Day 6: Is that popcorn in my hair?
– A reminder that I try to update the blog by 2 p.m. PT each day with a recap of the day in camp. Thanks, Corey.
PEORIA, Ariz. –Hey there, Day 6 is in the books here in Peoria, where the temperatures continue to climb. It’s supposed to be 81 tomorrow. The 10-day forecast (yes, those always prove to be accurate) is showing an expected high of 79 degrees next Sunday, March 4, for the Padres very first game of the spring.
Things are really starting to pick-up here in camp as all but one position player (more below) as reported to camp. The first full workout is set for Saturday, though the first real teaching day, as manager Bud Black called it, won’t occur until Sunday.
One of the things I thought was interesting, and something Black talked about today, was having the pitchers in camp speak to the seven catchers here about what each of them are trying to do when they take the mound — what pitches they like to throw, when in the count and also where they like to throw. For example: Maybe a pitcher likes the catcher to hold his glove higher on an 0-2 count. Maybe he likes to throw a backdoor slider when he’s behind in the count. These type of things.
In most cases, Black listens, tucking his information away for later. At other times, he’ll interject a question or two. The catchers, well, they’re in the information upload business, trying to soak all of this in, saving for later, saving it for a June game against the Mariners or, for the catchers who will end up with Triple-A Tucson, knowing what to call for and when (and where) during a 102- degree day in Omaha in August.
“Hopefully the retention is there,” Black said.
Black said that some of the pitchers “present better than others” but generally this is a practice that has yielded good results in his five five years as the manager and even going back to his days as the pitching coach in Anaheim.
Anyway, a little behind-the-scenes nugget for you. Let’s move ahead, yes?
— The relievers threw off the mound today. This was the third time they’ve done so. I didn’t actually see this myself (I explain where I was later on below) but everyone emerged from the session healthy. So far, no health issues at all in camp. I talked to catcher John Baker about reliever Andrew Cashner, he of the 147 mph fastball (kidding, of course, it’s only 123). I wrote about this on Padres.com, but Baker had more than a few glowing comments for Cashner — and it wasn’t just about his fastball. And you remember how we’ve talked about how Cashner might end up in the rotation sometime in the future (not 2012)? Well, Baker has another spot for him:
“He’s got all the tools to be a great closer in the future,” Baker said.
So, you know, tuck that away for later.
— You know how you say breakfast is the most important meal of the day — insert your breakfasttown joke here — well, I’m happy to say that they serve Fruit Loops in the cafeteria here. The players have all sorts of breakfast food to ponder, including a lot of fruit. I saw a player arrive in the cafeteria later and inquire about the breakfast burritos, which are made of lean turkey and egg whites. The player, with a straight face, told the chef that: “Nah, it’s too healthy.”
— The Padres aren’t expecting infielder Jonathan Galvez in camp until the middle of next week. Galvez, a non-roster invitee, recently cleared a random United States Consulate age and identity investigation that included him and his parents. Galvez is now awaiting his visa before he’s allowed to leave the Dominican Republic. “Nobody is concerned about anything,” said Randy Smith, the Padres vice president of player development and international scouting. Galvez, 21, has hit a combined .280 in his first three seasons in the Padres Minor League system as mostly a shortstop, though he has played second base.
— One of the players I wrote about today (head to Padres.com) is left-handed reliever Alex Hinshaw, who is a non-roster invitee who played parts of two seasons with the Giants. Hinshaw is an interesting guy, having been drafted four times (three alone by the Giants). He played one season at San Diego State for Tony Gwynn, too. Had some good things to say about Gwynn. Also, and this is the best part of the story for me, is that he grew up east of Los Angeles and likely would have been a Dodgers fan except for his first game at Dodger Stadium. Let’s just say his first time at the stadium didn’t go well — because of how the Dodgers fans treated him.
“I was getting popcorn thrown at me,” Hinshaw said.
You’ll want to read that note.
— There was a fun catching competition on the backfield today with the seven catchers in camps. They kept score of how the catchers fared with blocking balls in the dirt, catching pop-ups, throwing to the bases and sprinting (with gear on). Jason Hagerty narrowly edged Nick Hundley as Baker finished third. I shot shot some video of the blocking balls drill with Yasmani Grandal. Have a look.
That’s it for today. Thanks for following along. Now someone please bring me a growler of Habanero Sculpin already, OK?
Corey Brock, MLB.com