Closing in on a full camp …
Happy Thursday from Peoria, where the clubhouse is starting to get a little more crowded, as more and more position players are showing up in advance of their report date on Friday when they’ll have physicals.
At this point, it’s actually easier to point out who isn’t here as opposed to who is here. By my watch, Will Venable, Luis Durango, Oscar Salazar, Cedric Hunter, Juedy Valdez and Jesus Guzman are the only position players who have not shown up informally to hit.
What does this mean? Nothing. They’re all expected to be here tomorrow, where they’ll join the pitchers and catchers for the first full-squad workout on Saturday.
As for updates, notes, observations …
— I talked briefly with Anthony Rizzo today. He arrived last night. He’ll take part in his first big league camp and figures to get some at-bats in Cactus League games. I had forgotten how big he was. Seriously, Rizzo looks like he should be playing linebacker somewhere. I’m really curious to watch him hit. I’ll make sure to let you know when I do.
— Sounds like new second baseman Orlando Hudson had a unique routine. Unique in the sense that it’s an early one — like he arrived before just about anyone. I’ve heard that he’s already shown up at 5:30 a.m. And position players haven’t reported yet! I get to the facility early, but not that early.
— Heath Bell is on the mend. He rode a stationary bike yesterday and played catch. I just watched him play catch this morning. He’s walking without a limp. In other words, he is pretty close to being cleared for full workouts, which will include throwing off the mound. If you heard otherwise, like, say, he has a “tear” … well, that information is just plain wrong.
— Padres manager Bud Black told me today that he expects switch-hitting third baseman Chase Headley will be much better right-handed than he was a year ago. Headley, who happens to be a natural right-handed hitter, hit .217 last season against lefties. He hit .285 as a left-handed hitter. Said Black: “He’s a good baseball player. He’s going to have a good year.” Newcomer Jorge Cantu will spell Headley on occasion at third base. Headley was worn down physically at the end of last season and the Padres didn’t have anyone else to use at third base. They want to avoid that this year.
— In case you missed it, here’s a few links to catch up on: Nick Hundley assumes the primary catching duties, Trevor Hoffman is back in camp and the Padres signed veteran pitcher Geoff Geary to a Minor League deal.