MadFriars' Tucson Notebook

MadFriars' Tucson Notebook

TUCSON: Notes and observations from the Tucson-Las Vegas series.

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If super utility man Andy Parrino doesn't make the big leagues its not going to be because of a lack of effort. The switch-hitter, despite an early stint on the DL which cost him nearly a month, continues to impress everyone that has seen him this year. Going into Sunday's game he had a .350/.417/.470 line and has played four positions, the majority at shortstop, this season.

Parrino not only hustles during the game, but the 26th round pick of out LaMoyne College in upstate New York is constantly moving during infield and it appears his focus begins when he arrives at the ballpark at 12:30 PM for a 7:00 PM game and doesn't end until well afterward.

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Kyle Blanks looks much better in June in Tucson than he did in April in San Antonio. He seems to be much more aggressive at the plate and moved very well in his start in the outfield. Additionally Blanks is in the best shape and weighs a lean 255 lbs. compared to the 270 lbs. he was when he started in San Diego's outfield at the beginning of 2010.

As of now, Blanks seems to be the only viable candidate internally for a starting corner position in the San Diego outfield for 2012.

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OF Aaron Cunningham is out of options next year which means he either has to make the big club or probably go someplace else. Cunningham, who played well in his short stint in San Diego in 2010 - .288/.331/.417 - mainly coming off of the bench really just needs an opportunity. The problem is his skill set is nearly identical to current Padres OF Chris Denofria, so its hard to see the team keeping Cunningham on the squad with three starting right-handed hitting outfielders.

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One reason Missions' 3b James Darnell may not be up in Tucson right now its pretty crowded. 3b Jesus Guzman is now starting to see more time in the outfield, first base and DH. But already TPadres' manager Terry Kennedy has to find playing time for Cedric Hunter, Aaron Cunningham, Luis Durrango, Matt Clark and now Kyle Blanks in the outfield, first base and DH in addition to Guzman.

In short, one of the above needs to traded, promoted, demoted or released before Darnell comes up to AAA.

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LHP Wade LeBlanc has arguably been the best TPadres pitcher this year and has been using his two-seam fastball and cutter much more than in the past. LeBlanc could put up great numbers in AAA just using his four-seam fastball and changeup but in order to sustain a career in the big leagues he needs to develop a fastball with movement - two-seamer and cutter - to throw to right-handed hitters to set up his plus change.

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