Good morning, fellow ‘Ballers, and welcome to the last exhibition game the Pads will play before starting what will most likely be the most unusual MLB season in any of our memories. The Padres will venture up I-5 today to play against the Angels in Anaheim, but before we get into that, let’s go over some notes on the team.
- Recent acquisition LHP Tim Hill made his Padres debut last night, throwing as part of last night’s intrasquad activities. Presumed #4 starter Zach Davies “started,” mainly to get some work in and ensure he remained sharp. No word on how anybody looked, since the intrasquads were closed to the media again. If you want to get to know more about LHP Tim Hill, check out the SD-UT’s interview with him.
- Manager Jayce Tingler gave an update regarding the team’s catching situation, stating that the team will largely split time between defensive guru Austin Hedges, and potentially potent bat of Francisco Mejia. “Truthfully, before the COVID hit in Arizona, those 18 games, whatever it was we played, it was basically a 50-50 split,” Tingler said. “To be honest, and I think both guys would admit that, neither of them were playing very well or playing up to their standard when we were in Arizona.” Tingler indicated Tuesday the hot hand could receive the bulk of playing time as the season progresses.
- The team brought more of their prospects into Summer Camp than any other MLB team, a total of 14 of their top prospects and two of their 2020 draft picks, OF Robert Hassell III and RHP Cole Wilcox. Overall, the youngsters impressed, performing well against their MLB counterparts. “It blows me away,” C Austin Hedges said, “because I remember when I was their age, if I was in some sort of big-league camp, I’d be scared out of my mind playing against guys, with (Eric Hosmer) and Machado on the same field. They just don’t seem fazed at all. It really pumps me up for the future.” Padres team members reportedly were impressed by LHP MacKenzie Gore and RHP Luis Patino, as did Hassell, Hudson Head, CJ Abrams, Tucupita Marcano, C Luis Campusano, and LHPs Joey Cantillo and Ryan Weathers. Weathers in particular turned heads by pushing his velocity up to 95-97 mph and retiring six of the eight hitters he faced — all big leaguers — in his 1st intrasquad outing.
- Based on tonight’s outing, the team will finalize its initial 30-man roster, with the major question focusing on the number of pitchers the team will carry. “Is it going to be 15, 16, 17 pitchers?” Tingler asked, rhetorically. “We’re having discussions on that.” Perhaps more importantly, the Padres seem very flexible regarding how they plan to use the Nos. 4 and 5 spots in their rotation. As things stand, the Padres have already sorted out eight places in their bullpen: Kirby Yates, Emilio Pagán, Drew Pomeranz, Matt Strahm, Craig Stammen, Pierce Johnson, Javy Guerra, and newcomer Tim Hill. If Cal Quantrill misses out on a rotation spot, he’s a lock for the bullpen, so that makes it nine. If the team decides to go heavy on pitching, as many as three more slots could be available. Candidates for those spots include Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon and Gerardo Reyes, among others.
- The team will also have fans in the stands, or at least, their images. For the opening series of the season against the D-backs this coming weekend, the Padres will place cardboard cut-outs of players’ family members and loved ones in the seats behind home plate, a gesture that has resonated with players and staff.
That’s it in terms of team news. Let’s take a look at tonight’s exhibition against the Angels:
Game Time: 18:40 p.m. PT in Anaheim.
Pitchers: For the Padres, Joey Lucchesi and Cal Quantrill, still duking it out for the final spot in the starting rotation, are slated to pitch, with Lucchesi getting the start. The Angels will send out LHP Patrick Sandoval, a 23-year old who made all of 10 appearances, nine as a starter, last year for the Angels. He also reported late to Summer Camp after battling a COVID-19 infection.
Broadcast: For the Padres, you can follow along either by radio on local KWFN 97.3, or by watching on Fox Sports - San Diego, or via the MLB.tv app.
That’s it for today. Anything I missed, go ahead and post it in the comments. Go Padres!