San Diego Padres: Spring Training Week 2 Recap
By Cheri Bell
The second full week of games for the San Diego Padres included and off day and an exhibition game with WBC Team Mexico that did not count in the Cactus League standings.
The Padres played to a 2-2 record not counting the Mexico game with a home and home battle against the Milwaukee Brewers that accounted for both losses.
This week was also the opportunity I took for visiting the Padres spring camp and I will include my observations with these notes.
Before leaving for WBC participation, Yangervis Solarte went 2 for 4 (double and single) with 2 RBI while playing third base against the Chicago White Sox. This was his final spring contest with the Pads until after Venezuela finishes in the WBC tournament. A week later has shown that Solarte has been used sparingly by Venezuela with one at bat and some pinch running (yes, you read that correctly). That can’t possibly be making the Padres’ staff happy as he is missing valuable spring at bats while sitting on their bench.
San Diego Padres
Lead off man Travis Jankowski has fared well so far this spring, with a solid .333 batting average through the first two weeks. He has hit to all fields and is running well while playing stellar outfield. The Padres haven’t been able to implement their outfield experiment so far this spring as Manuel Margot remains out of action with a sore knee that he tweeted last week. The knee has been declared structurally sound but still no Margot in the lineup. That has prevented the Padres from beginning the outfield shake up that Andy Green spoke about in early spring interviews.
If Margot can get healthy it will be interesting to see him play right field, Jankowski in left and Hunter Renfroe in center. That would give the Padres arguably the best athletic outfield in the Cactus League. The infield question also continues as Ryan Schimpf has been out of the lineup for most of the spring and is till not practicing. Cory Spangenberg has looked good at third base in the mean time with Carlos Asuaje get lots of playing time at second base and looking good at the plate with a short, line drive swing.
First baseman and face of the franchise Will Myers has had a torrid spring so far. He just hit 5 for 7 with 3 RBI and 2 BB. He is hitting around .400 and has 3 SB this spring. Not a bad start for Will and a good example to set for the youngsters around him.
As for the pitching, Jered Weaver made his start with 2 IP allowing 4 hits and 1 earned run while starting to stretch out for the regular season. His fastball tops out in mid 80’s but his breaking pitches and location are what he must master in order to be effective.
I personally don’t see him as the Opening Day starter, I still prefer Clayton Richard or Luis Perdomo in that role, but Weaver lends needed veteran leadership and can be effective if on his game.
Speaking of Richard and Perdomo, Clayton had a tough second inning in his latest start and hit two batters. Which combined with 2 hits, allowed 2 runs to score with 1 strikeout in his 3 IP. Perdomo pitched on the off day (Tuesday) against minor leaguers in a B game, a move employed in spring training to keep pitchers on their regular work rotation.
Related Story: Spring Training Week One Recap
Trevor Cahill is quietly making a point with his spring performance. In two outings he pitched 6 innings with 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 BB and 3 SO to give him a combined 8 IP with 6 SO and a 2.25 ERA for his three appearances. Those are the best stats so far for a rotation hopeful in this young spring campaign.
The bullpen is picking up where they left off last season. Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand,Kevin Quackenbush and Craig Stammen continue to impress with their early spring success. Each looks sharp and provide quick relief outings when called upon.
Jabari Blash continues to tear it up this spring. During practice and game action, he is refining the Sammy Sosa-like toe tap that has aided him in adjusting his timing and swing. He was 2 for 4 with 2 BB and 2 SO while adding another home run and RBI to his numbers. It remains to be seen if he can sustain this over the long haul and if it is enough to get him a spot on the 40 man roster at springs end. But you can’t ask the 29 year old outfielder to do more. He has been playing both corner outfield positions and DH’ing. With the continued injury to Alex Dickerson possibly derailing his Opening Day availability, Blash could be patrolling the vast Petco Park outfield on April 8.
While watching practice this past week I was able to see why the Padres are so high on Allen Cordoba and Luis Torrens. The two Rule V picks are mature beyond their single A experience levels with advanced skills both defensively and with the bat. Is it enough to keep them on the roster?
Time will tell but I was impressed and you can expect to see lots of both of them as the spring progresses and the Pads staff tries to figure out what their abilities are. Cordoba has shown the ability to play third and second with good footwork and quick movements. He has an accurate arm and good hands.
Torrens and Hector Sanchez appear to be the main candidates for the back up catcher position if the Christian Bethancourt experiment is successful. Sanchez brings power and a great throwing arm to the mix while Torrens has advanced defensive ability for his level and has shown signs of making solid contact lately. More development this spring could make this a tough decision for Andy Green and his staff.
Christian Bethancourt amazes me. One day he is working out with the pitchers, another day with the catchers and also shagging fly balls in the outfield. It can’t be easy shifting your focus around day by day. I am rooting for him while at the same time questioning this tack.
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His pitching experiment continues with an appearance versus Team Mexico for the save and another during the week with 1 IP, 1 BB and 1 SO but still hasn’t allowed a hit or run. That BB was the first runner allowed on base in his early spring outings.
It seems this experiment might be Bethancourt’s only chance to make the Opening Day roster as he doesn’t excel as a catcher and his strikeout rate makes him a liability even though he has significant power. His lack of plate appearances this spring make it clear the Padres don’t see him as an everyday option and they might not even be considering him as the backup catcher.
Next: Competing in a Tough Division
It continues to be an interesting part of the spring landscape with the Rule V and super utility investigations ongoing.