Padres Instructional League Notebook V

Corey Kluber

An early game on Saturday ended up a winner, as the San Diego Padres Instructional League squad defeated the Texas Rangers 8-5. As is par for the course, there was some good and some bad to take away from the day.

  • Corey Kluber gave up a leadoff double to open the bottom half of the first but was efficient the rest of the way, spotting his pitches and displaying his calm demeanor. He made it through two innings unscathed on 28 pitches.

    Mat Latos followed Kluber and was even more effective. He also tossed 28 pitches, using 14 pitches in each frame. The lone hit tallied was of the infield variety and the blame fell on Jhonaton Spraud. Spraud fielded the ball cleanly moving towards first base but tapped his mitt and sailed a ball to first base, allowing the runner to put foot on bag before the ball arrived.

    "Too many pitches," said Latos. "Too many pitches."

    Andrew Gribbin was the third man on the hill and flashed solid off-speed pitches over two frames, tossing 29 pitches. His fastball won't wow anyone, as it sits in the mid-80s, but he was on point with his pitches and when the opposition hit the ball it wasn't very hard. He was victimized by small ball, as the Rangers got a walk, a bloop single, a sacrifice and a ground out to score a run.

    Simon Castro took the hill with a 5-1 lead but was pounded and had trouble staying in the zone. It took 34 pitches for Castro to labor through one-third of an inning. When he was in the zone it was up high and he was taken deep for a three-run homer.

    Castro has dialed down his fastball to gain better command but it didn't help on Saturday.

    Alexis Lara was called upon to finish the inning. He stranded the lone baserunner he inherited, despite the runner stealing a bag and ended up at third with two outs. Lara then made quick work over his next frame, using 18 pitches to record five outs.

    Wilton Lopez finished the contest with a nice assortment of pitches, changing speeds and hurling a mid-90s heater. He has been the most asked about prospect by scouts – wondering if he is Rule 5 eligible. He is not, however, listed as being eligible this year and there are some within the Padres who had believed he might be.

  • Tom King got the game-winning hit a single to drive in a run in the eighth inning. He also scored a run and executed a sacrifice bunt. He was one of several Padres in on a hit-and-run. He skipped the ball on the ground, as is required on a hit-and-run but right at the shortstop as the second baseman covered. It did get the runner over.

    Lance Zawadzki also executed the hit-and-run to perfection, shooting a ball to the vacated spot of the shortstop.

    The team, however, missed several other hit-and-run signs, one causing Drew Cumberland to get caught stealing. It was a point of emphasis after the game.

    "You need to know the hit-and-run signs," manager Doug Dascenzo said. "Study them on Saturday because we will review them first thing Monday morning."

    Luis Durango and Spraud scored two runs, using their speed to get around the bases. Spraud showed nice hustle and scored on a passed ball that went about 10 feet away from the catcher.

    The squad did have several chances to put the game away. They came up four times with the bases loaded and could not secure any runs. Jeudy Valdez struck out twice with two outs. Yefri Carvajal grounded out with two outs. Andrew Parrino struck out with one away.

    The team did go 3-for-4 in getting a runner in from third with less than two outs and 2-for-3 with a runner at second and less than two outs.

    Javis Diaz spit a flare over the shortstop to drive in the first run, knocking in Spraud who drew a walk. Diaz also added a stolen base, a walk, and a sacrifice. His sacrifice was a thing of beauty.

    Brad Chalk continued his hot hitting. He hammered a pitch down the right field line for a double to score a run and then came through with a three-bagger in the pivotal eighth inning to add a second RBI and a run scored in what was a 5-5 game. He had an impressive week.

  • The Padres have decided not to use the radar gun to record a pitcher's velocity during Instructs. Many of the Latin players are obsessed with velocity and this is a ploy to get them to pitch at 90 percent effort while concentrating on throwing strikes.

    Several pitchers noted it has assisted all of the pitchers in throwing more quality strikes.

    "It has helped me out immensely," John Hussey said.

  • Mitch Canham – whose defense has been questioned – threw out a runner at second base on Saturday. It took him 1.95 seconds from the time he caught it to deliver it to second. Anything from 1.8 to 1.9 is considered very good.
  • Bronswell Patrick has been named a pitching coach within the system and reportedly will take over as pitching coach of the Arizona Rookie League Padres with Dave Rajsich taking over full-time in Eugene.

    Patrick was a 23rd-round pick of the Oakland A's in 1988 and pitched in 38 major league games with Milwaukee and San Francisco from 1998-99.

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