Padres postscript: 3/20/10

Hey friends, just got back from Glendale where the Padres topped the Chicago White in the first of two games for them today (still to come, a night game against the Dodgers). Some interesting numbers from the game.

1.93 — That’s Mat Latos’ ERA after allowing one run over five innings. More below on Latos.
5 — The number of strikeouts Tim Stauffer had in relief of Latos over three scoreless innings.
2:12 — My favorite. That would be the time of game. You can thank Mark Buehrle for this.

Some thoughts …

Latos is on the team and in the starting rotation. No, manager Bud Black didn’t say as much Saturday. He didn’t have to. Latos has done everything the Padres have asked this spring, he has cleaned up his mechanics and he has been dominant. He had five strikeouts today and no walks. Manager Bud Black called Latos outing the “best overall game this spring. The test is ongoing but he’s doing well so far.

Tim Stauffer pitched well today in relief of Latos. He struck out five over three shutout innings. He allowed two hits and had one walk. Black said Stauffer has more crisp stuff today and he felt the right-hander had a little better velocity. It’s going to be tough for him to make this team. Latos, in my mind, has a spot. Gallagher deserves to be on the team as well even if in long relief. And don’t forget Wade LeBlanc, he’s having a nice spring (he pitches tonight against the Dodgers).

Jon Garland was scheduled to pitch five innings on Sunday against the Texas Rangers. Instead, Gallagher will go three or four innings after Garland complained of he what Black termed was a “cranky” shoulder. Looks like a couple of days until Garland returns. I don’t think it’s a big deal or, at least Black didn’t act like it.

— Did anyone catch that home run Will Venable hit Friday against the Dodgers? The ball hit the top of the 40-foot high wall in center field, some 410 feet away from the plate. I’ve been watching games in Peoria for the better part of a decade and don’t remember too many of those. Venable’s power surprises me sometimes, if that makes sense. I’m really curious as to what kind of year he will have.

— Pitcher Chris Young, who started Friday, is tinkering with a split-finger pitch, one he threw on a handful of occasions in the game. It’s still a work in progress. He said he felt that he “overthrew it” a few times. He also said “it’s going to be a pitch I play with.” The pitch makes sense for a lot of reasons. He mentioned Andre Either as a guy he’s struggled against in the past. The split-finger gives Either something else to think about, as it does to other hitters in the NL West that Young will see a lot of.

I wrote about outfielder Chris Denorfia on Friday. He had a triple on Friday night and added two more hits on Saturday, raising his batting average to .353 this spring. He’s going to open the season with Triple-A Portland but he’s a viable option for the Padres in case of injuries.

Corey Brock, MLB.com, Padres.com

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