Members of the Padres organization scattered across the globe today. Well, maybe not literally, but the Padres selected to participate in the World Baseball Classic left the Padres camp to join their international teammates as they acquainted themselves with their new teammates and played exhibition games against some MLB spring training teams. Team Canada (with Padres Jamie Romak and Josh Naylor) played the Toronto Blue Jays, Team Dominican Republic (with Padre Bryan Rodriguez) played the Baltimore Orioles, and Team Mexico (with Padres Carlos Fisher and Luis Urias) played our very own San Diego Padres. Rather than focus on these games as a whole, let’s zoom in on what the players from the Padres organization did today.
Canada vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Jamie Romak got the start for Team Canada at third base, flashing some leather a couple of times before moving to right field in the sixth inning. He had himself a pretty good game, going 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. Josh Naylor saw his first game action this spring as he replaced starter Freddie Freeman at first base in the fourth inning. The 19-year-old slugger grounded into a double play to end the sixth inning in his first plate appearance, but drilled a double in the ninth and later scored from third on a wild pitch. He even got to flash some leather of his own over at first base. Canada won the game 7-1, thanks in part to the fine play of our Friar representatives.
Dominican Republic vs. Baltimore Orioles
Lone Padre Bryan Rodriguez was not on the active roster for this game. Baltimore won 5-4, no big whoop. Move along, nothing to see here.
Mexico vs. San Diego Padres
While the Padres suited up in their familar SD uniforms, Padres middle infielder Luis Urias had the honor of playing for his nation for the first time, which is a distinction that gives him great pride. He got the start at shortstop for the Mexican squad, and here’s the lineup the Padres matched against them:
That’s Walker Lockett getting his first start for the Padres. He was added to the 40-man roster last December, and the talented 22-year-old could be a piece of the big league team’s rotation later this season. He pitched two scoreless innings , only giving up one hit and no walks. Christian Friedrich followed with three scoreless innings. Craig Stammen allowed the first run of the game for Mexico in the sixth, then Ryan Buchter and Jose Torres put up zeros in the seventh and eighth. Torres made a great catch, starting a double playto close the eighth,
The Padres offense got off to an early lead, scoring two runs in the first inning. Erick Aybar led off with a double, which was followed by a single from Cory Spangenberg. A Wil Myers smoked a double down the third base line, plating Aybar and moving Spangenberg to third, who scored on a sacrifice fly from Hunter Renfroe. Scoring continued in the third inning. Cory Spangenberg led the inning off with a triple into the right field corner (the wheels are looking fresh!), and later scored on a Carlos Asuaje sacrifice fly. Jabari Blash continued his hot spring, hitting a laser the other way for an RBI single. In the fourth, Spangenberg hit a single into centerfield, knocking in Franchy Cordero. Hector Sanchez extended the lead with a solo homer in the sixth, and Cordero drilled a double off the left-center wall that knocked in Jose Pirela for the Padres’ seventh run of the game.
The ninth inning got a little hairy for the home team. Kyle McGrath brought his quirky delivery to the mound to start the inning. He gave up two runs and then loaded the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs. Andy Green brought in Christian Bethancourt to work out of the jam, and he induced a pop fly on his second pitch to earn the save. Padres win, 7-2.
With these Padres players spread all over the place, one might need crazy eyes like Steve Buscemi’s character in “Mr. Deeds” to watch them all. It’s fun to see these guys get opportunites to experience some different things and have some fun. The Padres have the day off tomorrow, but WBC exhibition games will be played, so watch for our guys as they play for their country!