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Padres Spring Training Round-Up: March 3rd, 2021

First win of the spring!

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks
Already in mid-season form.
Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Good morning, Friar Faithful, and welcome back to another day of Padres baseball! The Good Guys put a beat down on the D-backs, winning 7-2. After only scoring 1 run in their first 2 games, the Padres’ bats came alive. CF Trent Grisham got things going in the first inning, earning a leadoff walk. He then advanced to 3rd off a Fernando Tatis Jr. single, then stole home as part of a double steal with FTJ when D-backs C Daulton Varsho threw to 2B in a failed attempt to catch Tatis. Arizona came back in their half of the 1st inning to tie it, but the Friars broke out the lumber in the 2nd inning. 2B Jake Cronenworth singled, then came around to score when C Austin Nola (serving as DH) doubled. The boys then loaded the bases, and FTJ then brought back Slam Diego.

In case you were wondering, yes, FTJ’s batflip is already in mid-season form.

The Padres would also make several fine plays in the field. 3B Manny Machado flashed the leather early on, making a nice back-handed grab before firing a laser to 1B Eric Hosmer.

With the game well in hand, the Hot Talent Lava came in to replace the regulars starting in the 5th inning. CJ Abrams, Robert Hassell III, Eguy Rosario, and many others came in, with Abrams flashing his 80-grade speed later in the game. He lined a shot into right-center, and cruised into 3B for an easy triple. He’d come in to score on a sac fly shortly after.

On the mound, LHP Ryan Weathers impressed, going 2 innings while giving up 1 R (1 ER) off of 2 hits and 1 BB while K-ing 2. The young lefty also showed noticeably improved velocity from last year, throwing multiple fastballs at 96-97 mph. Weathers also displayed an extremely quick pick-off move, erasing Arizona’s Trayce Thompson in the 2nd. Weathers was followed by RHP Michel Baez, who struggled somewhat with his command (he allowed a run in his 2 innings, not bad considering the 3 hits and 3 walks he conceded), and then Aaron Leasher and Miguel Diaz. Diaz, who in 2018 struck out 30 batters in 18.2 innings, hadn’t pitched in the majors since due to knee injuries. He struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in the 7th inning and allowed a single in a scoreless 8th.

Overall, a nice game for the Boys in Brown. Let’s get to news and notes:

  • Statcast estimated FTJ’s grand slam traveled an estimated 441 feet, landing high up on the berm beyond left field at Salt-River Field. “Hit it about as clean as you can hit a ball,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “That was really, really good to see.” FTJ’s shot was about as no-doubt as it gets; it left his bat at 114 mph, which exceeded his single in the 1st inning of 108 mph (it also would’ve been his hardest hit homer last year, just as an FYI).
  • As mentioned yesterday, there was good news and bad news from the back fields. RHP Dinelson Lamet took the mound for a live BP session, throwing 15 pitches total (but no sliders, per team request), hitting 96 mph on the gun with his fastball. While Lamet allowed singles to Jorge Mateo and Tucupita Marcano, he did induce several whiffs, and he leapt off the mound in a rare show of emotion. There’s no guarantee that Lamet cracks the Opening Day roster; the team does not want to rush Lamet back, which he’s fine with: “It’s going to be an ongoing discussion with our medical team, and I think that’s a good thing,” Lamet said. “We have really good communication on the subject, and we’re taking everything day by day. I know I’m going to be ready to help in the season. But at the same time I want to make sure that I’m progressing well. That’s really the stance that we’ve been taking. Once I join the team and once I’m ready to go and once I’m pitching, I don’t want to go backwards.”
  • Ok, so that was the good news; what was the bad? LHP Jose Castillo, who has only thrown 0.2 MLB innings in the last 2 years, suffered another setback. He was pulled 6 pitches into his live BP session with what’s currently described as a forearm tightness. The team will reevaluate Castillo today.
  • As mentioned above, LHP Ryan Weathers continues to impress Padres coaches, and the young lefty wants to make a BIG impression in his first big-league camp. The son of former MLB pitcher David Weathers, he would go on to make his MLB debut in the post-season last year against the Dodgers, fulfilling his father’s promise to throw strikes. While the experience was short-lived, Weathers wants more than a taste of MLB level; he wants to stay. “I got a little taste of the big leagues, as in three days,” Weathers, now 21, said after Tuesday’s performance. “I don’t want to leave so I’m hoping to do everything in my power to stay. I know that your first time in big-league camp you only get one first impression.” He cut his weight on his 6’1” frame from about 235 pounds last year to about 220 as spring training began, and has mirrored his father’s training regime from his time as a player while still lifting heavy in the weight room. Most importantly, Weathers displays the same high baseball IQ his father did, a fact not lost on Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild. “The one similarity, which is pretty glaring, is they’re both smart pitchers,” Rothschild said. “Ryan has a really good understanding of the game, ahead of his years. I’ve talked to David a few times. He understands it. He doesn’t want to be overbearing coaching his son. He wants to let people do the work. He wants Ryan to figure a lot of it out. For a parent to be able to take a step back at times — I know with my kid it’s not that easy to do — I really like what he’s done with him. He’s been great. He’s been terrific to talk to. He’s a proud dad, but knows the boundaries that are going to help his son.”

To that end, Weathers knows he’s not a finished product. The Padres’ to-do list this spring includes helping Weathers soften his change-up, perhaps with a grip picked up from MacKenzie Gore, as well as fine-tuning his slider. For that, there’s no better mentor for a young pitcher in his first big-league camp than Yu Darvish, who “spins the ball better than any pitcher in the game and has like 17 pitches,” Weathers said. “You’re getting to be around a lot of big leaguers that have been proven in the game, hanging out with Cy Young finalists, a Cy Young winner, just trying to pick their brain a little bit, trying to figure out some more stuff about baseball. Eventually I know in the long run it’s going to help me more being around them, watching them do their work, their routine and just trying to get myself to be more routine-oriented and hopefully get better as a pitcher.”

That’s it for today. As a reminder, the Padres will finally appear on TV for the first time this spring. LHP Blake Snell makes his Padre debut, facing off against the Brewers in Peoria. Game time is set for 1210 Pacific. Feel free to use this post as your game thread.