Tag:San Diego Padres
Posted on: September 9, 2010 2:07 am
 

Padres sweep Dodgers, Giant showdown next

SAN DIEGO -- Following a victory over German troops in Egypt during World War II in 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

And as they were saying in the San Diego clubhouse after sweeping the Dodgers with a 4-0 whitewashing on Wednesday night to regain traction following that vicious 10-game losing streak. ...

"The baseball season is long and there are ebbs and flows," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Our season, up until that point, was pretty steady. I think it's a tribute to our guys. We hit a bump in the road, and I thought our guys showed resolve. We pitched well, played sound defense and executed."

Their breath back, the first-place Padres now head into a colossal four-game, showdown series with San Francisco beginning on Thursday evening, a season hanging in the balance.

With the Giants losing in Arizona on Wednesday, the Padres pushed their NL West lead -- six games as recently as 12 days ago -- back up to two games.

The Padres have beaten San Francisco in nine of 11 games this season, but the Giants have undergone significant changes from what the Padres saw in April and May (Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Cody Ross, Madison Bumgarner).

The exclamation mark for the four-game series comes at the end, when aces Mat Latos and Tim Lincecum oppose each other on Sunday.

Latos, signed by Padres scout Joe Bochy, brother of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on Tuesday set a major-league record by working his 15th consecutive start in which he worked at least five innings with two or fewer runs allowed.

With the Giants on deck and a two-game lead in their grasp, it turns out that 10-game losing streak was not the end for the Padres. Given their sweep of the Dodgers, it probably was not even the beginning of the end.

But it clearly was the end of a beginning that saw them join the Yankees as the only teams in the game not to lose more than three in a row, the end of a beginning that was almost too smooth to believe.

Now, in whipping the Dodgers, the Padres looked like themselves again.

They won Wednesday's game behind six shutout innings from rookie Cory Luebke, 25, who was making just the second big-league start of his career. Just fill in the blanks by day, the pitching has been excellent. Black said Luebke will get the ball again for another start five days hence in Colorado.

The three-run sixth against Chad Billingsley was as good an indicator as anything that the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-th
eir-parts Padres were back: Lefty Will Venable dropped an opposite-field blooper down the left-field line for a single, speedster Everth Cabrera bunted for a hit and pinch-hitter David Eckstein beat out a bunt attempt when Billingsley threw late to third.

Bases loaded, speedy leadoff man Luis Durango dropped a two-run single into left. Then, slugger Adrian Gonzalez cracked a sacrifice fly.

"We're getting back to the way we play," Eckstein said.

"These are the things we've worked on because we knew we needed to do them," Black said. "When they go our way, it doesn't surprise us. We've worked on these things as far back as February."

Gonzalez, in a conversation before the game, said that the first several games of the losing streak was simply business as usual for the Padres -- they were playing sound ball but were simply losing. Toward the end of the streak, though, Gonzalez said he could see some of the players pressing. That eased immensely, he said, with the first two wins over the Dodgers.

So ... a new beginning for the Padres?

"We hope so," Eckstein said. "We're not going to answer that question until we clinch or don't clinch, because we'll hear about it the rest of our lives if we don't. We just have to focus on playing our game."

Likes: Trevor Hoffman earning career save No. 600. Congratulations to a man who has had a very difficult season but remains pure class. ... Former Cincinnati ace Gary Nolan visiting with the Reds in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. ... Intense scoreboard watching every night now. ... The portable iPod players. It's given yet another new life to my iTouch. Reds manager Dusty Baker has one that travels with him -- it's usually queued up in the manager's office -- and he jokes that it's his "roommate." ... The Arcade Fire's new disc, The Suburbs. ... Digging this season of Mad Men. ... Ah, back to school. A young lady was wearing this T-shirt in the St. Louis airport the other day: "We didn't come to college to find our husbands. We came to find our bridesmaids."

Dislikes: The Dodgers are playing like they've quit. Totally disinterested. ... Arizona manager Kirk Gibson being stung by a scorpion at his Arizona home this week. Among the only things more disgusting than scorpions are tarantulas. ... Human beings continue to get larger and larger with each generation. Airplane aisles continue to get smaller and smaller. The future of air travel? I don't even want to know. Let's just say that the larger people and smaller aisles are going to clash pretty badly here in a few years.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Everyone I know
"Everywhere I go
"People need some reason to believe"

-- Jackson Browne, Running on Empty

 

Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:09 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 10:11 pm
 

Padres' Hairston Jr. to go on DL

The first-place Padres have met every challenge tossed their way this summer, and now another big one is in front of them: Jerry Hairston Jr. is expected to be out of the lineup for at least two weeks with a strained right elbow, and he said it might be three or four weeks until he's back to full strength.

Hairston underwent an MRI exam in San Diego on Friday. He is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list sometime before Saturday afternoon's game against Philadelphia and replaced on the roster by Everth Cabrera, the young infielder who was optioned out when the Padres acquired Miguel Tejada last month.

"I was worried," said Hairston Jr., hitting .249 with a .305 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 50 RBI this season. "It could have been a lot worse."

Hairston Jr. might have become the Padres' most indispensible man this side of Adrian Gonzalez during sparkplug David Eckstein's month-long stint on the disabled list. He plugged second base nicely while Eckstein was recovering, just the latest evidence of a job well done in 2010.

His 101 starts this season have been far-flung: He's started 53 games this season at shortstop, 41 at second base, four in right field, two in left field and one at third base. He's also batted leadoff a team-high 47 times.

Manager Bud Black said the Padres would be "monitoring" Hairston Jr. and called the injury a "cumulative" one. Meaning, Hairston Jr. wasn't injured on one play.

"The last six weeks it's really started bothering me," Hairston Jr. said. "And it just got worse."

It didn't help his peace of mind that he was en route to Friday's MRI exam when he heard the devastating news that similar tests showed a torn ligament in the elbow of Washington ace Stephen Strasburg. Hairston, though, eluded that sort of terrible news.

He will not throw for two weeks and then, he said, "we'll see where I'm at."

The Padres are contemplating whether to place him on the disabled list.

"I can still hit," he said.

Even at that, the Padres do not want to take any chances. As such, they had Cabrera on a plane Friday night. Cabrera, 23, is a solid fielder who was struggling offensively when they sent him to Triple-A Portland to make room for Tejada. In 63 games with the Padres this season, Cabrera was hitting .205 with one homer, 22 RBI and eight steals.

Hairston Jr. would be eligible to return from the disabled list on Sept. 11, the third day of a four-game series against NL West rival San Francisco.

 

Posted on: July 31, 2010 1:06 pm
 

Cards land Westbrook & Padres Ludwick in 3 way

Two National League contenders strengthened themselves impressively for the stretch run with one bold three-way trade on Saturday, with St. Louis acquiring right-handed pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, San Diego landing hard-hitting outfielder Ryan Ludwick from St. Louis and the Indians receiving a couple of prospects from the Padres, including Double-A pitcher Corey Kluber, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.

While Cleveland rebuilds, the Cardinals and Padres, two clubs with serious playoff aspirations, landed exactly what they needed.

In Westbrook, the Cardinals gain a solid starter who adds significant depth to a rotation that will nevertheless continue to live and die with co-aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

A veteran right-hander who missed most of 2008 and 2009 following Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, Westbrook bounced back to make the opening day start for Cleveland in 2010 and has gone 6-7 with
a 4.65 ERA over 21 starts.

The Cardinals have been searching for a starter because things have been in flux in the rotation after Carpenter and Wainwright. Rookie Jaime Garcia has been sensational, but there is concern over his workload. Kyle Lohse has been out for much of the season due to a forearm injury. And Brad Penny has battled various nagging injuries.

Lohse has made an injury-rehabilitation start and the Cardinals hope he will return to the rotation in a few weeks.

"There is a better expectation [that he'll be good]," Cards manager Tony La Russa told reporters recently in St. Louis. "He's feeling really normal, and he says he likes the way he's responding."

In Ludwick, the surprising Padres got what they have been searching for: An outfielder who will help add pop to a sluggish offense. Ludwick is hitting .281 with 11 homers and 43 RBI for the Cardinals this year, and his defense is very underrated. In that department, he fits perfectly into a Padres team that is strong with the gloves and whose pitching staff leads the majors in ERA.

The Padres are sending Kluber to the Indians and minor-league right-hander Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals.

Posted on: July 31, 2010 12:31 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2010 12:53 pm
 

Cards, Indians, Padres three-way nears completion

Locked in a battle with Cincinnati in the NL Central, the Cardinals are on the verge of a deal to fortify their rotation with right-hander Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, but there's a twist:

San Diego is engaged with those two clubs and has become part of an expanded trade that will send Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres, Westbrook to the Cardinals and Double-A pitcher Corey Kluber from San Diego to Cleveland, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com.

The deal is very near completion, according to sources, and the Indians scratched Westbrook from his scheduled Saturday start against Toronto 40 minutes before game-time.

Among other things, the deal would have to approved by league officials and the players' union. That step is necessary because there is a significant amount of money involved: Westbrook is due roughly $3.2 million of his $11 million 2010 deal, plus clauses in his contract call for him to receive a $2 million bonus if traded plus the last year of his contract also is prorated by $1 million if he's dealt.

Westbrook is in the final season of a three-year, $33 million deal.

A veteran right-hander who missed most of 2008 and 2009 following Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, Westbrook bounced back to make the opening day start for Cleveland in 2010 and has gone 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA over 21 starts.

The Cardinals have been searching for a starter because things have been in flux in the rotation after aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Rookie Jaime Garcia has been sensational, but there is concern over his workload. Kyle Lohse has been out for much of the season due to a forearm injury. And Brad Penny has battled various nagging injuries.

Lohse already has made an injury-rehabilitation start and is due back within a few weeks.

"There is a better expectation [that he'll be good]," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told reporters recently. "He's feeling really normal, and he says he likes the way he's responding."

The surprising Padres have been searching for an outfielder who will help add pop to a sluggish offense and Ludwick would help on several fronts. He's hitting .281 with 11 homers and 43 RBI for the Cardinals this year, and his defense is very underrated. In that department, he would fit perfectly into a Padres team that is strong with the gloves and whose pitching staff leads the majors in ERA.

Posted on: July 30, 2010 4:42 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 9:07 pm
 

Pirates fielding inquiries on Paul Maholm

One day after adding veteran infielder Miguel Tejada, the first-place Padres are on a mission to add a starting pitcher and they're talking with the Pirates about acquiring left-hander Paul Maholm, a source with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com.

A handful of other clubs in search of pitching, including the Dodgers and Mets, are believed to be engaging the Pirates in talks as well. No deal appears close -- early Thursday evening, one source with knowledge of the talks described the Pirates-Padres conversations as "mild", while a second source described them as "less than mild."

The Padres lead the majors in pitching and are casting a wide net for another starter because they are concerned about running short during the stretch run. Youngsters Mat Latos and Wade LeBlanc each will be closing in on his career-high in professional innings pitched by September, and the Padres are watching that closely.

In a threadbare starting pitching market, Maholm is 6-9 with a 4.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Pirates this season, with 62 strikeouts and 45 walks in 125 1/3 innings.

One attractive facet of acquiring Maholm: He's signed through 2011, with a club option for 2012. He's due the pro-rated portion of his $4.5 million salary the rest of this summer and $5.75 million in 2011. The club option for 2012 is $9.75 million, or a $750,000 buyout.

As for the Pirates, one source with knowledge of their thinking says they are "not necessarily trading players to get young prospect back." In other words, the source said, their mission isn't to simply dump salary for three or four prospects. The Bucs are said to be looking for a major-league ready player in return -- either a player currently in the majors, or a high-level prospect. 

Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:52 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 6:40 pm
 

Padres acquire Miguel Tejada from Baltimore

The streaking San Diego Padres, with the National League's best record, have acquired Baltimore infielder Miguel Tejada in rookie general manager Jed Hoyer's first big July trade deadline deal.

The Padres, who sent Double-A right-hander Wynn Pelzer to the Orioles, hope Tejada will help strengthen both their offense and their middle infield. He is expected to play shortstop upon joining the club as long as David Eckstein (calf) is on the disabled list and Jerry Hairston Jr. is playing second base.

Tejada, 36, is owed a little more than $2 million for the remainder of 2010. The Orioles will send an undisclosed amount of cash to the Padres to help cover that.

The 2002 American League Most Valuable Player was hitting .269 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 97 games for the Orioles this season. Though he was playing third base for the Orioles, the Padres view him as more of a utilityman who will play some short, some third and even some outfield. Basically, a player who will give manager Bud Black more options.

Eckstein went onto the disabled list with a right calf strain July 21, and Black indicated Wednesday that he may not be quite ready to return when he is eligible on Aug. 5.

"The degree of the strain shouldn't keep him out for a prolonged period of time," Black said. "We're going to make sure David goes through all of the right steps to come back."

Eckstein is hitting .279 with a .326 on-base percentage and is statistically the most difficult regular to strike out in the National League.

Jerry Hairston Jr., who had been getting starts at shortstop, has been playing second base in Eckstein's absence. But that means Cabrera, who is hitting just .201 with a .270 on-base percentage, is getting more regular time at short and is not faring well under the daily grind.

Because of that, the Padres shifted their priorities from acquiring a starting pitcher and/or an outfielder to middle infield.

"Jed's trying like heck," one source said of general manager Hoyer's efforts during his first July trade deadline as the man in charge.

The Padres, who continue to own the best record in the NL, rank only 14th in the league with a .252 batting average and 14th with a .377 slugging percentage. However, they are hitting .276 with runners in scoring position.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:58 pm
 

Padres talking Tejada with Orioles

With sparkplug second baseman David Eckstein disabled and young shortstop Everth Cabrera looking lost, the first-place San Diego Padres have sharpened their focus to acquiring a middle infielder before the July 31 trade deadline.

Their chief target appears to be Baltimore's veteran Miguel Tejada, a player they think could both help their offense and relieve some of the current stress on the infield. But the Orioles are fielding inquiries from other clubs on Tejada as well -- among others, they've talked with Philadelphia and St. Louis -- and the Padres might not have the goods to complete the deal.

Eckstein went onto the disabled list with a right calf strain July 21, and Padres manager Bud Black indicated Wednesday that he may not be quite ready to return when he is eligible on Aug. 5.

"The degree of the strain shouldn't keep him out for a prolonged period of time," Black said. "We're going to make sure David goes through all of the right steps to come back."

Eckstein is hitting .279 with a .326 on-base percentage and is statistically the most difficult regular to strike out in the National League.

Jerry Hairston Jr., who had been getting starts at shortstop, has been playing second base in Eckstein's absence. But that means Cabrera, who is hitting just .201 with a .270 on-base percentage, is getting more regular time at short and is not faring well under the daily grind.

Because of that, the Padres have shifted their priorities from acquiring a starting pitcher and/or an outfielder to middle infield.

"Jed's trying like heck," one source said of general manager Jed Hoyer's efforts during his first July trade deadline as the man in charge.

The Padres, who continue to own the best record in the NL, rank only 14th in the league with a .252 batting average and 14th with a .377 slugging percentage. However, they are hitting .276 with runners in scoring position.

Tejada, 36, is hitting .269 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 97 games for the Orioles this season. Though he's playing third base, the Padres think he could return to his shortstop roots for some games here and there -- particularly until Eckstein returns and Hairston Jr. is freed up to return to short. The Padres also think he could play some outfield.

Tejada is owed roughly $2 million for the rest of 2010 and, if the Orioles do move him, probably will cost the acquiring team a mid-level prospect.

Posted on: July 19, 2010 9:25 pm
 

Padres look to get Black pitching, hitting help

The NL West-leading Padres are on the move. They extended manager Bud Black's contract through 2013 on Monday -- with club options for 2014 and 2015 -- and general manager Jed Hoyer is talking about adding both a hitter and a pitcher by the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline.

"We'll try to accomplish both and see if we can," Hoyer said of the dual hitter-pitcher option for a club that opened the 2010 season with the second-lowest payroll in the majors after Pittsburgh.

Hoyer told CBSSports.com that he's eying a starting pitcher because the club wants to protect three young starters who have pitched limited major-league innings -- Mat Latos, Clayton Richard and Wade LeBlanc -- from overextending themselves.

He added that he would like to add a hitter to help "lengthen" a lineup that currently ranks 12th in runs scored in the National League, and 14th in slugging percentage.

One such hitter whom Hoyer did not name is Milwaukee's Corey Hart, who just so happened to share a National League clubhouse with Padres manager Bud Black at last week's All-Star Game.

Asked the other day if he did any reconnaissance work, Black smiled.

"He had a little bit of time, and I was in the clubhouse," Black said of a between-rounds moment while Hart was jacking baseball's out of Angel Stadium during last Monday's Home Run Derby. "I said, 'Nice round.' And he goes, 'Thanks.' And that was that."

Well, almost.

"I did mention, 'Hey, a lot of those balls would have gone out of Petco,'" Black said, smiling. "I did say that to gauge his response."

Hart's response?

"He kept looking at the TV and said, 'Yeah, they would have,'" Black said, still grinning. "I gauged his reaction to see if he would say, 'Yeah, I know man, let's go.'

"I didn't get that. I was making sure that he knows we're watching."

Likes: What a great story the Chicago White Sox are. ... A total of 14 games left between the White Sox and Tigers beginning on Aug. 3. ... Rocco Baldelli back in Tampa Bay's system. ... This recent piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Mario Mendoza, he of the Mendoza Line. ... Finally saw the last two episodes of Treme, the excellent HBO show. Have not heard anything about it recently. Hope they renew it for a second season. ... Looking forward to TBS re-running the George Steinbrenner episodes of Seinfeld all week. ... Love American Slang, the new Gaslight Anthem disc. ... About time Friday Night Lights got some Emmy love.

Dislikes: Scott Rolen out with a hamstring injury. This is a very key point in Cincinnati's season. ... Minnesota's Justin Morneau out for another week with that concussion. Those are nothing to mess with, and you never know how bad they are. Here's to a speedy recovery. ... I've seen worse than Everybody's Fine, the Robert DeNiro flick we watched via Netflix the other night. But the writers went way overboard with piling on the stuff from his ingrate kids. The ending came around and fixed that some, but still, a disappointment.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"And in the end
"The love you take
"Is equal to the love
"You make"

-- The Beatles, The End

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com