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Notes from Darren Balsley interview

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Smith interview with Padres Pitching Coach Darren Balsley

Here's my notes:

  • Balsley said he's never seen a pitcher retire 14 with 12 strikeouts and have 11 of the 13 balls put in play go as hits. "It was a very strange line."  He didn't have any answers for Andrew Cashner after the game.  Last night was an anomaly.
  • Derek Norris has caught the ball better than Balsley expected.  For some reason he didn't think Norris would be as good as a receiver as he is.  "I think he's doing fine back there."  Austin Hedges is as good at receiving as any catcher out there.
  • Tonight is a big start for Ian Kennedy. Balsley and Kennedy are aware that he's struggling.  They worked on some things in his last bullpen session and they got a lot accomplished as they ironed out his mechanics.  "Only time will tell."
  • Odrisamer Despaigne has been pitching very well.  Despaigne had been shaking off a lot of pitches.  Balsley's game plan for him the last few starts has been to not allow him to shake off his catcher.  By doing this, there's more focus on executing the pitches.  He shook off two pitches last game and they both resulted in hits.
  • Balsley agrees that Despaigne may have had a tougher time this year communicating with his catchers since he's a native Spanish speaker and he no longer has a catcher who speaks Spanish.  He's made great strides to learn English though.
  • When Brandon Morrow comes off the disabled list the Padres will be faced with a tough decision.  They'll have to find a place for him in the rotation.  A six man rotation might be a possibility.  "It just popped into my head.  I doubt it will happen."  A decision will be made between Kennedy and Despaigne.  Balsley says Despaigne is more versatile and will take it all in stride if he's moved to the bullpen.
  • Tyson Ross gives up a lot of stolen bases.  The coaches talked about it for hours on end the last two days.  Balsley has tried to simplify things for Ross and not have him worry too much about the running game.  "It may be time now to work into the slide step here and there." Balsley is ready to introduce a lower leg kick too.  They'll work on holding base runners today in Ross's bullpen session.