Padres MLN: Setting expectations

Tony Gonzalez

Peoria, AZ- The San Diego Padres minor league staff has been happy with the tempo and play of their prospects through the first few weeks of camp. They are adamant that continues.

Minor league field coordinator Tom Gamboa addressed the team prior to the morning workouts, stressing how good they had worked to date and imploring them to keep it up.

"Everybody is more than pleased with the way you have practiced and played – don't mess it up. You are doing a great job but let's keep it up."

This came on the same day that the Padres would begin their minor league schedule with games against the Cubs.

Also on the morning agenda was a reminder about professionalism.

Hitting coordinator Tony Muser called out several prospects, including Pablo Menchaca and Angel Mercado. After Mercado homered on a fastball from Menchaca, a cheer of "whoo" went up before Mercado had crossed home plate.

That display did not sit well with the coaching staff. Muser asked if Menchaca was mad over the ordeal and went on to reprimand the players for acting out.

"We don't want to show up anybody. Next time you will get a little chin music. It might not be to the next batter but it will happen. Act like a professional."

His message rang loud and clear to the players, and Muser noted that it is ok to celebrate after they get in the dugout in a calm fashion. Act like they have done it before.

  • Mercado, Tony Gonzalez and Shane Buschini are taking their turn at first base. All have been outfielders in the past and spent last year patrolling the outfield grass.

    "Soft hands Tony," Gamboa yelled. "I know it has been a while."

    The biggest adjustment has been learning all the calls for defensive plays.

    Keoni Ruth was a natural leader on the field during the drills, giving Gonzalez some advice on a bunt play that Gonzalez was able to get back on. Gonzalez wanted Ruth to take the throw but Ruth saw it differently.

    "Anytime you can get back, we would rather have you take the ball. Just say, ‘I got it.' His knowledge of the defensive plays proved invaluable to the newest first basemen.

  • One of the more enjoyable times in camp occurs when the Padres play 14 outs with their prospects. The idea is 14 basic plays apply to most situations during game action.

    It took the Double-A team three tries to get through their ordeal, although Carlos Lezcano admitted he took it easy on the club because of several newcomers that were being indoctrinated to the system.

  • On the injury front:

    Euclides Viloria is nursing a sore shoulder and will not throw in any games before extended spring training. There are some who believe he overworked himself in the off-season and came in sore.

    Jose Mayi came down with back stiffness last week and is sidelined for the next few days. His condition is day-to-day, but he has time to return to form.

    Pascual Juan is nursing another injury. He had some shoulder stiffness but is set to throw a bullpen session sometime this weekend. He is not expected to pitch in a game over the next week.

  • Other notes:

    Nic Crosta is flashing a short, compact stroke. With some of the fastest hands in the system, Crosta should benefit from his new approach at the dish.

    Crosta worked hard this off-season with Jim Lefebvre in January and feels he is ahead of the pack with his work. He is seeing the ball well and has his diet firmly under control. He noted that it hit him pretty hard last year and frustrated him as he struggled down the stretch.

    Andrew Parrino saw time at third base on Friday. After appearing overanxious in the cage the other day, he brought a more relaxed approach into the game, even drawing a walk. Parrino also worked with Lefebvre this January and has calmed his approach down to take advantage of his natural athleticism.

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