Padres postscript: 3/5/10
A few notes, quotes, thoughts and observations from the Padres’ 9-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria
— Manager Bud Black had plenty of praise of his pitchers in this one, especially Mat Latos (2 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout). Latos has really taken to a chance in his delivery he and pitching coach Darren Balsley worked on last fall after he was shut down. Latos also did the work in the off-season on his own to continue that. Balsley told me two weeks ago about how impressed he was at how Latos followed his orders this winter. The change? Lengthening his stride to get a better line toward home plate instead of coming across his body in his delivery. Yes, it sounds complicated. Yes, that’s about as well as I can explain it. Anyway, very good velocity (94 tops) and a good breaking ball.
— Sean Gallagher got five of his six outs on ground balls. Good sinker today, much better than he thought he would have. Had a nice downward action to it. This is a plus pitch for him and one that could serve him well as he moves forward this month. Remember, he’s out of Minor League options and I have to believe another team would scoop him up.The race for the No. 5 spot is going to interesting. Stay tuned.
— How about outfielder Aaron Cunningham taking advantage of some early playing time? He had a three-run double as part of the eight-run third inning on Friday and also stole his second base of the spring. Look for Cunningham to play a lot this spring. He might well end up with Portland to start the season but when the Padres trade Adrian Gonzalez and move big Kyle Blanks to first base Cunningham will slide into the outfield. Whoa! Did I say that? Just kidding … somewhat. No but really, he’s looked good. I’ll write about him more tomorrow.
— Chase Headley, who is looking to improve as a right-handed hitter against left-handers (he’s a switch-hitter) had a two-run single to right field off lefty Garrett Olson in that third inning on Friday. That’s a good sign. Headley also made his first error of the season on a ball chopped hard at him. Again, this is a guy who has been away from the position for two years. It’s going to take some time.
— Will Venable was 0-for-2 but has some good swings against left-hander Luke French early in the game, fouling off five pitches. French got him out but it was encouraging to see Venable hang in there and take some good cuts against a lefty. Venable, a lefty himself, had some struggles facing left-handed pitchers last season.
— Kyle Blanks went 1-for-3 — after getting two hits on Thursday — and nearly had a second hit on Friday. But new Seattle second baseman Chone Figgins made a nice diving play on a ball hit up the middle, recovering in time to get Blanks at first base. Blanks did strike out against hard-throwing Mark Lowe in the game but otherwise looks like he has a plan at the plate.
— David Eckstein had a hit and drove in a run. I’m not going to lie. It was about as scrappy as they come. Also, Logan Forsythe, the third base prospect who will see time at second base this spring, played the ninth inning and helped turn a double play started by another prospect at third base, James Darnell.
On Saturday: Yes, it’s the Padres and Mariners again. The Padres will be the home team this time. The game is at 1:05 p.m. locally and 12:05 p.m. PT back in San Diego.
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Corey Brock, MLB.com, Padres.com, Twitter: FollowThePadres and Facebook.