The Morning Friar – 2/21/11

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Pitcher Casey Kelly, the player the Padres had to have from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, has completed his first week of big league camp — and he’s happy to report that he’s blending into the background just fine.

The 21-year-old Kelly has essentially been in listen-and-learn mode so far, attempting to soak in as much information as he can from coaches and players.

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Padres reliever Chad Qualls knows he rushed his return to the field in 2010, and the result was the worst season of his career.

Coming off season-ending knee surgery in September 2009, Qualls ignored the fact that his left knee wasn’t strong enough physically to handle the rigours of pitching. He pushed through the pain and rushed the recovery in order to get back on the field.

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4. Aaron Harang (Cincinnati Reds to San Diego Padres)

Aside from possibly Greinke and Garza, no pitcher in baseball will benefit more from the change of scenery than Harang. Notorious for a proclivity toward the “three true outcomes” (the pitching absolutes of strikeouts, walks and home runs), Harang goes from the umbrella of Dusty Baker’s SABR-ignorant regime in the “Great American Bandbox” to the guidance of San Diego manager Bud Black in spacious Petco Park. Consequently, you can expect to see the HR/FB rate decrease and the ERA to drop accordingly.

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It is spring training. Pitchers are throwing. Hitters are hitting.

In a corner of the Padres bullpen mounds at the Peoria Sports Complex, Trevor Hoffman is watching. He has no glove. He is not gripping a baseball.

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