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Padres GM Hoyer: The ballpark has become an "obsession", team is "spooked"

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XX Sports Radio: Jed Hoyer Interview with Darren Smith (MP3)

  • "Tough Week".  Hoyer thought the Padres had started to turn their season around after the last road trip.  "We've come back home and have actually been worse than we were before."
  • They sent Will Venable to AAA to give Chris Denorfia more playing time.
    "That's one change and if that doesn't shake things up enough we may make more changes."
    "You can just sit here and watch the same result over and over. We're spooked in this ballpark right now and that's got to change."
  • Bud Black told Hoyer that he wanted to start playing Denorfia every day. Venable has had no consistency all year.  He needs to play everyday in AAA to figure his stuff out.  It was a move both to help Venable and the team. 
    "While the purpose wasn't this, I do hope that it sends a little bit of a message.  Will was definitely one of our guys, he hasn't performed and he's in the minor leagues.  If we keep playing like this then it's not going to be the last change we make."
    They discussed other changes too, but decided to start with this one.
  • Guys get called up from AA all the time.  It's a little bit more uncommon to bring up hitters.  Blake Tekotte has some pop in his bat. He's young and hungry.  It's also nice to bring up a fresh face. He'll hopefully inject some energy into the team.  Hoyer thinks he'll play against tough right handed pitching and give Cameron Maybin a day off.  He won't play everyday but he certainly won't just sit on the bench.
  • Cedric Hunter did a great job in the spring, but did not perform as well as Blake. "It's not a knock on Cedric it's more of a compliment to Blake."  Aaron Cunningham has done a good job, but he's right handed and the fit wasn't there.
  • Hoyer sure hopes that Venable will return to the Padres this year if he fixes his approach.  He needs to play in an environment where he can work on some things.
  • Will Venable was disappointed but respectful.  He was curious to why they moved him.  He asked a lot of questions.  "No temper tantrum, no excuses."
  • Hoyer and Black told Venable that they weren't putting their offensive struggles on him.  "Six or seven other guys could be sitting in this room."  Will wasn't going to be playing everyday and that was the crux of it.  "Will Venable is not the reason this team hasn't performed the way it should have.  He's one of a number of guys who have struggled."
  • The current struggles remind Hoyer of September 2010.  "I thought we past whatever confidence issues or swagger issues we had."  The source of the frustration is that the team is right back where they started after the great offensive road trip.
  • Hoyer thought the 2010 team was "less talented offensively" than the current team.  Hoyer never heard a word about the ballpark last year, this year it has become an "obsession". 
    "The ballpark isn't the reason we're struggling."
    Hoyer doesn't think the Padres need to move the fences in. 
    "80% of the questions that are asked right now are about the ballpark and how it's affecting the guys.  I don't think that's healthy thing.  I think our guys have to get past it."
    "Let's not blame the ballpark, I think we have to blame our offensive approach or our lack of hits."
  • Hoyer isn't blaming the media for the ballpark questions.  "I'm not laying it at the media's doorstep."  There's been chatter in the clubhouse.  "It's a cycle." There's a lot of guys frustrated with the ballpark.   "We're allowing it to beat us."
  • Bud Black has made it clear to the team that they don't want to hear "chirping" about the ballpark from the players.  "It's not something that is talked about openly, but it's festering in there."  Players are focusing more on the elements rather than their own approach.  Blame for that belongs to Hoyer, the coaches and the players.
  • The offensive isn't always as bad as it looks because of the ballpark and the pitching isn't always as good as it looks. The Padres haven't gotten the wins because the run prevention hasn't been as good.  The team hasn't pitched as well and the defense has been sloppy.
  • "One of the biggest challenges to this team is that we never have a lead."
    That's hard on a team and it's psyche.  They're averaging 1 run a game in the first 6 innings.
  • Hoyer doesn't think that the Padres have a natural lead off player on the team.  He hopes they'll acquire that type of player or have one come up through the system. 
  • Hoyer says that having Chase Headley bat lead off isn't a bad idea. They talked about him batting second. Hoyer doesn't mind an unconventional line up.  Hoyer doesn't think he'll ever be a high RBI guy.  He think he's a high on base guy. He's incredibly valuable on the team.  He doesn't complain about the ballpark.
  • Nick Hundley is doing okay.  He'll hopefully pick up a bat sometime this week.  He had a bit of a set back last week.
  • Since 2004 when the ballpark opened.  They've played 509 games played here. The Padres and opposition had identical stats hitting .240, slugging .369 and .284 in play batting average.
  • The slugging percentage in MLB has dropped 45-50 points since 2004.
  • Some guys use mental therapists to deal with the constant failure in baseball.  In Boston they had a guy who threw batting practice and was employed full time as a therapist.