Padres primer: 3/11/10

Happy Thursday from Peoria. The Padres have a home game today against the Chicago Cubs at 12:05 p.m. PT. We’re looking at sunny skies and 67 degrees, the start of what promises to be a nice weekend here in the Valley.

You can listen to Andy, Ted and Jerry on AM 1700.

The starting lineup …

1. Cabrera, SS
2. Eckstein, 2B
3. Headley, 3B
4. Hairston, CF
5. Venable, RF
6. Stairs, 1B
7. Torrealba, C
8. Durango, LF
9. Garland, SP

The pitchers:  Garland (3 innings), Bell 1, Gregerson 1, Perdomo 2, Stauffer 2 or 3.

Your Padres news …

A quick recap of Wednesday’s split-squad games.

First, the loss to the Cleveland Indians, highlighted by the pitching of Wade LeBlanc, Simon Castro and a few offensive highlights.

Then the victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, highlighted by the pitching of Sean Gallagher and Mat Latos.

Reliever Joe Thatcher isn’t taking anything for granted, even though he’s being looked upon as  a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen.

It didn’t show Wednesday, but pitcher Aaron Poreda believes he’s turned/turning a corner on getting his mechanics figured out.

Warning-track power …

I failed to mention a few scrappy — yes, scrappy — plays in yesterday’s game by Padres 2B David Eckstein. He slipped on a ground ball hit to him but threw out Ryan Braun at first base from the seat of his pants. He also made a nice running over-the-shoulder catch on a pop-up in short right field. However, unless you were here (most of you weren’t), you missed Eckstein flying out twice to deep left-center field. Just think there the ball would have landed had he not been choked up eight inches on the bat. Yes, I’m kidding.

From the training room …

Pitchers Edward Mujica (quad) and Greg Burke (shoulder) are scheduled to throw live batting practice sessions . Ernesto Frieri (groin) will throw on the side. Also, as we keep mentioning, Mark Worrell, less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, will throw in a game on Saturday against the A’s.

And at first base …

Veteran Matt Stairs will start at first base today against the Cubs. Yes, he does have a glove (I asked). Stairs, an outfielder by trade, has played 287 career games at first base, though he hasn’t played there since 2007 when he was with Toronto. Stairs told me this morning that he liked playing first base. I asked if it was because he feels more “into” the game, the action. He said he likes the mess with the pitchers and the infielders. Only he didn’t use the word mess.

Behind the plate …

I’m pretty sure the Padres haven’t been as well off behind the plate in Bud Black’s first three seasons as they are now. We’re not just talking Nick Hundley and Yorvit Torrealba, either. Dusty Ryan, Chris Stewart and Michael Collins have been impressive in camp. Ryan was good behind the plate in Goodyear yesterday, blocking several balls in the dirt when Poreda and Jackson Quezada were pitching.

KT to the Yankees? Duh. …

Look for official word soon that former Padres general manager Kevin Towers will be joining the New York Yankees as a special assistant. In other news, too much sunlight is bad for your skin and too much wine on your 40th birthday (you know, a hypothetical) can lead to a hangover. I think we saw this one coming for months, especially with Towers’ relationship with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. I’m sure we’ll see KT down the road somewhere.

Corey Brock, MLB.com, Padres.com

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