Padres postscript: 3/12/10

Hey friends, just got back from Surprise! The Padres fell behind early and ended up losing to the Texas Rangers, 6-2. As always, here’s a few notes, observations and other random goodies for you to digest on a sunny Friday.

— Let’s start from the top, yes? Pitcher Clayton Richard had big time command issues today. He was supposed to go three innings but lasted only two, allowing six runs on six hits while walking four. Vladimir Guerrero, who never met a pitch he didn’t like, looked at eight consecutive balls in two at-bats. No, there’s no way to sugarcoat this and Richard, to his credit, didn’t try. “You don’t want to have these kind of outings,” Richard said. “It was command of everything, it wasn’t isolated to just one pitch and it was very evident.”

— On a brighter note, pitcher Cesar Ramos looked pretty good. He scattered three hits over three shutout innings. He walked two walks and four strikeouts. Ramos struck out the side in the sixth inning. So that’s encouraging. “He got better as the game went on,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. Black noted an improvement on Ramos’ curveball.

— Pitcher Cesar Carrillo, who came into the game in relief of Richard, left after one innings with a tight right hamstring. Black said Carrillo was removed for precautionary reasons. It doesn’t sound too serious. I’m sure we’ll find out more Saturday. For what it’s worth, Carrillo allowed one hit and one walk with one strikeout in his only inning of work.

— Offensively, the Padres had 11 hits. Matt Antonelli had three of them, including an infield single. He’s hitting .471 (8 for 17) this spring and the staff has noticed. “You can see the aggressive swing earlier in the count on fastballs. He’s getting the head of the bat out.” I talked to Antonelli earlier this spring about his re-tooled swing, one he worked on last fall here in Arizona. Obviously, something is clicking for him. Remember, the Padres will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster if Matt Stairs makes the team. It’s pretty safe to assume that Antonelli is safe, though there’s not a lot of fat on the 40-man currently.

— Back to Richard for a minute. Remember, Black has never said the fourth starter job is all his. “He’s got a leg up. We think a lot of Clayton. We want all of our guys to pitch well in the spring.” Don’t read much into one outing. Richard, in my mind, is still the favorite for the No. 4 job. That said, more outings like this and he won’t be. There are other candidates in camp who are throwing well (Matt Latos, Sean Gallagher, Wade LeBlanc and Tim Stauffer).

— Other tidbits from today. Shortstop Lance Zawadzki made a nice play in the hole between shortstop and third base to rob Josh Hamilton of a hit in the fifth inning. … Kyle Blanks hit a double off the wall in center field and reached on an error. He’s hitting .412 this spring. … Nick Hundley swung the bat well and had an RBI single for the Padres first run.

On Saturday: The Padres will head to Phoenix to face the A’s at 12:05 p.m. PT. Look for Kevin Correia will start and throw four innings. Also, reliever Mark Worrell makes his first appearance in a game since having Tommy John surgery last March 25. 

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Corey Brock,,

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