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Padres Spring Training Round-up: March 10th, 2021

Let’s get a winning streak going...

Kansas City Royals v San Diego Padres
Fans wear pitcher Yu Darvish’s jersey around the ballpark during the game against the Kansas City Royals.
Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

Apologies all; work stepped in and interrupted my ability to write yesterday.

Anyways, the Padres enjoyed their first day-off of the spring on Monday, then were back in action against the White Sox, as LHP Blake Snell makes his 2nd start of the spring. The Padres took the win, thanks to some offensive fireworks.

Blake Snell worked a clean 2 innings, giving up only 1 hit while K-ing 1. Young Ryan Weathers followed, and he was tagged in his 2nd inning of work. He gave up 2 hits, 1 BB, and 2 runs (1 earned) while K-ing 1. However, that’s all the offense the Sox would get, as the Padres bullpen came in and locked things down the rest of the way. LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHP Emilio Pagan were especially effective, each pitching 1 inning with no hits while K-ing 2 a piece (Pagan did give up 1 BB).

The Padres starters mostly struggled early. While 3B Manny Machado went 2-2, CF Trent Grisham K’d twice, 1B Eric Hosmer went 0-3 with 1 K, and C Austin Nola and LF Tommy Pham each worked a BB in their single ABs, limiting offensive opportunities. RF Wil Myers, however, in his final at bat, decided to make his own opportunity by launching a 1-2 pitch out to CF. That seemed to get the rest of the Padres bats going. INF Eguy Rosario reached on error, and then came scampering home when C Luis Campusano ripped a double into LF, tying the game. Campusano would advance to 3B after a groundout by Ivan Castillo, before coming home himself on a single by SS Tucupita Marcano to take the lead. The Friars would add 1 more run in the 8th inning, off a sac fly by INF Nick Tanielu, scoring Marcano. See below for the offensive highlights:

Al in all, a nice win for the good guys. Let’s get into news and notes.

  • AJ Cassavell recounts how Manny Machado became, well, Manny Machado. Manny remembers the instructions he received as a skinny 16-year old like it was yesterday: “It was: ‘Meet me here at eight o’clock in the morning at the University of Miami,’” Machado says. “’Bring a gallon of water and bananas.’” And, for the first time in his life, Machado got his butt kicked: Machado ran, did squats (he had never done a proper squat before in his life), went through a series of lifts, then took ground balls and hit. Then, he ran again. When it was done, Machado was physically and mentally drained, like never before in his life, courtesy of then highly-touted Reds 1B prospect Yonder Alonso. At the time, Machado realized he’d gained an incredibly valuable workout partner and mentor; It was only later when, after both had broken through into the big leagues, they realized they had a bond outside of baseball, too. Machado later met and married Alonso’s sister, Yainee, uniting Machado and Alonso as brothers in law. This relationship also paid dividends for the Padres when, prior to 2019, GM AJ Preller came calling on Machado about signing with the Padres. Machado called Alonso to ask what he thought of San Diego, and Alsonso, who spent 4 years with the Padres, raved about the city and the fanbase, saying “If you go to San Diego you’ll probably never come back to Miami.” While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, Alonso credits San Diego with his development as an MLB player. “They always took care of me,” Alonso said. “That’s the place that saw me grow — into a man, into a person, into a dad. Going back there (to San Diego) was just a cherry on top.” That Alonso got to retire as a Padre is a point of pride for both him and his brother-in-law.
  • The Padres celebrated a couple of birthdays yesterday:
  • The Padres are liking what they are seeing from CF Trent Grisham. So far this spring, Grisham has worked counts, earning multiple walks. This improved plate discipline leads the team to marvel at the 24-year old who already seems to personify exactly what they want their batters to be, especially at the top of the order. Grisham’s patience was already on display last year: Grisham reached a full count in 52 of his 252 plate appearances in 2020, oncee every 4.85 times up. Just 14 players got to 3-2 more frequently, a group that includes Joey Votto, Mike Trout, Juan Soto and Marcus Semien. (Tatis was right behind at once every 4.94 plate appearances.) Grisham took 61.7% of the pitches thrown to him, 12th most in the majors. The Padres envision Grisham on-base often, setting up SS Fernando Tatis Jr. and 3B Manny Machado to produce quick runs early in games.
  • So far, the Padres’ projected starting rotation has yet to allow a run this spring. Blake Snell’s scoreless outing in the Padres’ 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch marked the 6th time a member of the projected rotation has started a game this spring, allowing 0 runs in a combined 11 innings. “The reason why it’s been solid starts from a lot of these guys is just that they’re solid players,” Snell said. “I mean, It’s pretty simple. We’ve got guys that can really throw the ball.” While Snell did well, that doesn’t mean he felt he was at his best. “A lot of things I got to get better at,” Snell said. “First-pitch strikes was terrible today. I’ve got to get better, got to be in the zone. ... But there’s a lot to dissect. I’ll look at it, I’ll learn from it, I’ll get better, and I’ll be better for the next start.” So far, the only member of the starting rotation that’s yet to make a start is RHP Dinelson Lamet.
  • Speaking of Lamet, after Lamet’s successful simulated outing on Sunday, Tingler detailed one further step before the RHP can get into game action this spring. Lamet will take part in another simulated game later this week, where he will throw multiple innings for the first time. “We’ll see how he gets out of that,” Tingler said. “Then we’ll start talking about getting him into game action if everything goes well. Right now, he’s been doing well. The biggest test is going to be having that up-down. We think if we can pass that test, then we’ll start laying out, ‘Hey, what’s the best thing going forward? And what do these timelines look like?’”
  • Two Padres veterans continued their strong springs. Wil Myers’ 2nd homer of the spring brought his OPS to 1.000 in 18 plate appearances so far. 3B Manny Machado, after recording a single, a double, and a walk yesterday, now has 3 hits (2 doubles) and 2 BBs in his last 8 plate appearances, and is 6-12 with 4 BBs this spring.
  • Perhaps stung by all the attention to CJ Abrams, the Padres’ 4th-ranked position prospect, Tucupita Marcano, continued his strong spring. He’s currently 3rd in the Cactus League with a .538 batting average, and leads all Padres with a 1.462 OPS this spring. Rancho Bernardo High alumnus Gosuke Katoh also kept up a promising pace. The infielder is 5-12 after a double on Tuesday.
  • SS Fernando Tatis Jr. has missed the last 3 games with what Tingler described as “aches and pains in the body.” Tingler did not address the specifics but noted that it’s not COVID-related. “If we were in-season, 100%, he would be in there,” Tingler said. “But with a little over three weeks to go, we’re going to make sure we get him back to 100%.” Tatis was off to a hot start to Spring Training, having reached base 5 times in 10 plate appearances, including a thunderous grand slam against Arizona last week. The Padres are optimistic that after a full workout on Wednesday, Tatis will be available to face Cleveland on Thursday.
  • Going forward, the team anticipates paring down on opportunities for some of their younger players, as the team gives their starters more innings. That said, RHP Anderson Espinoza will likely appear in a game soon. He would have made a Cactus League appearance already this spring if not for a blister on his throwing hand. Also, Padres starting pitchers are expected to begin batting in games next week. They have been bunting and taking batting practice in the cage since the start of camp, but the Padres want to limit the exposure to injury by keeping them out of games. While it seems unlikely, teams are also holding out hope for a last-minute agreement that will result in the designated hitter being used in the National League this season.
  • For you Padres Season-ticket holders, some good news for you. The team is close to finalizing how they will accommodate ticket holders in Petco Park. The team said it expects anyone with a full- or half-season membership will be able to attend every game for which they have tickets, with seating based on tenure and package type. The club reiterated in the email that it will allow members to opt out of some or all of the season. Currently, the team believes enough season ticket holders will opt out that every member who wants to attend all the games in their season ticket plan will be able to do so. However, the team won’t know whether that is guaranteed for a couple weeks. Based on the number of opt-outs the team receives, there may also be single-game tickets available for purchase at some point, perhaps as soon as later this month. With San Diego currently in California’s “Red” Tier, Petco Park would open at ~20% capacity, or room for 10,000 fans, on Opening Day, which the team is PUMPED about.

That’s it for today. The Padres face off against the Colorado Rockies today at Salt River Fields. LHP MacKenzie Gore will make his 2nd start of the spring, with first pitch set for 1210 Pacific.