Padres spring training capsule: 3/26-4/4

Royals 7, Padres 6 – 4/4/12 (spring training finale)

LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (AP) — Danny Duffy struck out seven in three perfect innings, helping the Kansas City Royals to a 7-6 victory over the San Diego Padres in the spring finale for each team.

Duffy is one of Kansas City’s top prospects.

Terry Evans and Mario Sisson hit consecutive homers in the sixth inning for the Royals.

Veteran right-hander Matt Palmer was called in from Triple-A Tucson to start for the Padres and worked four strong innings, allowing two hits and an unearned run.

The Padres host the Los Angeles Dodgers in their first regular-season game on Thursday.

The Royals open the season Friday night at the Los Angeles Angels.


Padres 2, Royals 1 – 4/3/12

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Clayton Richard pitched six shutout innings and the San Diego Padres beat the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Chase Headley and Jesus Guzman hit back-to-back homers off Kansas City left-hander Jonathan Sanchez with two out in the third inning.

Richard allowed just three singles while striking out five and walking none.

“It’s going to be hard to repeat that effort consistently,” Padres catcher Nick Hundley said. “But if he can come anywhere close to that, he’s going to have a big year. If he has a big year, we’ll have a big year.”

One that Richard is eager to get started.

“With the progress I made late in spring it’s time to get ready to start producing,” he said. “I’m definitely ready for the regular season to begin.”

Brayan Pena homered for Kansas City in the seventh inning.

Sanchez allowed two runs and four hits in three innings.

Richard had allowed 14 earned runs in 14 innings over his four previous spring starts.

“That’s a great ending to the spring for him,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He struggled a lot but has come on a lot at the end.”

NOTES: The Padres optioned RHP Brad Brach and INF Everth Cabrera to Triple-A Tucson. They also added of Jeremy Hermida to the 40-man roster, making room by placing LHP Jose De Paula on the restricted list while he’s resolving visa issues in the Dominican Republic. They also placed Mark Kotsay (mild right calf strain) on the 15-day disabled list.


Rangers 5, Padres 3 – 4/1/12

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Colby Lewis tuned up to start on opening day, pitching four innings Sunday as the Texas Rangers beat the San Diego Padres 5-3.

Lewis allowed two runs and four hits. He’ll pitch Friday at home against the Chicago White Sox.

Closer Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for Texas. The Rangers won six of their final seven exhibitions after beginning spring training with three wins in their first 14 games.

Adrian Beltre hit an RBI double and David Murphy added a two-run single for Texas. Jesus Guzman hit his fifth home run for the Padres.

San Diego starter Cory Luebke struggled for the second consecutive start, giving up all five runs on six hits and two walks in two innings.


Mariners 6, Padres (ss) 1 – 3/31/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Millwood struck out eight in seven solid innings and the Seattle Mariners beat a San Diego Padres split-squad 6-1 on Saturday night.

The veteran right-hander allowed one run on Andy Parrino’s homer and five hits.

The Mariners fielded a team of minor leaguers behind Millwood while their regulars took the day to recuperate from a trip to Japan for two regular-season games this past week.

The Padres had four projected starters in their lineup, with first baseman Yonder Alonso collecting a pair of hits off Millwood.

Padres left fielder Mark Kotsay left after the third inning with a calf injury, but manager Bud Black said it was a precaution.

Padres starter Joe Wieland, likely headed for Triple-A, allowed two runs and five hits in five innings.


Brewers 10, Padres (ss) 7 – 3/31/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Mat Gamel hit a grand slam and a solo home run Saturday and the Milwaukee Brewers topped a split squad of San Diego Padres 10-7.

Alex Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez also homered for the Brewers.

Gamel hit his slam off Padres starter Tim Stauffer and later connected against San Diego closer Huston Street.

Stauffer allowed six earned runs and seven hits in five innings. Street gave up four earned runs and two homers in his inning.

Jesus Guzman hit a three-run homer off Milwaukee starter Chris Narveson, who allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings.

Ryan Braun had two hits for Milwaukee.


Padres 8, Giants 7 – 3/30/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Orlando Hudson didn’t have to wait long to see how his sore groin responded on Friday night.

The San Diego Padres’ second baseman, who was playing in only his second game since March 14, scored from first base on Kyle Blanks’ first-inning double in an 8-7 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Hudson, who left a March 21 game after reinjuring his groin, went 0 for 2 with a walk. Hudson had only played once since March 14.

“It felt good,” Hudson said. “It always happens like that. I knew something like (the double) was going to happen. It felt good running. Game situation. It’s perfect. I always could run. There was no problem running. They just wanted all of (the strain) out.”

Padres manager Bud Black isn’t concerned about Hudson starting the season on the disabled list. Hudson, who went on the DL twice last season when he hit .246 with seven homers and 43 RBIs, had planned for a Thursday return before he was sidelined by a virus.

Black liked what he saw from Hudson, who walked against Zito and scored easily after Blanks doubled into the corner. Hudson is scheduled to play seven innings with a Padres split squad on Saturday afternoon.

“His legs are fine,” Black said. “But this virus got him.”

A lack of timing affected San Francisco starter Barry Zito, who was hit hard for a second straight outing.

The left-hander has altered his delivery this spring in an attempt to regain velocity. While he made several early strides, Zito has struggled of late. He allowed five earned runs and seven hits in three innings Friday after he gave up five earned runs and nine hits in 2 1-3 innings in his previous start.

Even with the struggles, Zito, who was 3-4 with a 5.87 ERA in 13 games last season, wants to continue with his new delivery.

As the No. 5 starter in the Giants rotation, Zito figures he and pitching coach Dave Righetti have plenty of time to get his mechanics straight before he pitching in the regular season.

“I’m just fighting myself with my timing out there,” Zito said. “It’s not scrap the whole thing. It’s make a small adjustment, get a little more pace, instead of getting ahead of myself. It’s about starting (Saturday), get with Rags, figure out what the adjustment is and go all in with it. It shouldn’t take long to get that to feel natural.”

Blanks and Padres catcher Nick Hundley, who had two run-scoring doubles, each went 3 for 4. It was Blanks’ first start since March 18 as he was limited to one pinch-hit single while nursing a sore left shoulder.

Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff each had two hits for the Giants. Sandoval had a three-run homer off Padres starter Dustin Moseley, who allowed seven runs, four earned, and nine hits in five innings.

The Giants scored all seven of their runs in the fifth inning.

San Francisco setup man Sergio Romo allowed three runs, including a two-run homer by San Diego outfielder Jeremy Hermida.

Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman doubled in a run and had two RBIs and shortstop Everth Cabrera had two hits.

Giants reliever Clay Hensley left the game with a tight right calf.

NOTES: The San Francisco Giants released IF Mike Fontenot on Friday. … The team also placed IF Freddy Sanchez (right shoulder) and LHPs Eric Surkamp (sore right elbow) and Dan Runzler (strained lat muscle) and RHP Ryan Vogelsong (back strain) on the disabled list. Sanchez, Surkamp and Runzler are on the disabled list retroactive to March 26 and Vogelsong is retroactive to March 27. … The Padres signed LHP Cory Luebke to a contract extension through 2015. The deal guarantees Luebke $12 million and could be worth $27.75 million if club options for 2016 and 2017 are exercised.


Padres 12, Cubs 11 – 3/29/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Clayton Richard had trouble locating his fastball, and the Cubs made him pay. Chris Volstad made Chicago’s rotation, then struggled against San Diego.

It was one rough day to be a starting pitcher.

Jason Bartlett and Jesus Guzman homered to help the Padres beat the Cubs 12-11 on Thursday.

Richard was tagged for nine runs, eight earned, and 12 hits in 4 1-3 innings, leaving him with a 9.00 spring ERA. But the left-hander and manager Bud Black didn’t seem too concerned with the results.

Richard was 5-9 with 3.88 ERA in 18 starts in 2011 before undergoing season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery. He has pitched pain-free and passed every physical test Black has set for him so far this year.

“You’ll have days like this and in spring it feels like I have a few of them like this,” Richard said. “There are definitely things to work on and improve on. But I feel good. I kind of step by step progressed and every start have been able to find a weakness and correct it. It’s been a good progression this month.”

Richard’s fastball was up in the zone and the Cubs jumped all over it.

Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning. Darwin Barney also had three of his four hits against Richard.

But Black was focusing on Richard’s health.

“You focus on making the pitch count,” he said. “Come next week all the spring training work is set aside for the regular season. Clayton has answered every test as far as his workload, which is a good sign for him.”

Volstad earned the fourth spot in Chicago’s rotation Thursday morning and followed with his shakiest outing of the spring. He surrendered six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.

“It’s good to get that one out of the way,” Volstad said.

Bartlett hit a two-run shot in the second and singled in a run in the third. San Diego catcher Nick Hundley had two hits and two RBIs.

Volstad was acquired in the January deal that sent Carlos Zambrano to Miami. He had allowed only one run in 10 innings this spring.

Volstad, who was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 29 starts for the Marlins last season, said Cubs management offered him words of encouragement after the trade, which has given him extra confidence.

“Through the spring (they were) saying, `It’s a big year for you. You’re going to help us out a lot,'” Volstad said. “It’s definitely a confidence boost.”

Before the game, the Cubs announced infielder Blake DeWitt, catcher Steve Clevenger and utilityman Joe Mather, in camp on a minor-league deal, had made the opening-day roster.

“I’m speechless,” said Clevenger, who got the nod when rookie Welington Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Chicago also finalized its rotation with Jeff Samardzija earning the third spot. The team had already announced Ryan Dempster would start on opening day and Matt Garza and Paul Maholm were part of the rotation.

Right-hander Randy Wells, who was 7-6 with a 4.99 ERA in 23 starts for the Cubs in 2011, and left-hander Travis Wood, who was 6-6 in 22 games for Cincinnati, were in the mix for the rotation, but were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

NOTES: The Cubs optioned five players to Triple-A Iowa and reassigned four to minor-league camp, leaving 31 players in big league camp. But the Cubs won’t announce a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster for Mather until rosters are set next week. . The Padres announced longtime bullpen catcher Mark Merila has taken a job within the organization as a professional scout. . Padres 2B Orlando Hudson, who has been limited by a groin strain, was expected to return to the lineup on Thursday, but was sent home early because he was ill. . Padres RHP Jeff Suppan (right triceps strain) played catch for a third straight day.


Padres 13, White Sox 2 – 3/28/12

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Once Edinson Volquez settled down, he sure looked ready for the regular season.

Volquez pitched seven solid innings to help the San Diego Padres beat a Chicago White Sox split-squad 13-2 on Wednesday.

The right-hander, who will be the Padres’ No. 3 starter, allowed two runs and two hits in the first inning, but held the White Sox to no runs and three hits for the rest of his outing.

“I was way better (after the first inning),” said Volquez, who struggled in the first last year, when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. “I made better pitches the rest of the way.”

Volquez struck out two and walked three in the longest outing of the spring for the Padres.

“It was a great outing after the first 20 pitches,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “The next 73 were outstanding. It took him a little while to settle in. But once he did, it was a delivery he repeated, repeated his arm slot, repeated his finish. All three pitches were working. The (changeup) really got better as the game went on.”

Yonder Alonso, Chase Headley and Andy Parrino homered for San Diego, which had 18 hits.

Headley hit a two-run drive for his third homer of the spring. He also had a two-run double.

Parrino’s two-run shot was his fourth homer, and Alonso’s solo drive was his first of the spring.

White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.

Axelrod, who posted a 2.89 ERA in 18 2-3 innings with the White Sox last season, is competing with four pitchers for two bullpen spots.

“I’ve had some really good outings and a couple poor ones,” said Axelrod, whose ERA is 5.95. “My ERA isn’t good, but I feel like a couple innings have gotten away from me, kind of blew up my ERA a little bit. I’m not happy with it, but I’m not terribly disappointed either.”

Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski had a run-scoring triple and is batting .268 this spring. He likely will be the No. 2 hitter in the lineup.

“That’s all I’ve been trying to do all spring, not do too much and put the barrel on the ball and let it go where it goes,” Pierzynski said. “I’ve been squaring some balls up, and they’ve been hitting the gaps and a couple of balls have got out.”

NOTES: The Padres optioned C Yasmani Grandal to Triple-A Tucson and reassigned pitcher Alex Hinshaw to minor league camp. . Padres 2B Orlando Hudson (groin strain) is expected to play Thursday. He sat out Wednesday’s game and has played in one of the team’s last 15 games. … Padres OF Kyle Blanks (left shoulder impingement) took batting practice. He hasn’t played since March 18. … Padres RHP Luke Gregerson (sore back) threw on the side after missing the previous two games and reported feeling good. . White Sox CF Brent Lillibridge exited after four innings but was OK after RF Alex Rios stepped on his foot during a play in the outfield, bench coach Mark Parent said. .The White Sox traded minor league OF Christian Marrerro to Atlanta for future cash considerations.


Padres 6, Dodgers 5 – 3/27/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Matt Kemp is getting comfortable with his swing at just the right time.

The runner-up to Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun for NL MVP last season, Kemp doubled and had two RBIs as the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 6-5 to a split squad of San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

“I feel great,” Kemp said. “We’re getting to that point where you have to start concentrating on your at-bats and getting locked in. The season’s right around the corner and you have to work on what you’re going to try to do during the season, especially against the teams that you’re going to face during the season.”

Kemp, who agreed to a $160 million, eight-year contract in November, struck out his first two times up against Padres prospect Casey Kelly. But the slugger doubled in a run in the fifth inning and added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Kemp, who has knocked in 11 runs this spring and is hitting .313, is pleased with his improved timing at the plate. The Dodgers open the regular season April 5 in San Diego.

“At the beginning, I felt a little out of rhythm,” Kemp said. “But as spring goes on, you tend to get your timing and this is about the time you want to start getting that good feel.”

Padres manager Bud Black hopes center fielder Cameron Maybin, who hit .264 and had team highs of 82 runs and 40 stolen bases in 2011, begins to experience the same feeling soon.

Maybin, who agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract this month, hasn’t exactly been tearing up the Cactus League. But he had an RBI single in his final at-bat Tuesday to finish 1 for 4, raising his spring average to .213.

“I think that’s a good momentum-builder,” Black said. “That’s a good one to end on. He had some good swings in that at-bat. Cam can run a little hot and cold sometimes and we’re trying to get the consistency out of Cam.”

Juan Rivera homered, doubled and singled for the Dodgers. He hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and an RBI double during a three-run seventh against Micah Owings.

Andre Ethier went 2 for 4 with an RBI triple.

Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso had an RBI single, doubled and walked. Third baseman Chase Headley singled, walked and scored two runs.

Los Angeles starter Jamey Wright, who was added to the 40-man roster before the game and will make the opening-day roster, allowed a run in one inning.

The move marks the seventh straight season in which Wright will have earned a roster spot after going to camp on a minor league contract. Wright, who was 2-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 60 appearances last season for Seattle, has already pitched for 10 teams in a career that began with the Colorado Rockies in 1996. He is 85-121 with a 4.93 ERA in 526 games.

“Jamey Wright’s pretty much what we expected coming into camp,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “A guy that’s going to take the ball, basically play a lot of different roles. … He’s got a lot of versatility and gives us a veteran presence.”

NOTES: Los Angeles made a spot available for Wright on Tuesday when it transferred pitcher Blake Hawksworth from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Hawksworth is recovering from two offseason surgeries on his right elbow and isn’t expected to be ready for opening day. … Wright started in place of LHP Ted Lilly, who is out with a neck strain. Mattingly said Lilly is improving but the team won’t make a decision until Friday on whether he’ll miss his first regular-season turn in the rotation. … Padres 2B Orlando Hudson (groin strain) has targeted Thursday to return, Black said. Hudson has played in one of San Diego’s last 14 games.


Rangers 10, Padres 9 – 3/27/12

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Mike Napoli hit his first two home runs of the spring and Ian Kinsler had three hits, leading the Texas Rangers past a San Diego Padres split squad 10-9 on Tuesday.

San Diego starter Cory Luebke gave up five runs and eight hits and a walk over 4 1-3 innings. Luebke had allowed only three runs in 14 innings during his four previous starts.

Jeremy Hermida homered on consecutive pitches in the first and third for the Padres. Jeff Gyorko, Yasmani Grandal and Andy Parrino also went deep for San Diego.

Joey Butler tripled home the tying run in the bottom of the ninth and scored on a wild pitch to win it.


Cubs 2, Padres 0 — 3/26/12

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Paul Maholm pitched five impressive innings, Bryan LaHair and Reed Johnson drove in Chicago’s runs and a Cubs split squad beat the San Diego Padres 2-0 Monday.

Maholm allowed four hits, walked two and struck out six. He has allowed only one earned run in 10 innings.

Padres starter Tim Stauffer yielded two runs in five innings. He gave up seven hits, a walk and struck out three.

Outfielder Will Venable had two hits for San Diego.