Padres spring training capsule: 3/12-3/18

BY foxsports • March 12, 2012

Padres 5, Giants 1 - 3/18/12

-- Bud Black has seen a lot during his long career as a major league pitcher and manager.

He got viewed something new Sunday.

"I don't think I've ever seen hail ... in a spring training game," the San Diego Padres manager said Sunday.

There was plenty of hail, rain, wind and even a large bolt of lightning beyond the center-field fence. Black also got to see starter Edinson Volquez throw three challenging innings as a Padres' split squad rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-1.

Acquired from Cincinnati in a December trade, Volquez gave up one run, two hits and four walks with one strikeout in his third spring training start. He gave up a run in the third on a wild pitch after Emmanuel Burriss' two-out triple.

"I liked what he did a lot," said Black. "The third inning was a long one, and he held his stuff. The velocity on his fastball was good and he had a good changeup. He continues to be more comfortable in our environment. The more he throws each time out, the more familiar he gets with our catchers and our catchers with him."

Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner gave up four hits and struck out two in five scoreless innings.

San Diego rallied for two runs in the seventh and added three more in the eighth. Yasmani Grandal had two doubles and drove in a run, and Jedd Gyorko and James Darnell each drove in a run with a double.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the game was nearly canceled on more than one occasion.

"Crazy weather," Bumgarner said. "I felt good out there. There weren't really any adjustments (because of the conditions). It was the same as any other day."

His ERA dropped to 2.45 after his fourth start.

"I'm right on track. I'm where I should be," Bumgarner said.

Bochy said Bumgarner threw 55 pitches and wanted to remain in the game for the sixth inning, as right-hander Tim Lincecum had done on Saturday. Bumgarner was sent to the bullpen to wrap up his work with 20 more pitches.

"It's the time of the spring where they have gone out there at least a couple of times and now they really start bearing down," Bochy said.

Bochy will have some difficult decisions with his middle infielders.

Burriss, Mike Fontenot and new acquisition Ryan Theriot can back up either starting shortstop Brandon Crawford or second baseman Freddy Sanchez. Burriss also has enhanced his value by playing third base and left field.

Sanchez has yet to play in the field as he recovers from shoulder surgery, although he has served as the designated hitter on a few occasions.

Bochy wasn't going to say if Sanchez might not be ready to start the season.

"Manny is playing well, and we have those other guys," Bochy said. "We are going to have to continue to re-evaluate where we're at."

NOTES: Both teams have Monday off. The Padres return to action on Tuesday night against Colorado with a home game in Peoria, Ariz., and the Giants will travel to nearby Salt River Fields in Scottsdale for a day game against Arizona . . . Buster Posey is expected to catch for the Giants on Tuesday, perhaps as many as six innings as he comes back from a severely injured left leg . . . Gregor Blanco (16 for 36, seven steals) appears on track to be the Giants' fourth outfielder. "He's done all he can do to make this team," Bochy said.

Padres 8, Royals 5 - 3/17/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- San Diego Padres rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso feels as if he is just starting to get comfortable at the plate.

The Padres hope Saturday's performance is a sign of things to come.

Alonso hit a three-run double in the first inning and singled as the Padres topped the Kansas City Royals 8-5.

Alonso is one of four players the Padres received in a Dec. 17 deal that sent pitcher Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds.

Alonso thinks he is seeing the ball better and his timing has improved.

"Every day feels better," Alonso said. "I'm just trying to lock in with the guys. It's time to go. It's time to roll."

Manager Bud Black thinks the Padres will see improvement from Alonso shortly.

Alonso is hitting .286 with seven RBIs through his first 35 at-bats this spring. Black liked Alonso's approach against Royals pitcher Bruce Chen in the first inning when he lined a first-pitch changeup off the right-field fence to give the Padres a 3-0 lead.

"That was good aggressiveness," Black said. "We've seen him hit it off the right-field wall, the left-field wall and the center-field wall. His spring average is not what we thought it would be, but we're not concerned."

Chen's spring ERA is not where he'd like it to be.

Chen said his arm feels good and pointed to his 66 pitches thrown as evidence. But how Chen felt didn't keep him from getting hit hard for a second time in three outings this spring, an outing that saw his ERA increase from 9.64 to 11.74.

Chen, who was 12-8 with a 3.77 ERA in 25 starts for the Royals last season and figures to be among the team's top three starting pitchers in 2012, allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings. He also struck out two.

The left-hander said he adjusted well after he allowed five runs in the first inning. Chen allowed three hits in his final two innings, but stranded two runners on third base.

"My arm feels great, my stamina feels good, I have no pain in my arm," Chen said. "I feel very strong. Right now I'm not making pitches. So I only have to work on keeping the ball down and making better pitches. But everything else is there."

Padres starter Cory Luebke thought he did a better job of keeping the ball down, and for the most part he did.

Luebke and Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley made an adjustment in a bullpen session two days earlier.

While he did leave one pitch up in the zone that Kansas City's Alex Gordon blasted for a 410-foot single, Luebke felt good otherwise. He allowed a pair of runs, six hits and struck out four in four innings.

"Most of the balls up in the zone were intended to be up," Luebke said. "Out of the stretch is where we wanted to keep the ball down and we did it. It was an easy fix."

Right fielder Jeff Francouer went 2 for 3 and designated hitter Billy Butler had an RBI single for the Royals. Cameron Maybin doubled and walked for the Padres in four trips to the plate. Will Venable went 1 for 4 with a run scored for San Diego.

Huston Street and Andrew Cashner pitched scoreless innings for the Padres.

Padres 8, Angels 7- 3/16/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- Tim Stauffer always has trouble in spring training -- just not like this.

Stauffer was roughed up for five runs and 11 hits in just 2 2-3 innings, but the Sand Diego Padres rallied for an 8-7 win over a Los Angeles Angels split squad Friday.

"I've never felt extremely comfortable during spring, but I've never felt helpless, like I felt," Stauffer said. "There wasn't a whole lot I could do today. It wasn't meant to be today I guess."

The Padres' likely opening-day starter, Stauffer went 9-12 with a 3.73 ERA in a career-high 31 starts last season. He knows March is for fine-tuning his game and building arm strength so as long as he's healthy, he's not worried about results now.

"Nothing hurts," said Stauffer, a first-round draft pick in 2003. "It just takes a while to build it up and I've kind of been that way every year where velocity or life isn't quite there until late in the spring or going into the season. I wish it'd show a little earlier, but it's just one of those processes. You've got to get those innings and the pitch count up."

Stauffer threw 67 pitches against the Angels, walking two. But he was knocked out during a four-run rally in the third inning in which the Angels batted for the cycle.

Los Angeles shortstop Jean Segura, one of the team's top prospects, hit the first of his two home runs against Stauffer in the third. Segura also homered in the eighth inning.

Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo and catcher Hank Conger each had three hits for Los Angeles. Conger had an RBI.

"He was up in the zone," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He was throwing his strikes. He was getting ahead. He just couldn't finish those guys off. More often than not he tried to make a pitch with two strikes and he left the ball up in the zone."

Padres shortstop Jason Bartlett, who went 1 for 3, and center fielder Cameron Maybin doubled as part of the seventh-inning rally. Maybin went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Angels starter Brad Mills didn't allow a run in 3 2-3 innings. Mills allowed a hit, walked one and hit a batter. He struck out one.

Los Angeles outfielder Ryan Langerhans had a hit and an RBI.

San Diego reliever Joe Thatcher struck out the only two batters he faced to earn a save.

Brewers 6, Padres 4 - 3/15/12

Left-hander Chris Narveson pitched 3 2-3 scoreless innings and
Aramis Ramirez got two hits Thursday as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated
the San Diego Padres 6-4.

Narveson gave up two hits, walked three
and struck out two. He has allowed one earned run in 9 1-3 innings in
three spring starts.

Ramirez singled in the first and singled and scored the Brewers' first run in the fourth.

Padres (ss) 9, Reds (ss) 4 - 3/14/12

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) --
Aroldis Chapman wants to be a starter and took a big step toward that goal with a new pitch and new focus.

Chapman pitched more than two innings in a big league game for the first time, allowing one run over three innings in the Cincinnati Reds' 9-4 loss to a San Diego Padres in a split-squads game Wednesday.

Chapman revived a split-finger fastball while allowing four hits, including a homer to Andy Parrino.

"I threw some split-finger fastballs today," Chapman said through interpreter Tomas Vera. "The Reds asked me not to throw that pitch when I first signed with them but now since I'm a starter they told me to go ahead."

The Cuban defector is being converted into a starter and is competing for the fifth spot in the Reds' rotation. He is the only left-hander among the group.

As a reliever, Chapman relied heavily on a fastball clocked as high as 105 mph, but as a starter he needs to develop another quality pitch.

What he is primarily focused on is throwing strikes.

"Chapman had close to seven walks per nine innings," Dusty Baker said. "That's a lot. He was pretty good today. He gave up some hits but only one run."

Chapman insisted he knew he allowed to many walks.

"No one told me that I needed to cut down on walks. I've been focusing on throwing more strikes. My concentration wasn't always there last year because of personal problems."

Todd Frazier, competing for a backup spot behind third baseman Scott Rolen, had a two-run double off Clayton Richard for the Reds.

"He's got a lot more scalding to do," Baker said. "We only have so many spots to start so we'll see."

Frazier leads the Reds with three doubles and three home runs and is tied with Donald Lutz for the team lead with eight RBI.

Richard, who didn't pitch after July 4 and had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, tossed three innings in his second spring game. He allowed two runs on two hits and struck out two.

"Every time I've taken the mound I've been better. I don't think about the shoulder now," Richard said. "I was concentrating on my change-up. It was pretty good pitch for me today. After I get that working I will focus on my cutter."

Andy Parrino hit a solo home run off Chapman in the first inning and Matt Clark had a two-run blast off Jose Arredondo.

NOTES: Barry Larkin, who was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in January, will throw out the first pitch on Friday before the game with Colorado. ... Brandon Phillips' younger brother PJ, who signed a minor league contract with the Reds this winter, shared the field with his older brother. PJ played center field and singled in two plate appearances. ... There were no walks issued in the game. ... Parrino hit his second home run of the spring for San Diego. ... The son of Reds minor league manager Pat Kelly, Casey Kelly, pitched three scoreless innings for San Diego. 

Padres (ss) 8, Diamondbacks (ss) 0 - 3/14/12

Padres pitching prospect Joe Wieland is still expected to be sent to the minors for more seasoning after an impressive performance in his first spring start.

Wieland struck out four and allowed just two hits in four innings, and San Diego's split squad beat the Arizona Diamondbacks' split squad 8-0 on Wednesday.

"I like the use of the fastball hitting both sides of the plate and he mixed in some changes, which he needs to do," manager Bud Black said. "A good breaking ball and a good curveball to (Aaron) Hill to end the fourth -- that was big. A little stress on him and he made some pitches."

Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin hit back-to-back home runs and Nate Freiman added a three-run homer.

"Our offense stayed on them and a couple of big swings by Q and Chase were good to see," Black said. "We added on there in the ninth. All three homers were well struck."

Patrick Corbin started the game for Arizona and allowed three hits and struck out three in three scoreless innings. Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick of last June's draft, followed Corbin, going two innings and giving up one hit and one walk while striking out three.

"It looked like he had a lot of composure from the first pitch," Diamondback manager Kirk Gibson said. "Bauer threw the ball well. He hung an 0-2 curveball and stranded the guy out there. I am sure he was not happy with it but the important thing was he got out of the inning."

Takashi Saito gave up the home runs to Headley and Quentin, the first two batters he faced.

NOTES: Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson was a late scratch because of a strained right groin. He will miss several days. . For the second consecutive day, Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton was hit by a pitch. Last season Upton was hit 19 times to tie for the most in the National league. The Washington Nationals' Danny Espinosa was also plunked 19 times last season . Both benches were warned after Diamondbacks pitcher David Hernandez hit the Padres' Will Venerable in the seventh inning.

Padres 6, White Sox 3 - 3/13/12

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) --
Edinson Volquez hopes this is the year he bounces back all the way.

Still trying to recover from major elbow surgery a few years ago, Volquez made his second solid start of the spring for the San Diego Padres in a 6-3 win Tuesday over the Chicago White Sox.

Volquez is coming off a disappointing season, going 5-7 with a 5.71 ERA. The Cincinnati Reds later traded him to the Padres in the deal for Mat Latos.

After two strong innings, consecutive walks to start the third inning hurt him as both came around to score.

"I was good except for that one inning," Volquez said. "I lost my control a little bit, lost my focus, threw eight balls in a row."

"But it was important I was able to turn it around and make better pitches. The last thing I want is for the manager to come to the mound and take me out. The game is all about adjustments, and I was able to end it strong with a punchout," he said.

Volquez finished his outing by striking out Adam Dunn.

In his first spring start, Volquez gave up one run in two innings against San Francisco.

"Edinson's stuff was good," Padres manager Bud Black said. "His velocity was good, his changeup was good, and he threw some good sliders. He tends to overthrow a little at times, overstride."

The Padres are working with Volquez on embracing the Padres' pitching philosophy of throwing fastballs down and away.

"In Cincinnati, we worked side to side a lot," Volquez said. "Here, it's fastball down and away, and I like that."

"I got behind a hitter 3-1 today, threw a fastball down and away and got a groundball out. So I like the results," he said.

The White Sox got a good effort from starting pitcher Gavin Floyd, who worked the first four innings, allowing one run and five hits.

"I feel like I'm building a base with each outing," Floyd said. "I felt comfortable, and I was working ahead on the count. I'm progressing."

Floyd, who was 12-13 last season and is 51-45 in four-plus seasons with the White Sox, has been the center of trade rumors this spring.

"I hear things, but until something happens I can't worry about it, he said. "I want to be here. My family has embraced Chicago. It's a second home."

"I guess it's a good thing teams want me, teams are asking about me, but I want to be in Chicago," he said.

San Diego's Nick Hundley went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs to raise his spring average to .467. The catcher, who played in just 82 games last season because of an elbow injury, also threw out a baserunner.

Rockies 11, Padres 2 - 3/12/12

Jeremy Guthrie pitched four solid innings, Willin Rosario hit a three-run homer during Colorado's eight-run seventh inning and the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 11-2 on Monday.

Guthrie, acquired in a Feb. 6 trade with Baltimore, gave up a home run to Cameron Maybin to lead off the game. The right-hander allowed just one hit the rest of the way while striking out three.

Brandon Wood, Rosario and Chad Tracy drove in Colorado's first three runs.

Left-hander Cory Luebke had his second straight scoreless outing for the Padres, giving up one hit in three innings.