MadFriars' Spring Training 2014: Day 3

The AA and AAA teams were in action in Peoria today against, as is the case of many of the games on the minor league backfields of Peoria, the Seattle Mariners - the Padres inter-league competition and rivals for the coveted "Veder Cup."

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RHP Burch Smith took the mound today was so-so. Remember the ball moves very little in the Arizona sun thus Smith was pretty much limited to fastballs and change-ups. His fastball ranged from 88-93 and he did show a much improved change-up. He threw the occasional curve that did frustrate the visiting Seattle Mariners farmhands.

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OF Rymer Liriano was also in action and looked good after sitting out last year with Tommy John surgery. He is an excellent shape and says that he feels great but right now his timing is not where he would want it to be after a long layoff.

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One of the more impressive performances was by RHP Jorge Reyes who showed a very good two-seam fastball/slider combination. Everything was down in the zone and moving. Reyes, who pitched in AAA Tucson last year, was moved to the bullpen last season seems to shine in one and two inning stints as opposed to starting.

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RHP Justin Hancock was also in action on the other field and looked good. Hancock was very good in Fort Wayne last summer and struggled after his promotion to Lake Elsinore did a good job of keeping the ball down with the exception of a mistake up in the zone that resulted in an opposite field home run.

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As with last year in Lake Elsinore, look for many of the same group of players to be in San Antonio this season - CF Travis Jankowski, 2B Cory Spangenberg, SS Jace Peterson and C Austin Hedges - which means that team will be very strong up the middle. Both Hedges and Spangenberg were there for part of the second half and the guess is that is where they will start the year.

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There is some intense competition to make the Fort Wayne squad but look for a significant number of players from last year's AZL Padres to make the team as compared to in year's past. On Friday we profiled the four infielders that could make the squad but also keep an eye on OF Rod Boykin, Jose Urema and Franmil Reyes.

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Middle relievers get no publicity but LHP Chris Nunn, is someone worth watching. Nunn pitched very well for the TinCaps last year with an 8-2 record and a 2.77 ERA and looked very sharp in his outing today. With a dearth of lefty relief pitchers he could be a quick riser.

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LHP Max Fried is expected to begin the year in Extended Spring to build back up his innings before going to Lake Elsinore. Fried says that he feels great and sitting out was much more of a precaution than an actual injury.

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