San Diego Padres Spring Training Notebook: Baseball Starts Today!
By Nick Stevens
Starting today, we will finally have real baseball to talk about! The San Diego Padres begin their Cactus League schedule today as they take on the Seattle Mariners at noon.
In our final look around spring training before the competition gets underway, the San Diego Padres have seen an immediate impact from the addition of hitting coach Matt Stairs.
Manager Andy Green had this to say about Stairs in his press conference yesterday,
“There’s a simplicity to Stairs’ message,” said Green. “He doesn’t get confusing day in and day out. There never comes a time for players fell ‘I don’t know what he wants from me.’ I think that clarity of vision from someone who is in a position of authority is a desired thing. It’s very clear what he is looking for.”
Green specifically mentioned the progress Stairs has already made with outfielder Travis Jankowski and third baseman Christian Villanueva.
While Villanueva appears destined to make the 25-man roster (he’s out of options, so he has to), Jankowski is in the thick of a jam-packed battle for playing time in the outfield. Andy Green loves Jankowski’s ability to steal bases and play defense, giving him a leg up.
He’s a much more polished hitter than Franchy Cordero. I believe being a lefty gives him the advantage over Matt Szczur. That leaves Alex Dickerson, Hunter Renfroe, and Jose Pirela in competition for one spot. Every single day this spring training will be a battle in the San Diego outfield.
Jankowski gets the first crack today, starting in centerfield for Andy Green.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres battle the Seattle Mariners at 12:10 pm.
Don’t overlook today’s starter for the San Diego Padres. RHP Brett Kennedy will take the mound first (eight pitchers are expected to go today) for the Friars. Kennedy is entering his fourth season in the Padres’ system. Last year for Double-A San Antonio, Kennedy started 26 games, posting a 13-7 record with a 3.70 ERA. He struck out 134 batters in 141 innings of work.
The former 11th-round pick out of Fordham University could very well find himself in El Paso to begin the year, with a trip to Petco Park not too far behind.
Fans will get the chance to see Hunter Renfroe in right field with Carlos Asuaje at second base to begin spring training. One notable name missing from today’s lineup will be 1B Eric Hosmer. Don’t expect to see Hosmer until at least Monday.
One last name fans will see take the field today, Tom Wilhelmsen. The newly acquired relief pitcher stands at 6’6″ and was recently signed to a minor league deal by the Padres.
Next: Complete Listing Of Padres Televised Spring Training Games
The Mariners will send LHP Ariel Miranda to the mound in game one. Miranda, 28, is looking to cut down on his 3.5 BB/9 he gave up last season.
Tune in to Fox Sports San Diego or MLB.tv to watch your Friars. Let’s go, Padres!