned runs over his past three starts. He threw eight scoreless and struck out eight Dodgers last weekend but go a no-decision in a – you guessed it – 1-0 loss. Colon gave up just two runs in 7 1/3 innings in a win over the Padres last month.

Saturday, 5:40 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 7-10, 2.85) vs. Dillon Gee (4-1, 2.56)
That’s now five straight quality starts for Ross, with just one win to show for it. Gee can top that with six straight QS, allowing just six runs total in that stretch.

Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35) vs. Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90)
OD picked up his first career loss over the weekend despite pitching seven strong innings allowing seven hits and two runs without walking a batter. It looks to be another pitcher’s duel as Wheeler has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts.

What’s at stake: Man, that Dodgers series hurt. The Padres were within 10 games of the division lead before losing three of four to fall 12 back at the break. That probably cemented their spot as sellers in the trade deadline market, so expect some names to get moved over the next few weeks.

Hopefully the four-day break helped heal some wounds, as the Padres have gaping holes due to injuries.

Surprisingly, the Mets have pulled themselves out of the standings gutter and stand just seven games back of the division and wild card leads. Will they have enough to compete with Atlanta and Washington at the top of the NL East? At least they’re in the conversation.

The Mets took two of three in Queens earlier this year. This is the last time the teams will see each other this season.

Injury Report:

Manager Bud Black shed some light on the rash of Padres injuries. First, he said Tommy Medica would be able to pinch hit tonight, but probably not run.

"We're hoping he can hit it over the fence so he can jog around the bases," Black joked.

As for the more serious injuries, Jedd Gyorko (foot) will play in Fresno this weekend, but is probably at least a week away from returning. Everth Cabrera (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment as early as Monday. First baseman Yonder Alonso will play this weekend in Arizona. Andrew Cashner (shoulder) will start a throwing program this weekend, but there's still no time table for his return.

"It's always good when hurt players are playing again," Black said.

Who to watch:
Left-fielder Seth Smith was the star of the first half in this lineup and continues to swing a hot stick – hitting .370 with a pair of homers – in July. Ditto third baseman Chase Headley, whose .327 average in July is more than 100 points higher than any other month this season. Outfielder Alexi Amarista has hits in eight of his last 10 games.

Mets: Second baseman Daniel Murphy ranks third in the National League with 113 hits. He also leads the team with 56 runs scored and has a hit in six of his last seven games. First baseman Lucas Duda leads the team with 14 homers and 47 RBIs. He’s hitting .323 in his last 10 games. Eric Young Jr. is among the league leaders with 25 stolen bases despite hitting just .236 on the season.

Coming up: The Padres hit the road for a week after this, visiting the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves before returning home to face the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fox, MLB Explain Tony Gwynn Snub]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:04:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/padres-117051221.jpg

Padres and Major League Baseball fans are still fuming that Tony Gwynn was not mentioned during the 2014 All-Star Game.

Gwynn died June 16 after a battle with salivary gland cancer. He was only 54.

Fox and Major League Baseball released a joint statement in response to the criticism.

The statement says in part:

"The Baseball family has sadly lost a number of people this year--including Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, Frank Cashen, and former All-Stars Jerry Coleman, Jim Fregosi and Don Zimmer--and did not want to slight anyone by singling out one individual."

Gwynn spent his entire 20-year career with the San Diego Padres from 1982-2001.

He finished with a .338 career batting average and 3,141 hits.

The 15-time All-Star coached baseball at his alma mater, San Diego State, after he retired from MLB.

Photo Credit: MLB Photos via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Midseason Report Card]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:50:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/midseason+grade+street.jpg

As we get catch our collective breath over the four-day All-Star break, it’s a good opportunity to look back at a first half on a Padres season filled with ups and downs, sadness and hope.

Off the field, we lost two true Padres legends in Jerry Coleman and Tony Gwynn. We also have the prospect of a new general manager, which fans hope will be a reason for optimism – although time will only tell.

On the field, the season’s first half probably felt like a disappointment to most. This lineup not only couldn’t hit its way out of a paper bag, it would probably get tripped up while trying and end up on the disabled list. They rank dead last in the league in most major categories and could very well set all-time records for futility.

But really, if you look at where the Padres are in the standings right now – third place, not necessarily in the division hunt but less than 10 games out before the Dodgers debacle last weekend – that’s probably right around where we thought they would be, right?

As we gear up for the second half of the season, let’s dole out some grades based on production so far.

Top of the class
Tyson Ross:
He got a much-earned All-Star selection, even if he didn’t get to actually appear in the game (it seems nobody on the team does). Ross has been unhittable for a good part of the past two months. His seven wins are tied for the team lead and his 2.85 ERA is best among all starters except for the injured Andrew Cashner. With Cash sidelined for much of the year, Ross has taken the role of staff ace and run with it.

Seth Smith: It started with a pinch-hit home run in the season opener and continued with a red-hot .354 average in the month of May. Just imagine what this lineup would be like without his 10 homers, 73 hits and 42 walks. The longtime platoon player was rewarded with starter-like money when he signed a two-year extension last month. It was well deserved.

Huston Street: The other Padres All-Star earned his second trip to the Midsummer Classic in three years with a near-perfect first half. He blew just one of his 25 save chances while holding opponents to a miniscule .158 average, anchoring a bullpen that was the best in the league for much of the season. Now, if the offense can just work on getting some more leads to protect …

Above Average
The rest of the bullpen:
Take out Nick Vincent’s struggles while dealing with a shoulder injury and a few recent hiccups from Alex Torres and Joaquin Benoit and this bunch is near perfect. Who knows who will still be around at the end of the year – Benoit and Street are both the subject of trade rumors – but it’s hard to complain about much no matter who Bud Black calls upon from the ‘pen.

Rene Rivera: The longtime journeyman was kept on as a third catcher to start the season mostly because of his rapport with Andrew Cashner, but he has proven himself a worthy every day starter.  Rivera has already set career highs with six homers and 22 RBIs and earned rave reviews for his work behind the plate.

Odrisamer Despaigne and Jesse Hahn: The two rookies have been a pleasant surprise, winning a combined seven of their 11 starts and holding hitters under .200. The future is bright for both of these guys, assuming they can keep it up.

Ian Kennedy: His impressive stats have been lost in the shuffle of Ross and the rookies. If it wasn’t for an ugly stretch in June, his numbers would be on par with the best of ‘em and his first three starts of July – just two total earned runs allowed – bode well for the second half.

Passing Grade
Andrew Cashner:
What a frustrating year for the guy who was supposed to be “the guy” in this talented rotation. Remember that one-hitter against the Tigers back in April? Who knows how many more similar performances we would have seen if his arm hadn’t been bothering him. Here’s hoping the soreness is not too serious and Big Tex can get back on the mound soon. If nothing else, he brings a levity to the clubhouse that is always appreciated.

Jake Goebbert: He hasn’t done anything particularly spectacular since getting called up last month, but he hasn’t really been a liability at the plate while playing first base and outfield. In this lineup, we’ll take it.

Still Work to Do
Chase Headley: The high-priced third-baseman was flirting with disaster for much of the season, and that was before he got hurt. Thanks to a hot July – he’s at .327 for the month – Headley has brought his average up to .226. Along with seven homers, that’s at least respectable in this rag-tag lineup. 

Everth Cabrera: For the first few weeks of the season, it looked like the shortstop was going to build on last season’s All-Star selection as he hit over .300 out of the leadoff spot. Then he started drinking the same water as the rest of this lineup and the numbers sunk like a stone, bottoming out at .218 before a hamstring injury put him on the shelf. When he gets back, Cabrera can start by tempering that strikeout total – 81 Ks in 80 games is not a good ratio for a guy with just three homers.

Cameron Maybin: We didn’t even see him for the first month of the season, and he has managed to come up with some clutch hits since returning from the disabled list. But just nine RBIs in 171 at-bats is still confounding. Sure, base runners are at a premium on this team, but come on.

Epic fail
Carlos Quentin:
Yeah yeah, he’s been injured much of the year. But a team with a huge hole in the middle of the lineup can’t afford his lack of production. Four home runs and a .322 slugging percentage are just unacceptable.

Jedd Gyorko: Ditto for Gyorko, who signed a big contract to start the season, then went out and hit a buck-sixty-two while slugging a dismal .270 for the first half before going down with a foot injury. Hopefully the second-baseman will be back soon so he can prove himself in the second half.

Josh Johnson: Tommy John surgery ended his season – and Padres tenure? – before it even began. We can only lament about what might have been.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Cut Ribbon at Levi’s Stadium]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:44:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/07-17-2014-levis-ribbon-cutting.jpg

Barely four years after Santa Clara voters voiced their approval of a measure paving the way for bringing the San Francisco 49ers to the South Bay, the welcome mat is almost out for fans itching to get inside Levi’s Stadium.

The only thing missing is the yard lines painted on the field.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined 49ers brass, as well as representatives from Levi’s Strauss and the City of Santa Clara, for Levi’s Stadium’s formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday morning.

“It’s an important day for us,” Goodell said. “This is the type of infrastructure that’s important to the NFL overall.”

The $1.2 billion successor to Candlestick Park was originally supposed to cost $937 when Measure J passed in 2010, but the Santa Clara Stadium Authority ended up going a few hundred million dollars over budget in order to add a number of Levi’s Stadium attractions that would "enhance the fan experience."

“I’ve only been to home games at Candlestick, so it will definitely be a different experience for us,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a Q&A posted on the 49ers website.

Santa Clara voters’ passage of Measure J was the key moment in making the Levi’s Stadium a reality, according to York.

“Getting the public support and a resounding 60-40 victory, that was really when I felt like, ‘OK, this thing has a great chance,” York said. “And then the next big step was securing the financing, the construction financing. The two things that you really need are community support and funding. And those were the two really big pieces of this.”

A group opposing taxpayer subsidies for Levi’s Stadium, called Santa Clara Plays Fair, fought against Measure J, spearheading a campaign to collect more than 5,000 signatures as part of an ultimately unsuccessful effort to get the stadium project proposal back on the ballot after it passed.

Of the billion-plus dollars it cost to build the stadium, none of it came out of the city's general fund, Santa Clara city spokesman Dan Beerman said.

The city’s now-defunct state-funded redevelopment agency did put up $40 million in “seed money to show good faith and to make sure the rest of the funding could come through other means,” Beerman said.

The day's biggest ovation came for those who built the stadium: the 7,800 construction workers.

"It feels great," said Albert, a worker who spoke with NBC Bay Area. "I'm a big fan and it's a dream come true."

Two workers were killed during the Levi's Stadium construction process.

The team announced July 1 that season tickets for the 68,500-seat stadium’s inaugural season had sold out. Personal seat licenses, which fans are required to purchase before buying tickets in certain seats, cost between $2,000 and $80,000 apiece. Individual game tickets cost between $85 and $375. The seat licenses must be renewed each season, for a price of $850 to $3,750 a year, about twice the fee at Candlestick Park.

The first event to be held at Levi’s Stadium won’t be a 49ers game but a Major League Soccer match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC. The 49ers will host the first NFL preseason game at the new park on Aug. 17 against the Broncos, with the first regular season game scheduled for Sept. 14 against the Bears, a Sunday night game that will be broadcast on NBC.

Super Bowl 50 will be played at Levi's Stadium on Feb. 7, 2016.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Excitement Builds for 2014 Opening Day]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 07:35:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Del-Mar-Races-071714.jpg NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports from the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on Thursday, July 17, 2014. She talks with Craig Dado, Executive VP for DMTC. ]]> <![CDATA[McEnroe's Son Arrested for Drugs]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:11:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kevin+mcenroe.jpg

Kevin McEnroe, the 27-year-old son of tennis champion John McEnroe and actress Tatum O'Neal, was arrested in New York City after he was allegedly caught with dozens of oxycodone and morphine pills, authorities say.

McEnroe was arrested late Tuesday after an alleged drug exchange with another suspect on East Fourth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village, the district attorney's office said.

Police found 20 oxycodone pills and 10 morphine pills in an inner pocket in his jacket, according to the criminal complaint. 

McEnroe was arraigned on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance Tuesday and released on $5,000 bail. He's next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16. 

His attorney declined to comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter's All-Star Goodbye]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 05:12:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jeter-ASG-Goodbye-0715.jpg

The All-Star Game telecast opened Tuesday night with Fox’s Joe Buck surveying the impressive talent in the American League locker room as he made his way to the undisputed star among all stars: Derek Jeter. But the Yankees’ captain waved off the announcer, telling him, “We’ve got a game to play, bro.” 

His words, even if possibly scripted, offered a vintage Jeter moment: It’s never about him, it’s all about the game.
Jeter played his 14th and final All-Star contest Tuesday night, in what could be his farewell appearance before a major league-sized national TV audience, barring a Yankees playoff run. The bittersweet milestone marked the latest leg in a victory lap for the future Hall of Famer – and for baseball.
Like his longtime team mate Mariano Rivera, who earned a similar sendoff last year, Jeter emerged as a standout in the 1990s as the game rebounded from labor strife on the bulging backs of sluggers with a seemingly endless capacity to belt the long ball. But the home run heroics turned out to be an illusion fueled by witches’ brews, injected by cheaters who, hopefully, will never see Cooperstown.
Amid the cloud that hung over the game, Jeter shined, not as a slugger, but as player whose dirt-caked uniform testified to an all-out style that sent him flying into the stands after balls. His stats, especially in the post-season (a record 200 hits on the way to five World Series victories), speak to his clutch hitting. With Derek Jeter, there’s no room for illusion: What you see is what you get.
He gave us plenty to watch Tuesday. In the first play of the game, Jeter, at age 40 and in his 20th season, dove for a ball with the verve of a rookie. He later ran full steam as he laced a double in his first at bat and scored the game’s first run. Jeter added to his stature as one of the greatest to grace the diamond – among them his fellow shortstops Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken, Jr., who also embodied a love for the game with their ceaseless hard play and leadership, on and off the field.
Even amid the World Cup afterglow and the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, Jeter’s last All-Star berth on his way to his final Major League at bat provided a potent reminder of why baseball remains out National Pastime, a game equally capable of breaking hearts and sending them soaring. He transcends his storied franchise and the game, with a quiet class to which other players – and other sports – aspire.
Jeter is the kind of player who commands the respect of all who love baseball – even those of us who hate the Yankees. Cheers, from fans and rivals alike, filled Minnesota’s Target Field Tuesday as Jeter left the game at the top of the fourth inning.
Even the commercials packed an emotional punch: A spot for Jordan Brand featured everyone from Michael Jordan to Red Sox fans to Mr. Met tipping their hats to a player who helped mend his sport and will leave it stronger when he caps his career at the season’s end. Check out the clip below as baseball tips its cap to a player who wears No. 2, but ranks higher in the estimation of many who share his love – and respect – for the game.


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>