Friday, February 29, 2008

Estes roughed up, Padres rally not enough against KC

Left-hander Shawn Estes was looking forward to facing live hitters for the first time since 2006 and to be doing it in a Padres uniform.

Estes might have been a little too excited. The Padres' left-hander lasted only 2/3 of an inning, giving up 6 earned runs on 4 hits to go with 2 walks, though the defense behind him botching 2 potential double plays didn't help matters as the Padres lost the first game of spring training 13-9 against the Kansas City Royals of the AL Central.

Offensively, there were some bright spots. Jim Edmonds just missed a HR in the first inning and had an RBI double in the 3rd. Young prospects Will Venable and Matt Antonelli both connected on HR's for the Padres. Rule 5 pick Callix Crabbe also had himself a double and reached base twice. Edgar Gonzalez, older brother to Padres's 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez, had himself a good day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a walk and 2 RBI's

On Saturday, the Padres will face the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex. The start will go to left-hander Randy Wolf, who will be followed by right-hander Justin Germano who is scheduled for 2 innings.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

McAnulty deserves a chance

I know, I know, a lot of you are going to see the title and say "what is this guy thinking," but you're going to read it anyways aren't you?

I watched a lot of highlights and spoke to a lot of people who attended spring training last year and I kept hearing them say "I'm impressed with Paul McAnulty." I'd see a highlight of him running down a ball in the outfield, making an over the shoulder catch and really hitting the ball well. My first thought was, "he's going to force the Padres hand on this one." Well, he did, but not the way I had hoped.

PMac started the year in San Diego, but never got any regular playing time and only a few pinch hit appearances, a role he struggled to get used to. He was sent to Portland not long after, and that's where he remained for most of the season. Am I a big PMac fan? Absolutely. Does this make me biased? Maybe. I just think he earned a shot to show the Padres that he can be an every day guy.

A good friend of mine, and fellow Padre fan, Todd and I had a discussion about PMac earlier today, and I know he's going to shake his head at this article, but he disagreed with me that Mac was an every day player. He says Sledge outplayed Mac, and we all know how that experiment turned out. Not only did Sledge do absolutely NOTHING, but after having a hot first month, Jose Cruz Jr. didn't help matters much either. So, why not being Mac back up and give him the shot he earned during spring training?

I've come to the realization that Mac is probably more suited to the American League, especially with the DH, but I'll still be one of those fans that thinks he picked the short straw and, subsequently, got the short end of the deal. I'm hoping Mac will do the exact same thing that Jack Cust did after he was traded to Oakland, hit the cover off the ball. Cust was another one of those guys I wanted to see get a shot with the Padres, but I kept hearing that he was an inept outfielder. So, the Padres traded him to Oakland and Cust starting hitting HR's left and right, to the tune of 26 in 350+ at bats...not to shabby if you ask me.

So, if this is the last few days that we see Mac in a Padres uniform, I wish him nothing but the best to whatever team he moves on to. But, I hope, and I know I'm grasping at straws here, but if he hits the cover off the ball and plays great defense, I hope the Padres give him one more shot to prove himself.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton of Xtra Sports 1360 AM

Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton, a guy a lot of Southern California sports fans have come to know, some of them love him others do not, but he was nice enough to stop by and answer a few questions on the Padres.

Padres Blog: How much credit do you give Greg Maddux to the success of Jake Peavy in 2007?

Hacksaw: Peavy is passionate about his approach to pitching. I think pitching coach Darren Balsley has had a bigger impact on him in terms of mental approach to pitching.

Padres Blog: Kevin Kouzmanoff showed why he was so highly thought of in Cleveland. How good will his sophomore season with the Padres be?

Hacksaw: The Padres patience paid off. They worked with Kouzmanoff on going the other way with pitches. After dropping as low as .111, he hit over 300 the last three months of the season and grew into a patient hitter. The bigger surprise was his mobility at defense was better than anyone thought.

Padres Blog: Assuming Mark Prior will be 100% when he makes his Padres debut. How much stronger does he make the Padres rotation?

Hacksaw: Prior could be the wildcard for Padres if he can get back by June. They will be paitient in building up his arm strength. The Padres are saying he'll have five minor league rehab starts if there are no setbacks but it takes time. Look for Shawn Estes to be back before Prior. Prior is (42-29) in his career and he's still young enough to get healthy and contribute.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spring Training Notes: Tony Clark

Tony Clark, an addition that could turn out to be one of the most underrated moves this offseason, talked about being able to play for the Padres and on the NL West.

On playing for the Padres: "I'm looking forward to it. I grew up at Jack Murphy Stadium and had an opportunity to watch the Dave Winfield's, the Tony Gwynn's and Gene Richards of the world. Although I wasn't close to the field, I always wondered what it would be like to be on the same field with them. Now, having an opportunity to wear my hometown uniform and being able to be on the field at Petco Park, it's something me and my family are excited about."

On the NL West: "I know every year when I was in Arizona, we started the season expecting the season to come down to the last few weeks because all the teams were fairly well lined up. I don't expect this year to be any different, the team that can play the most consistant baseball, down the stretch especially, is going to seperate themselves and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't have an opportunity to be the last team standing when it's all said and done."

On his pinch hitting role with the team: "There's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes in to my job, whether it be in the video room, whether it be additional work in the cages or on the field. All in preperation for that one at bat, that one pitch late in the ball game, in hopes of taking the one swing that makes the difference. Each day is a little bit different, preperation is usually the same especially with respect to a team in a 3 or 4-game series when you have a history off some of those guys coming out of the bullpen. A lot of work, I find the less at bats you get, the more work you have to put in to try and be prepared for that one opportunity to make a contribution."

On how he handles a pinch hit in a big role: "You control the controllables. I can't control where the ball is going to go or if it's going to fall in. What I can control, what I just talked about, is my preperation prior to the at bat. So that when I get in the box, I have a game plan, and it's simply a matter of trying to execute that game plan to the best of my ability in hopes that he doesn't execute his as well as I execute mine. You can't control the outcome, but the preperation prior to the at bat is going to give you the opportunity to be successful in those situations."

Gabe Gross could be in Padres' plan

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Padres are still looking for more left field options, but their talks with the Cubs for Matt Murton fizzled out because the Cubs are wanting major league help in return.

That being said, another name that has popped up as a possibility is Brewers' outfielder Gabe Gross who is also getting interest from the A's and Indians.

As of right now, the Padres have Scott Hairston, Chase Headley, Jody Gerut and Jeff DaVanon vying for the LF opening. I'd imagine that Hairston is the odds on favorite to be the opening day starter, but don't count out Jody Gerut.

Padre fans still want the "big bat"

I listen to the sports talk shows out of San Diego, I listen to Padre fans call in and express their opinion on their team but the one thing I keep hearing that noone has been able to explain is the "we need a big bat in the lineup."

Every time I hear a fan call in and say "why can't we get a big bat," but I've yet to hear one name thrown out that the this team would legitimately be able to acquire. Then another question comes to mind, what's wrong with the bats this team already has?

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff .275 BA 18 HR's 74 RBI's...not good enough, ok let's try another name.
  • Khalil Greene .254 BA 27 HR's 97 RBI's...still not, hmm..ok, one more
  • Adrian Gonzalez .282 BA 30 HR's 100 RBI's

What exactly are you looking for Padre fans? Alex Rodriguez? If you want him, are you prepared to pay him $200M? Adam Dunn? Are you prepared for 160 - 180 strikeouts?

This organization has a plan they put in place when CEO Sandy Alderson came on board, they've followed that plan to the T and they're just starting to reap the benefits with guys like Chase Headley, Matt Antonelli and Wade LeBlanc. This team is going to be a team to be reckoned with in 2008, they have a pitching staff and bullpen that could be the strongest in the National League.

Be patient. I'm going to go out on a limb on this one but it's something I truly believe. In 5 years, the Padres and their fans will have celebrated a World Series title, the first in the team's history. When you ask? If you want me to throw out a year, how about 2010. So, please, if you want to come with the "we need a big bat" argument, be prepared with a name and what it's going to take for San Diego to land him, or just let this team ride with what they got.

Contributor to Pro Sports Beat

I've become the newest baseball writer for Pro Sports Beat. The site manager, Andrew Mitchell, was nice enough to ask me to come on board.

Check out the site and I hope you enjoy the baseball articles and everything else that Pro Sports Beat brings to the table.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Could Wade LeBlanc break into the rotation in 2008?

By now, all Padre fans know names like Shawn Estes, Glendon Rusch and Will Ledezma as far as names that could be the #5 starter in the rotation.

For those of you who pay attention to the minor league talent the Padres have, here's another name for you...Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc has been a guy that I got to watch when I made the 45-50 minute drive from Irvine up to Lake Elsinore to watch the Padres Single-A team, the Lake Elsinore Storm.

I remember the first Storm game I ever saw, LeBlanc was the starter for the Storm that night and he didn't disappoint. I got to talking to a few fans around where I sat, you could tell the ones who were repeat visitors because all I kept hearing was "keep your eye on this kid, he's the real deal." So, with that information, I kept track of him even after he was called up to AA San Antonio, leading the Missions to the Texas League Title in 2007.

Wade received an invitation to Padres spring training, and he's apparently opening eyes there as well. Padres' manager Bud Black is one of those people saying "He's got a big league pitch already," referring to the changeup that LeBlanc has picked up, a pitch the Padres have seen time and time again from closer Trevor Hoffman. Mad Friar's columnist Denis Savage also likes LeBlanc "when LeBlanc comes up, I do not expect him to go back down."

If you're going to keep your eye on one guy, keep the name Wade LeBlanc in the back of your mind. You might be seeing him sooner than you expect.

Denis Savage of Mad Friars

Denis Savage, who writes for, stopped by to talk about some of the players the Padre fans could look forward to seeing down the road.

Padres Blog: The name that I keep hearing about is Jody Gerut. Tell me a little about him and does he have a legit shot at making the Padres roster out of spring training?

Denis Savage: I actually got to see Gerut play all the way back in 2002 in Akron of the Eastern League - and remember nothing. What I do remember of Gerut during his time in Cleveland was a patient kid with some good pop. He wasn't a great fielder but had a pretty good arm. I think he is the odds on favorite to land a job. He has power, actually runs the bases pretty well, and will be a doubles machine with playing time in San Diego. You can't ask for more than that out of a fourth/fifth outfielder who can log some time in center. That insurance alone might be enough to get him the job.

Padres Blog: Tom Krasovic had a great article a few days ago on Paul McAnulty. I know there are some fans, myself included, who would love to see PMac get a legit shot at making the roster, but with all the outfield options the Padres have, is McAnutly just too far> on the outside?

Denis Savage: McAnulty is one of my all-time favorite people in the sport. I have had a chance to watch him grow up in the San Diego system for five years. There are few people as confident as him and fewer who have such a sweet swing. He falls out of bed and can hit the ball.
Last year, I truly believe, was an aberration. He battled injuries and got stuck in a mental funk he could not get out of. While he can hit, his defense is sub par. Not Jack Cust terrible but not averageat the major league level either. I think he gets picked up by an AL club and does some hitting to stick around for a while. It just won't happen in San Diego.

Padres Blog: Rule 5 draftee Carlos Guevara has been limited in spring> training due to a hamstring injury. Is he a guy the Padres need to> take a chance on regardless of his injury?

Denis Savage: You rarely see a kid with a screwball - so, yeah, I would love to see that since hitters just can't get a beat on the pitch. I saw him pitch in the Southern League in 2006 and this is a game I remember because I kept wondering who this kid was. He fanned five of the eight batters he faced and no one had a chance. Losing two weeks hurts, though, when you are auditioning for a bullpen spot. I just don't know if he can make up that time, and I fear he will try to do too much when he returns, resulting in Guevara overthrowing to make things happen.

Padres Blog: Let's shift to the minor leagues. Will Inman, Manny Ayala, Wade LeBlanc and Josh Geer. How quickly will we see any of the 4 names in a big league uniform?

Denis Savage: All of them have a great chance to contribute. LeBlanc gets the nod as the kid who will stick first but Geer may be the kid they initially call up with a shuttle back-and-forth to Portland punched early and often. When LeBlanc comes up, I do not expect him to go back down. Therefore, it might be late in the year. Ayala and Inman will both be in Double-A. Ayala had an injury late in the year andneeds more experience. He has a terrific changeup - better than Geer and a notch below LeBlanc. Inman had some mechanical problems and his velocity was way down last season. This season, I expect him to be the same pitcher the Brewers saw when he was in their farm.

Padres Blog: There had been a lot of talk about Matt Antonelli being able to play CF because of his speed. Are the Padres expecting him to see time in the outfield during spring training or is he strictly a 2nd baseman?

Denis Savage: Antonelli will be solely a second baseman during spring. He just got settled in the position last year, and the Padres want him to be comfortable there first. Don't, however, be surprised to see him get repetitions in center at Triple-A Portland. The fact is the 2009 centerfield free agency crop stinks, and there are no centerfield options in the farm system that are close to being ready. I expect Antonelli to eventually end up in center and have a long career. It will also open the door for one or two kids the Padres have in the farm that could be great second basemen.

Dan Hayes of the North County Times

Dan Hayes, who covers the San Diego Padres for the San Diego North County Times, gave me a few minutes on the Padres as spring training gets underway.

Padres Blog: If you had to guess on who the #5 starter will be when the 2008 season opens, who would that be?

Dan Hayes: Right now I'd say the leading candidate to open the season as the No. 5 starter would be Shawn Estes. I know the Padres were really impressed with him two years ago and he's finally healthy. At this point it's really a matter of Estes building up his arm strength. Justin Germano obviously could change this picture if he performs in spring training. He was outstanding in the first half of the year last year and gained a ton of experience. He's also feeling very comfortable in camp this year, which has to count for something. Still, I'm giving Estes the nod.

Padres Blog: Seeing pitchers go through their day-to-day routines, is there something you've seen in one guy that has surprised you?

Dan Hayes: I haven't seen enough of the pitchers yet to determine anything.

Padres Blog: If Carlos Guevara clears waivers, do you think he will have an impact on the Padres bullpen this year, and in what role ?

Dan Hayes: Carlos Guevara came to the Padres as a Rule 5 draftee. So he either sticks with the team out of camp or goes back to Cincinnati. Right now Guevara is injured with a hamstring strain, and although its good timing because its early in camp, it definitely can't be helping his chances. If he makes the squad you're going to see something very similar to the way the Padres handled Kevin Cameron last year. He's a rookie and the Padres will definitely ease him in because he's never pitched in the majors. The staff was very reluctant with Cameron last year and only changed his role late in the year out of necessity. Guevara has a great screwball and his fastball ---- said to be in the mid to high 80s ---- would be well-suited for Petco Park.

Padres Blog: How much of an impact do you see Jim Edmonds having on this Padres ballclub?

Dan Hayes: Edmonds' impact on the Padres is hard to determine at this point because it's completely dependent upon his health. All I can go off is based on discussions with him and the opinions of others. That said, the 37-year-old is very determined to prove that he's still a viable option. He talked about how his legs let him down last year and he focused heavily on strengthening them this offseason. If he can stay healthy and play 135-140 games Edmonds' will have a monster impact because he can provide strong center field defense and a good left-handed bat.

Padres Blog: Last question for me Dan and thanks for taking time out to answer them. Is this the last year for both Brian Giles and Trevor Hoffman as Padres?

Dan Hayes: Brian Giles' contract puts the Padres in a tough situation because he's due to earn $9 million next year or receive a $3 million buyout. He's obviously no longer the big home run hitter that he was when he originally signed this deal with the Padres. But the 2009 free agent class isn't looking strong and the Padres could have to fill out all three OF spots, with very little help coming from the minors at this point. So I could see Giles getting the buyout and coming back at a reduced rate. As forTrevor Hoffman, I know that he's going to have to prove that he's the same old Trevor this year. The team has Heath Bell in the wings and he's a much cheaper option at this point. But Hoffman wants to continue pitching, and if proves to be his consistent self, the team will be placed in a tough spot to let a perennial fan favorite walk away.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spring Training Notes: Chris Young

After a 9-8 record and a 3.12 ERA in 2007, Chris Young comes into the 2008 season more determined and 100% healthy. Having a guy like that behind NL Cy Young Award Winner Jake Peavy makes for a dangerous combination for the Padres.

On his first few days in camp: "Everything's been great, it's been smooth the first few days. It's been fun to be out here, seeing familiar faces, meeting new faces, just being out in the sun, great weather, being around all the guys again, it's been a lot of fun."

On his offseason: "Offseason was good, it went fast. We traveled a little bit. [Our family] relocated to San Diego so we spent some time trying to get moved in and set up which was a tedious process, but all in all it was a great offseason. I'm excited to be back on the baseball field."

On keeping healthy: "I've tried to continue the strength and conditioning program I've been on the past few seasons, incorporate a few new things, different aspects to help try to keep me healthy for a full season. I had a few setbacks last year. Really the main thing was my oblique injury. That's healed up, it's healthy now, it was something that might not have been preventable, so hopefully I can avoid that. I'm trying to strengthen my whole body and stay healthy."

On his All-Star selection: "It was a great experience. Just the way I got in, from the fan votes, seeing what the city of San Diego did, the community, the fans, the organization, my teammates, it was unbelievable the effort everybody went through to help get me there. It was a special experience, something I'll never forget especially for my first All-Star game. I hope to go back to many more, but if not, it's something I'll always remember and it was a wonderful experience."

On pitching at Petco Park: "That's a great question, 2 years ago I was pretty bad at home. I think no matter where I am, I try to pitch the same game, I don't change my game plan whether I'm at home or on the road I try to be the same pitcher."

Heath Bell: The successor to Trevor Hoffman?

When teammates like Josh Bard say “Heath Bell was the best relief pitcher in baseball last year," NL Cy Young Award Winner Jake Peavy says “He was our MVP,” and future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman says “The MVP of our bullpen, by far,” you must be doing a lot of things right.

Set up man Heath Bell was doing a lot of things right last season for the San Diego Padres. His list of achievements is staggering.

Among major league relievers:

  • Led in strikeouts (102)

  • Ranked fourth in wins (6)

  • Fifth in games (81)

  • Fifth in ERA (2.02)

  • Allowed .185 batting average overall

  • Allowed .157 batting average to right-handed hitters

  • Stranded 27 of 34 inherited runners

  • Had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 102/30

That's an impressive list, seeing as Bell was a first year Padre, not to mention having to pitch in almost half of the teams' games, but Bell is also getting a lot of talk with Padre fans about being the closer after the 2008 season. That's a lot of pressure to put on one guy's shoulders, especially when that guy sets up for one of the games best closers and a future Hall of Famer. I think he's got enough pressure on him already.

I know, when I first heard the name 'Heath Bell' when the Padres brought him on board last year, my first reaction was "who?" Now, he's a household name, not only in San Diego, but around all of major league baseball and should be for years to come.

The Swinging Friar gets plugged

For those of you who didn't see it, The Swinging Friar got plugged today by San Diego Union Tribune's Tom Krasovic.

So, a big thank you goes out to Mr. Krasovic for doing that.

Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune

As the Padres are just underway with their spring training routine, I thought I'd get the opinion of Union Tribune's Tom Krasovic on Jake Peavy, Tony Clark and others.

Padres Blog: There had been a lot of talk about the Padres possibly dealing catcher Michael Barrett. Were there ever any teeth to that rumor or is that still a possibility depending on the Padres need?

Tom Krasovic: There were teeth. Not large, sharp teeth, though. More like baby teeth. The Pirates had some interest but made it clear they weren't going to give up much. Same with the Devil Rays. I think it's all pretty much blown over. One thing to remember: The general state of catching in the majors and minors is awful, and in terms of catching, the Padres are a little better off down below than most clubs. So maybe they swing something down the road, but they do expect Barrett to hit more to his career norms this year, and they like the idea of Bard and Barrett sharing the load.

Padres Blog: We've seen what Jake Peavy can do on the mound, but are we just seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as what he's capable of?

Tom Krasovic: Yes, if you believe Woody Williams, who said Jake is just now figuring out some of the finer points of pitching. He's also heading into the typical prime years. It's also realistic to expect that Peavy will become more comfortable with the bigger games, now that he's done it a few times. But I don't think it's realistic for him to improve on his ERAs of 2004 and 2007. Too much luck involved there.

Padres Blog: In my opinion, the signing of Tony Clark is one of the most underrated moves this offseason, do you agree?

Tom Krasovic: It might end up being one of those late moves that looks great down the road. It's hard to find power for the bench, and Clark gives you power from both sides (as a right-handed hitter, though, he didn't inspire much confidence with Diamondbacks management last year). He also knows the division and the Diamondbacks. The Padres also got a little bit lucky. Everyone expected Clark to return to the Diamondbacks. The players and staff there love him, and Arizona really doesn't have a healthy backup to Conor Jackso. Early in the offseason, Arizona had offered him $3 million for two years; something broke down there (might revisit this in weeks ahead) and the Padres ended up getting him for $900k. The potential downside is that Tony won't get enough at-bats to keep his swing grooved.

Padres Blog: I know a lot of fans have heard the name Chase Headley this offseason, does he break camp as a Padre or do you think he needs seasoning in Portland?

Tom Krasovic: I think the Padres are more inclined to send him to Portland unless he knocks their socks off. Otherwise they are asking him to adapt simultaneously to major league pitching and a new position. No reason for them to rule it out. But I would put his chances at below 50 percent, though I do expect that he'll play for them in 2008.

Padres Blog: One guy that I'm interested in watching is Callix Crabbe, a player the Padres picked up in the Rule 5 draft. Does he have a legit shot at being a backup to Iguchi at 2nd base?

Tom Krasovic: Crabbe's chances improve if he shows he can play in the IF and the OF. In particular, SS and CF. The expectation is that he's a reliable second baseman. He would help his chances quite a bit if he shows he can do an adequate job at SS and CF. The utility and LF duels are intertwined, too. If Hairston shows he's ready, it will have a ripple effect in other competitions for jobs.

Estes feels strong

Shawn Estes described the pain he felt last year in his pitching elbow as "it felt like somebody took a nail gun and shot a nail into my elbow."

Almost 6 months later, Estes says he's feels stronger than he has in the last 2 years. He's throwing every other day, the same program as every other pitcher that has reported to camp and he's scheduled to throw in the first exhibition game against the Seattle Mariners a week from today. “I am throwing without limitations or restrictions,” Estes said yesterday. “The nail gun was taken away. It's back in the toolbox.”

Can he make the team? It really depends on what he shows the Padres' coaching staff over the next month and a half. My personal opinion, though I'd like to see Estes in a Padres uniform, says he's on the outside looking in. It may take a big effort from him to get it done, but I'm not looking past him just yet.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Headley will get a shot in left field

Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune reports, top prospect Chase Headley will get his shot to show the Padres that he can make the adjustment to being an outfielder.

Though Headley hasn't played a game in the outfield since his days at the University of Tennessee, it doesn't seem to have affected his confidence, “I'm coming in with the mentality that I'm trying to make this club,” he said. “I'd love to make this club and help it throughout the year.”

One Padre scout, who watched Headley take fly balls at Petco Park last month, says he'd be more a more competent outfielder than former Padre Ryan Klesko and current Rockie Matt Holliday, though neither is Gold Glove caliber defensively.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Outfield still an issue for the Padres

Now, I know a lot of you Padre fans have been scratching your head at the Padres' outfield since spring training last season. Here we are again, not real sure who the starter in left field is going to be or even if it's going to be a platoon situation.

The candidates are Scott Hairston, who really put the Padres in the position to face Colorado in game # 163, Chase Headley, a converted 3rd baseman who hasn't seen time in the outfield since his days at the University of Tennessee, Jeff DaVanon, a former Angel with injury problems, possibly Tony Clark, who has already taken fly balls in the outfield and a guy I was rooting for last season in Paul McAnulty.

Here's the problem I see. You have Jim Edmonds in center, if he goes down, who fills in for him? Hairston? I know Padre fans, myself included, aren't exactly thrilled at the idea of Hairston in center field. There had been talk about young 2nd base prospect Matt Antonelli possibly getting a look because of his speed, but he's never played the outfield.

How about right field? Brian Giles is coming off micro fracture surgery this past offseason and may not have the kind of speed and agility he used to have to cover the right center gap. Is he going to need a lot of help from Jim Edmonds?

As far as I'm concerned, Hairston is probably the shoe-in for the left field starting job, backed up by Jeff DaVanon until Chase Headley is ready. I think you need to have Headley start the year in Portland, let him see some game situations in left field and see how he reacts to those situations before you throw him out there in the big leagues. DaVanon has big league experience, as does McAnulty, but as much as I like the big guy I don't see him making the team. Mac is more fitted towards an AL club because of the DH.

The infield is going to be as good as any in the National League. Adrian Gonzalez (1st), Tadahito Iguchi (2nd), Kevin Kouzmanoff (3rd) and Khalil Greene (SS) rounding out the infield. I can't think of better guys to have behind ground ball pitchers like Greg Maddux, Chris Young and Randy Wolf.

This is going to be an exciting year for the San Diego Padres, one I think us fans will really enjoy!

Drew Macias signs minor league contract

When Tony Clark signed his 1-year deal with the San Diego Padres, they needed to make room on the 40-man roster, so they designated outfielder Drew Macias for assignment.

Macias cleared waivers and he signed a minor league contract with the Padres on Monday.

The first injury award goes to....

Well, we have the first injury casualty of spring training. The distinction goes to right-hander Carlos Geuvara who suffered a strained hamstring and will be limited for the next week to 10 days, which includes no bullpen work according to manager Bud Black.

Guevara was a Rule 5 draft selection back in December and figures to be in the mix to land one of the few bullpen spots remaining along with another Rule 5 pitching in Mike Gardner.

Tony Clark just 40 minutes away from title

Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Tony Clark spends his offseason as the assistant head basketball coach at Northwest Christian High School in Phoenix, AZ, his 7th season on the bench. They are set to face Thatcher High School in the Class 2A Arizona state basketball championship final on Saturday.

Even Tony's wife, Francis, gets into the action. She's not only a teacher at Northwest Christian but has also been the Varsity Girls' basketball coach for the past 3 years.

Though spring training workouts will be going on on Saturday, manager Bud Black will allow Tony to head to Phoenix for the championship game.

Spring Training Notes: Bud Black

Padres' manager Bud Black enters his sophomore season in 2008 after narrowly missing the playoffs in his rookie campaign.

Though there are new faces to the 2008 Padre ballclub, Black is no stranger to spring training and getting to know new faces.

On first day of workouts: "I thought everything went well. The pitchers look good, the catchers look great. I think everything that you can expect on the first day happened, everyone's excited. Good first day of work."

On his sophomore campaign: "A little bit different. Obviously I'm a little more in tune to what's going on around the complex, I know the players. It's a little bit different, but still it's a great day to be out here, it's exciting but it's baseball first and foremost."

On changes in the routine from last year to this year: "We're going to tweak a couple of things, but for the most part the daily schedule is going to run the same as last year. We felt that went really well so no need to make big changes.

On the 5th spot in the rotation: "We're excited about the depth in our rotation. The names that are going to be in the rotation are obvious. You look at Glendon Rusch, Shawn Estes, Tim Stauffer, Justin Germano. Those guys have a chance to break through and get into the rotation. It's a wide open competition, we're going to look at a lot of candidates but those 4 guys look to be out front right now.

On the bullpen: "We've got a pretty good bullpen, we led the league last year in most categories. There's some new guys to the organization, a couple of Rule 5 guys in Mike Gardner and Carlos Guevara that we're going to look at. A couple of guys who just came on board like Glendon Rusch, who has starter possibility, Jared Wells, who was in Portland last year, is a guy that a lot people think highly of. There are a number of candidates for a few spots in the bullpen. It's going to be highly competetive.

On Josh Bard and Michael Barrett: "Those guys are both solid major league catchers. I think you look at Josh, he does great job handling the staff, he hit well last year with runners in scoring position. He brings a lot of entagibles.

Michael Barrett handles the staff great as well. He didn't hit like we expected him to hit last year and he'd be the first to admit it. Offensively he's a guy that can do some damage, we think this year is going to be a little different year for Mike. He's got a good arm, blocks the ball well, defensively he's a solid catcher.

They both have some great attributes and we think it'll led itself to "winning catching" as we like to call it."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spring Training Notes: Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy comes into the 2008 season as the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, have we seen the best from him yet? Maybe time will tell.

He reported to camp last Thursday and covered topics like winning the Cy Young Award, Greg Maddux, Randy Wolfe, his new contract and becoming a full time San Diego resident.

On getting back into camp: "Always feels good to come back to spring training, fresh start, new year, a lot of new faces. We're baseball players and this is what we love to do, play baseball. It's always exciting these first few days of spring."

On winning the Cy Young Award: "That was special, there's no doubt. 2007 was a special year for the Padres as well as myself. That was last year, we're going to try and put that behind us, great offseason, but it's time to go, it's 2008 now. I'm going to try and get back out and do the same thing we did last year and help this ballclub win."

On Greg Maddux: "Having Greg around, no doubt, has made me not only a better pitcher but a better baseball player in general. Greg prides himself on being a great fielder, running the bases and hitting. Having him around to lean on and for advice, to ask him how to go about getting certain hitters out, to game planning, how to throw a certain pitch. Greg has helped, not just me, but everybody."

On the new pitching acquisitions: "I'm excited. Randy Wolf, I think, is going to add a lot as a left handed starter, when he's been healthy he's shown he's a very good major league pitcher. Hopefully get a healthy Shawn Estes back, he's been very good at times in the major leagues and hope to have him back ready to go. Obviously getting Mark Prior healthy, we all know what a healthy Mark Prior is capable of. We've got some young faces in and around this pitching staff, they can make a difference. I think we're going to be just fine."

On his new 5-year deal: "I'm very excited to be a San Diego Padre for the next 5 years. At the end of this contract it'll be 11 years as a San Diego Padre and that's pretty special to me and my family.

This organization drafted me and gave me a chance to play in the major leagues and we've went on to do some special things in this uniform. I hope it's another stepping stone towards some great Padre moments. My family and I are full time San Diego residents now and we couldn't be happier."

Welcome to A Padres Blog

To all you Padre fans out there..welcome to A Padres Blog, where we'll be keeping up with everything Padres during spring training and throughout the 2008 season. We'll also be doing interviews with local sports writers and also keeping up with the minor league system as well.

Enjoy and GO PADRES!