Tag:San Diego Padres
Posted on: July 13, 2010 8:39 pm
 

Setting the stage at the All-Star Game

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A few things as we get set for the 81st All-Star Game:

-- National League pitching plans: Florida's Josh Johnson and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay will follow starter Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound. After that, manager Charlie Manuel plans to review the game situation, see where the AL lineup is and go from there. With lefties Joe Mauer, Robinson Cano and Carl Crawford hitting 7-8-9, you could see one of a couple of lefty relievers, Hong-Chih Kuo or Arthur Rhodes if the situation dictates.

-- AL pitching plans were unclear as for who would follow Tampa Bay's David Price to the hill. But in Price, Texas' Cliff Lee, Boston's Jon Lester and the Yankees' Andy Pettitte, the AL is loaded with lefties. Which could mean right-handers Justin Verlander and Phil Hughes will be interspersed with them.

-- Boston's David Ortiz on the legacy of the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner: "Unbelievable. When you give a team that many dreams, that many possibilities to win, that's something you've got to respect no matter what."

-- This is how stacked the AL is: Mauer, last year's MVP, is hitting seventh. Last time he did that? "The minor leagues," Mauer said. His reaction to hitting seventh? "Where do you want to put everybody?" Mauer said. "Somebody's gotta bat down there."

-- The pressure is on Padres closer Heath Bell if he pitches late in a close game. San Diego has provided three of the past four losing pitchers: Bell last year, Chris Young in 2007 and Trevor Hoffman in 2006.

-- Atlanta's Omar Infante, the most unlikely of All-Stars, is having a ball. His favorite moments? Tuesday afternoon in NL clubhouse, and Monday watching the Home Run Derby on the field, holding his one-year-old son, taking as many photos as he could. As for the game? "It's very important," said Infante, whose Braves are in position to benefit if the NL can win home-field World Series advantage. "Everybody's psyched."

-- The turf is in good shape here in Angel Stadium. But it almost was in even better shape. The rock band U2 was scheduled to play Angel Stadium in early June, after which the contract called for new sod to be laid at Angel Stadium. Instead of a new playing surface, however ... well, Bono underwent emergency back surgery, U2 canceled its tour and the turf remains the same.

Posted on: July 12, 2010 11:31 pm
 

Adrian and Heath's Excellent All-Star Adventure 2

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adrian and Heath's Excellent Adventure 2010 sure was a lot more tame than the 2009 All-Star version.

Two years in a row now, slugger Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell have represented the Padres in the All-Star Game.

But last summer, when the Padres closed the first half in San Francisco and the game was in St. Louis, their journey turned into a fiasco.

They had a late flight out of San Francisco and were delayed on their lengthy layover in Las Vegas, which caused them to miss their connection to St. Louis. So they wound up flying into Indianapolis and renting a car.

Except, because of a convention, the rental cars were scarce and the only thing left was a van. So Gonzalez and his wife Betsy, Bell and batting practice pitcher Ray Krohn (Gonzalez was in the Home Run Derby last year) piled into the van and Gonzalez drove most of the 250 miles from Indianapolis to St. Louis. The quartet stopped for a meal at Steak 'n' Shake somewhere along the overnight journey and arrived around 10:30 Monday morning following an 18-hour trip.

"We sang, we talked ... ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber?" Bell said. "It was that."

This year?

After the Padres beat the Rockies in Colorado on Sunday, the team chartered home. And then both Bell and Gonzalez drove the 90 miles from San Diego to Anaheim with their families.

Simple.

"Hey, it wasn't that easy," Bell quipped. "We had a baby crying and three kids in the back going, 'Are we there yet?'"

Posted on: July 12, 2010 8:28 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 8:32 pm
 

Will young power arms finally shift tide to NL?

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- How long has it been since the National League has won a freakin' All-Star Game?

Let's just say this: Last time the NL won, 1996 in Philadelphia, Bob Dole was running for president.

It's weird, it's bizarre, it's ugly and it's a subject the National Leaguers get tired of answering. Current count: The AL's unbeaten streak has reached 13 years, including winning the past seven in a row (since the humiliating 2002 tie in Milwaukee).

Yet silly as this sounds, there is a very real sense that the tide might be beginning to shift away from Junior Circuit dominance in the Mid-Summer Classic.

Reasons?

Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez. Florida's Josh Johnson. San Francisco's Tim Lincecum. Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo. All All-Stars this year. And, Washington's Stephen Strasburg, and San Diego's Mat Latos, who very well could debut as All-Stars next summer when the game hits Phoenix.

You know about Strasburg. And Latos was the next pitcher NL manager Charlie Manuel would have chosen in the event of one more injury scratch.

"It needs to turn for us, the way it's been going," says San Diego manager Bud Black, a coach on Manuel's NL staff this week. "There are some fine young power arms in the National League.

"Hey, the American League's no slouch either, with David Price and CC Sabathia. And Felix Hernandez can probably throw it as hard as he wants to."

No question. But there is more sizzle in the NL's pitching this summer -- especially given all the incredibly talented young arms -- than there has been in quite some time.

"Just looking at our staff, I know I wouldn't want to be a hitter on the other side," says Mets third baseman David Wright, who has been in the NL clubhouse for the past four losses. "We have some power arms, really, top to bottom. Just seeing their age and the ability and the upside and what they've accomplished already is amazing.

"I know how I feel with a bat in my hands in the box against these guys. Then when you string together the depth that the NL has with their young power arms, it's pretty impressive."

Jimenez comes into the game with 15 wins, a no-hitter against Atlanta this year and a 33-inning scoreless streak compiled during one especially torrid stretch in May and June.

Johnson leads the majors with a 1.70 ERA and has allowed no more than one earned run in 10 of his past 11 starts.

Lincecum has won back-to-back Cy Young awards, Strasburg is showing signs of having Cy Young stuff ... the list goes on.

"I know you've got Strasburg, Jimenez, Josh Johnson ... those guys throw hard," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter says. "They're filthy. I've been watching them on television."

In the NL, Wright has been watching most of them from the batter's box.

"You know that it's going to be a rough day when you're battling to draw a walk," Wright says. "Or you're battling to plate one guy and you know you have to be perfect as far as situational hitting just to plate a run, that you're not going to have that big inning where you can put up some crooked numbers.

"Where you have to battle and grind and fight and almost hope that the other team makes a mistake. You know what an uncomfortable at-bat it is. You know what they're capable of doing."

Add Philadelphia's veteran ace Roy Halladay, who will pitch for the NL for the first time following six All-Star appearances for the AL, and Atlanta's cagey Tim Hudson, who is making his NL debut Tuesday following Tommy John ligament transfer surgery (and two All-Star selections when he was pitching in the AL), and it's not an easy staff to face.

As for Jimenez and Johnson, the NL's two most dominant pitchers in the first half and the ones many AL hitters will see for the first time on Tuesday night, well, Wright says his least favorite to face is. ...

"Neither. We've been fortunate in that we've missed Josh Johnson the last few times we've played the Marlins, but it's no fun having him in the division.

"When you go in for a series in Miami, you always know which day Josh is pitching. You know you'd better win the game before that or the game after that or the other games because you're likely not going to win that one."

Whether the same will hold true for the All-Star Game, well ... it's got to turn one of these years, doesn't it?

Posted on: July 4, 2010 4:49 pm
 

All-Star questions, snubs and thoughts

-- Stephen Strasburg, discuss.

-- OK, here's my part of the discussion: I think the right thing was done not only in leaving him off of the All-Star ballot, but also in not listing him among the final five men for whom fans can vote. You know he would have won that in a landslide. As I blogged the other day, the guy's career has barely achieved liftoff -- there are others in line in front of him for the All-Star Game. Besides, the Nationals are so worried about his innings-pitched count that they're probably going to shut him down by early September. So why shouldn't he wait a year or two before making his All-Star debut? That said, it's one hell of an argument, and colleague Gregg Doyel makes the contrary argument (big surprise there, huh?) here and, as usual, does it very well. He's wrong, but he's good.

-- Biggest snub? Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo not being on the NL team. Forget a simple roster spot. He should be starting.

-- How can the San Diego Padres have by far the best pitching staff in the game one-through-12 this season and not have one pitcher on the NL team? Closer Heath Bell is one of the five players up for the fan vote for the last spot on the team. But starter Mat Latos (9-4, 2.62 ERA) should be on the team, and starter Clayton Richard (6-4, 2.74) merits consideration. But the real snub is that set-up man Luke Gregerson didn't make it despite a strikeout-walk ratio that is sick: 51 K's against six walks over 40 1/3 innings. What, the NL team has a death wish by not inviting San Diego pitchers?

-- Best All-Star story: Cincinnati reliever Arthur Rhodes, who, as a 40-year-old first-time All-Star, is the third-oldest All-Star "rookie" in history. Rhodes from April 13-June 26 made 33 appearances for the Reds without allowing a run, equaling a single-season record he now shares with Mark Guthrie (2002, Mets) and Mike Myers (2000, Rockies).

-- Nicest All-Star story: Arizona outfielder Chris Young, who got himself so twisted up at the plate last season that the Diamondbacks shipped him back to Triple-A to fix his mechanics (and for his own sanity) last summer, bounces back to earn his way onto the NL team. Young has 16 homers, 57 RBI and 14 steals and is one of the few bright spots in Arizona this summer.

-- With the 5 p.m. start time to the Tuesday, July 13 game in Anaheim, you'll be hearing so much about "twilight" you'll think vampires (or Kristen Stewart) will be playing. No question, in the Year of the Pitcher, pitching should dominate for at least the first half of the game. Hitters will not be too crazy facing Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, David Price, Jon Lester, Cliff Lee and the rest in the twilight.

-- Quick reference guide: The American League has won seven consecutive All-Star Games since the tie in Milwaukee in 2002, and 12 of the past 13 (including the tie). The NL has not won since 1996 in Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.

-- The new rule this year by which each manager can designate a position player to re-enter that game in the late (or extra innings) if the last available position player at any position is injured) is cheesy. I know Commissioner Bud Selig's special on-field committee is a crack staff, but it won't be long until we'll have Little League everybody on the roster gets to bat rules in place. Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio used to play seven, eight, nine innings. Today's "everybody gets a chance to play" mentality is weak.

-- As the sole representative from the host Angels, one of Torii Hunter's duties, no doubt, will be to introduce all of his AL teammates to the Rally Monkey.

-- You'll also be seeing endless replays of the big Bo Jackson 448-foot homer to dead center field against Rick Reuschel in the 1989 game.

-- Vladimir Guerrero returning to Angel Stadium as an All-Star with Texas will be intriguing to everyone but Angels fans.

-- Rookie Jason Heyward's announced plan to participate in batting practice with the NL All-Stars, because he was voted in by fans, but to sit out the game, because he's on the disabled list, is classy.

-- Final man votes: I'd go Paul Konerko of the White Sox in the AL, and Cincinnati's Joey Votto in the NL.

-- The painted Mickey Mouses (most featuring All-Star designs on Mickey) they're placing around Anaheim look very cool. And this from a cranky guy who doesn't give two hoots for Mickey, and a guy who generally avoids Disneyland (and Disneyworld) at all costs (I just despise crowded places where you stand in line forever).

Likes: The long piece on Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in Sunday's New York Times magazine. ... Seeing clips of Lou Gehrig's "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth" each July 4 -- it was delivered 71 years ago Sunday -- never fails to produce chills. ... I'm not much for reality shows -- sports or otherwise -- but The Club, centered on the crazy Chicago White Sox, on MLB Network later this month looks too dramatic to pass up. ... George Steinbrenner's birthday being on July 4. How perfect is that? ... Man, does the Padres' Tony Gwynn Jr. have wheels.

Dislikes: We can all argue All-Star snubs, but there are too many players on each roster already. The 34-man rosters are ridiculous.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Driving in to Darlington County
"Me and Wayne on the Fourth of July
"Driving in to Darlington County
"Looking for some work on the county line
"We drove down from New York City
"Where the girls are pretty
"But they just wanna know your name
"Driving in to Darlington city
"Got a union connection with an uncle of Wayne's
"We drove 800 miles without seeing a cop
"We got rock and roll music blasting out the T-top"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Darlington County

Posted on: June 29, 2010 1:19 am
 

Prior to work out at USC for clubs Wednesday

Mark Prior hasn't pitched in the majors since 2006, but the former Cubs right-hander isn't yet ready to cash it in: His shoulder rehabilitation has reached a point where he's working out Wednesday at the University of Southern California in a showcase for major-league scouts.

Prior, a USC grad, hasn't appeared in a big league game since Aug. 10, 2006, when he went three innings and was the losing pitcher for the Cubs in Milwaukee.

Since then, he tried a couple of comebacks with the Cubs and then, most recently, he tried to return with his hometown San Diego Padres. That ended last Aug. 1 when the Padres released him.

Prior, 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA over five seasons (106 starts) with the Cubs, has undergone two shoulder surgeries since 2007. He was the second overall pick in the 2001 draft after Minnesota picked catcher Joe Mauer first overall, a choice that was fiercely debated for several years.

When Prior, along with Kerry Wood, helped pitch the Cubs to within one game of the 2003 World Series, many people thought the Twins had blown it.

Instead, Prior, whose later shoulder problems most people believe stemmed from a collision with then-Atlanta infielder Marcus Giles during a game in 2003, became a cautionary tale of a much-hyped draft prospect that failed to live up to expectations. He signed with the Cubs for $10.5 million out of USC, a record that stood until Stephen Strasburg surpassed it last August with his $15.1 million deal with Washington.

Several major-league clubs, including contenders, are expected to send scouts to watch Prior work out Wednesday in hope of perhaps gaining a pitcher that will help relieve pressure to trade for a starter in July.

Posted on: June 10, 2010 3:57 pm
 

Playing cat-and-mouse with Reyes and Hundley

The Mets were busy finishing up with San Diego for 2010 during Thursday's day-night doubleheader, which means as Jose Reyes takes his speed game toward the next destination, the cat-and-mouse between him and Padres catcher Nick Hundley will go on hiatus until 2011.

The games-within-the-games are always fascinating, and I bring up Hundley here for one simple reason:

For his career, Reyes was a perfect 22 for 22 in stolen bases until Hundley threw him out at second base in the fifth inning of a game in San Diego on June 1.

"Oh, I didn't know that!" the charismatic Reyes said enthusiastically when I informed him that he had been perfect against the Padres to that point.

Then, he grinned and added: "I think I was safe. I don't even know that he tagged me in time."

What makes Reyes especially dangerous on the bases, Hundley said, is that he's so sneaky.

"He's really quiet," Hundley says. "To me, it looks like he's the same on every pitch.

"That trait is good to have if you're a base stealer. When you're cat-like, you don't give anything away."

Most base-stealers, Hundley said, give something away with their body language. A lean-toward-second here. A hand-movement there.

Reyes doesn't.

"There are some great base-stealers," Hundley said. "[Houston's] Michael Bourn, Reyes. But Reyes, for me, is a little different. He takes a walking lead. There's a little more rhythm. Bourn flat-out burns. Reyes is casual. He'll lull you to sleep."

Reyes said it's something he's worked on for years, and when the Mets brought Rickey Henderson in as a coach a few years ago, that learning process accelerated.

"I try to pick my spots, and I don't want to be too anxious," Reyes said. "If I'm anxious, they'll say, 'He's going to go at one point.' I try to be quiet. I learned that.

"When I was younger, I used to be crazy, like I wanted to go on every pitch."

Reyes led the NL in steals from 2005-2007, but since serious hamstring troubles have plagued him over the past couple of seasons, being quiet and cat-like on the bases is more important than ever to his success rate. And, by definition, to that of the Mets: They're 19-6 when he scores this season, and 267-110 (.708) in games since 2005 when he scores.

"He's smooth, he doesn't force it and he runs in good spots," Hundley said.

And he gives no clues that he may just take off for second or third in the next second.

"If you find a tip," Hundley said, "let me know."

Likes: OK, you healthy people in the crowd, here's PETA's ranking this year of baseball's most vegetarian-friendly ballparks (and it's entertaining that the city best known for Philly cheesesteaks ranks first): 1. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia. 2. AT&T Park, San Francisco. 3. Minute Maid Park, Houston. 4. Comerica Park, Detroit. 5. Coors Field, Colorado. ... TBS switching from Phillies-Boston to Nationals-Indians for their Sunday afternoon game of the weeke this weekend. They must really think a lot of rookie Nats reliever Drew Storen. Ah, wait, that's Stephen Strasburg's day to pitch. ... Cardinals rookie third baseman David Freese is a friendly and earnest kid -- and plenty talented. ... Last day of school. ... First day of summer vacation. ... A former Miss America playing Mrs. George Custer for Monroe's celebration of the 100th anniversary of it's lovely Gen. George Armstrong Custer statue.

Dislikes: Just how wacked out are Frank and Jamie McCourt? Answer: Very, very, extremely wacked out.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
"Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
"The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
"Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
"Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
"Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
"With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
"Let me forget about today until tomorrow
"Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
"I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
"Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
"In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you"

-- Bob Dylan, Mr. Tambourine Man

 

Posted on: June 2, 2010 7:09 pm
 

Torrealba set to rejoin Padres this weekend

The first-place San Diego Padres, who have been playing this week without one of their catchers, expect Yorvit Torrealba to rejoin them in Philadelphia in time for the beginning of Friday's series, manager Bud Black said Wednesday.

Torrealba was placed on the restricted list earlier this week to enable him to travel to his native Venezuela to testify -- or give a deposition -- against men who kidnapped his son last summer, sources close to the club confirmed. The news was first reported this week by Dan Hayes of the North County (Calif.) Times.

The Padres have not said why Torrealba left, calling it a personal matter. But this spring, he said two of his son's five kidnappers had been arrested.

Eduardo, his then-11-year-old son, was kidnapped by five men in Venezuela last summer and held for a $500,000 ransom over a 48-hour period. Torrealba, who took leave of the Colorado Rockies for roughly a month during the crisis, since has moved his family to Miami.

In Torrealba's absence, Nick Hundley, the other half of the Padres' regular catching tandem, has played every day and, entering Wednesday's series finale against the Mets, was hitting .750 (9 for 12) with one double, one triple, one home run, seven RBI and four runs scored over his past four games.

Torrealba, in his first season with the Padres, has been instrumental in San Diego's rousing start. He's hitting .287 with 14 RBI in 27 games and winning raves for his work behind the plate.

Black, who declined comment on the nature of Torrealba's personal matter, said he expects the catcher to join the Padres when they arrive in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Posted on: May 28, 2010 11:16 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2010 12:36 am
 

Nationals play Friday's game under protest

Bizarre moment in Friday night's Washington-San Diego game when the Nationals lodged a protest midway through the first inning because the Padres had erroneously listed Adam Russell as the starting pitcher on the lineup card instead of Clayton Richard.

Richard had worked a 1-2-3 first when Nationals manager Jim Riggleman called the Padres on the mistake. Umpires then accepted the protest for an "unannounced substitution", which would be moot if the Nationals win.

It could have gotten dicey had the Padres won because the Nats appeared to have the Padres stone cold. Alas, Washington beat San Diego 5-3 with Matt Capps earning his major-league leading 17th save.

Had the Padres won, a baseball official said Friday night, one of two things likely could have happened:

The protest could be upheld and the game would have to be replayed from the middle of the first.

Or, the league could deny the protest, most likely on the grounds that the pitcher's spot in the batting order had not yet come up and it was clear who was pitching for the Padres.

Being that protests are very rarely upheld, the latter is the most likely scenario.

To find the last protest upheld in the National League, you have to go back to a Pittsburgh-St. Louis game in June, 1986, when then-NL president Chub Feeney upheld the Pirates' protest that umpire John Kibler improperly called a game prematurely on account of rain.

On that night, there were two rain delays. The first totaled 17 minutes, then the game resumed for only two pitches before another rain delay of 22 minutes. Then the game was called with the Pirates losing 4-1. NL rules called for umpires to wait at least 75 minutes during the first rain delay and 45 minutes during a second delay before calling the game.

The last AL protest that was upheld was in the infamous Pine Tar Game between Kansas City and the Yankees in July, 1983.

 

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