Here are your spring training news and notes for Thursday, February 28.
-I first caught up with Jerry Keel. He was in great spirits and excited to be throwing three innings in the backfield on the day. He would face the Padres major league team in his outing as Eric Hosmer, Ian Kinsler, Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes, and Austin Hedges all took hacks off of the big lefty on Thursday.
-In interviewing Robert Stock, I learned several fascinating facts about the pitcher. He enjoys using the Rapsodo machines (pitch tracking) and we had a great conversation about that and other aspects of his game. Interview piece coming soon.
-There was a basketball free for all on Thursday as several members of the team blew off some steam on the court. Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe, and others were seen enjoying the exercise next to the Padres’ locker room.
-Ian Kinsler is intense. We talked a bit about what he brings to the team and how he enjoys leading by example. He had some interesting things to say about the Padres and why he chose to sign with San Diego. Interview piece coming soon.
-In the presser, Andy Green was asked about Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi and if he sees them as a lock to make the rotation. He stated that they have a “leg up” but there are no guarantees that they will make the starting rotation.
-I asked Andy Green if the Padres needed an innings eater for the 2019 season. He responded that it was A.J. Preller’s call. He also said he was prepared to go into the season with what the team has currently.
-When asked about Manny Machado and his spring debut, Green did not reveal anything. He did say that he would be evaluated in the next two days. It seems likely that Machado will make his debut in the Padres next home game, which is Saturday.
-Prospect Pedro Avila was in the bullpen working on mechanics. He seemed to be ironing out some issues with his windup.
-Minor league camp was in full effect on the backfields. I watched infield and outfield prospects all morning featuring some of the Padres younger players. A lot of valuable information was gathered.
-Coach Tony Tarasco was utilizing the fungo machine as the major league outfielders had drills in the morning. A few nice plays here and there from the group.
-Manager Andy Green pitched BP to Franmil Reyes, Manny Machado, and Eric Hosmer on Thursday. An excellent way to get an up-close look at the Padres newest player and third baseman.
–Kirby Yates was throwing in the backfields. He started a late morning game for the Padres. He allowed a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler but was able to get out of the inning without heavy damage. Manny Machado grounded out off Yates in the first.
–Phil Maton was also throwing in the game for the Padres on Thursday. He faced Franmil Reyes with runners on and gave up a 400-foot sac fly to center.
–Luis Urias smoked a ball to center field in Surprise against the Royals. The shot to dead center was easily 20-feet over the wall. After the game, Andy Green praised Urias but also said that he is a hitter who gets on base, not one who drives the ball over the fence.
-Eric Lauer and Francisco Mejia continue to work well together. In four starts (last year and today) with Mejia, Lauer has thrown 17.1 innings pitched and allowed two runs (one earned) on 13 hits and has struck out 21 batters. I will ask Lauer tomorrow about Mejia.
–Logan Allen threw well today and worked fast. Andy Green praised him after the game for continuing to pound the zone and attack hitters. Allen had nice things to say about Francisco Mejia after the game. He commended the catcher for his improved defensive efforts and “soft hands.”
-The Padres dropped the game on Thursday as Bryan Mitchell walked the winning run home with two outs in the ninth.