Spring Training is here. Baseball is here. The bats and gloves are out, and the games are being played. It was a long, hard offseason, full of questions and problems. But now all that can be forgotten as the real games are finally being played.
Before their first Spring Training game, the San Diego Padres played an exhibition game. On February 25, the Padres played against the Seattle Mariners in their annual charity game. In this matchup, the Padres came out on top with a 4-3 win. Pitcher Jake Peavy threw his first inning of the pre-season and got through it scoreless. Soon-to-be-closer Heath Bell did not have the greatest inning. He gave up two runs on four hits in his first outing of the spring. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run home run. Adrian Gonzalez also drove in a run. Prospect Kyle Blanks walked-off in the tenth inning to give the Padres the win. Chase Headley threw out a runner at home from left field, which was really cool.
On February 26, the Padres played their first official Cactus League game against the Seattle Mariners. Pitcher Chris Young pitched his first inning and threw nine pitches. Reliever Justin Hampson got hit the worst, allowing three runs on three hits. New catcher Henry Blanco hit a two-run homer to cut the Mariner’s lead, but the game eventually ended in a 4-4 tie. Outfielder Luis Durango threw out a runner at the plate. It was really great that some of our first round picks from years past were able to pitch a few innings in this game. Guys like Nick S chmidt, who was drafted in 2005 but had to be shut down due to injuries. He threw a scoreless inning on Thursday. Cesar Carrillo also threw an inning. Though he allowed a run, it was great that he was even out there! So there is still hope for these young guys to have success with the Padres.
February 27 was the Padres’ second Spring Training game against the Cleveland Indians. Cha Seung Baek pitched for the first time this pre-season. He wasn’t the best, allowing two runs on two hits. Jae Kuk Ryu came into the game for the second inning and gave up a run. Highly-touted pitching prospect Mat Latos got hit hard in his first outing against major league hitters, as he gave up two home runs. Indians’ catcher Victor Martinez was the Padres’ Achilles’ heel in the game. He hit two massive home runs to put us down. Kevin Kouzmanoff hit another big home run. Will Venable and Luis Durango also drove in runs for the Friars, but the Padres eventually lost 5-3. Infielder Edgar Gonzalez had a great day, though, with three hits. Chase Headley threw out another runner at the plate!
The Padres played their third Cactus League game on February 28 against the Kansas City Royals. Right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia, who is vying for a spot in the Padres’ rotation, started the game, went two innings, and gave up a run. Heath Bell took the third, this time with a scoreless inning. Adrian Gonzalez drove in a run with a double. The next batter, Cliff Floyd, drove in Adrian to give the Padres a 2-1 lead. The score stayed that way until the 8 th, when Ross Gload hit a solo homer off Oneli Perez to tie the game. Both managers agreed to only play ten innings, so when pitcher Joe Thatcher induced a double-play ball in the bottom of the tenth, that was it.
The Padres’ record is now 0-1-2, not that it matters. So far, all of the pitchers have been doing very well. The Padres definitely have a lot of great arms in camp right now. It will be interesting to see who makes it to the Padres’ bullpen.
The offense has been average so far. They are getting their hits, and they are scoring some runs. They have also drawn a lot of walks, which is important. But one of the things that has not been that great is the baserunning. The baserunners have been picked off a couple times, and thrown out at home once.
After four games in the pre-season, I’d say the Padres have a lot good players that could help them win in the regular season. As we go into the next few weeks without some of our star players due to the World Baseball Classic (Adrian Gonzalez, Jake Peavy), it will be very interesting to get a better look at some of the other players in camp. Maybe we will find San Diego’s next star!
By Kaity Bergquist MLBCenter.com San Diego Padres Correspondent