Day 12: Sunday’s starting pitcher is …

PEORIA, Ariz. — Hey, we’ve got some news — well, it’s more funny than anything, given that we (reporters) keep asking manager Bud Black who his starting pitcher is going to be for Sunday’s charity game against the Mariners. It’s information that we like and we’ll print, but who starts on Sunday doesn’t really tell us a whole lot about the projected rotation or the Opening Day starter.

It’s just more fun to ask him and have him to refuse to answer. See, the desert apparently zaps you of your sense of humor.

For Sunday, it’s Anthony Bass, who will likely throw two innings and/or 30 pitches. He’ll be followed by a handful of relief pitchers who will each toss one inning.

It’s a start for the Padres, who are itching to get into games. It’s a natural progression. First, it’s looking forward to getting to Spring Training and getting bullpen work in, then it’s facing live hitters in batting practice and now it’s looking ahead to some real games (well, they still don’t count), but you get the drift.

We’ll have more details on weekend pitching on Friday, but look for starting pitchers to throw 2 innings/30 pitches, then 3 innings/45 pitches, 4 innings/60 pitches, 5 innings/75 pitches and so on. For relievers, they will make anywhere from seven to 14 or so appearances this spring, Black said.

Black also said that position players who start on Sunday will likely get “two or three at-bats” before giving away to players of less experience. You know how the ninth inning of these games feature guys wearing uniform Nos. 78, 81, 92, 63 and so on? That’s the Spring Training experience here. If you want to see, say, Cameron Maybin, you better be there when the game starts.

Anyway, looking forward to games and hope you’re making plans on coming out.

So, what happened Thursday?

— I watched a group of veteran hitters today working against some younger pitchers (Jorge Reyes, Juan Pablo Oramas). Orlando Hudson was in the group and was raving about how good, generally, the young pitchers in camp have looked. After watching Oramas snap off a couple of nice breaking balls, he looked at me and said “I can see why these guys won 100 games.” He was talking about the Double-A San Antonio team that won the Texas League title, winning 100 games on the nose.

I wrote a story for today about Jesus Guzman, who as we all know by now was a hit from June 17 on. Black said that he likes that Guzman uses the entire field and can have success  at a place like Petco Park (he hit .346 there) because he’s a line drive, gap hitter. “He can hit anywhere,” Black said. Guzman, for his part, said he’s not resting on his laurels and that he knows that no matter what he did in 2011 that he has to prove himself all over again. Look for him in left and right field and first base this spring and possibly a little third base. Here’s him hitting today.

“The only thing I can do is work hard,” Guzman said. “Last year is in the past. It’s 2012. It’s a different year. I have to do it again.”

— Another guy who intrigues me is reliever Nick Vincent, who is from Ramona and went to Ramona High and later Palomar College before he landed at Long Beach State. Vincent, who I wrote about at Padres.com, adopted a cutter (cut-fastball) a few years back and it’s been a very good pitch for him. His Minor League numbers the last two seasons are pretty sick. The low hits-to-innings ratio is there, the high punch and a good ERA. He’ll be the season with Triple-A Tucson.

“I knew I had to have a good year and Double-A is where you have to show it if you want to pitch in the big leagues,” Vincent said. “For me, I’ve always been competitive … a little bulldog out there. I’m out there throwing strikes and I’m going to go at people.”

— I had a little chat with Mark Kotsay around the batting cage today. Really digging the guy, his personality and his stories. I did some research this morning and discovered that Kotsay had the last Padres hit at Qualcomm Stadium in 2003 (the Padres opened their new ballpark, Petco Park, next season). Anyway, Kotsay had a ninth-inning single off Colorado’s Brian Fuentes before another reliever, Jusin Speier, came in to strike out the next three hitters in a game the Padres lost 10-8.

— A funny little note on Padres pitcher Anthony Bass — he of Sunday’s start against the Mariners. His last start came in the very same ballpark, which is a little odd. Bass, if you remember, pitched in the Arizona Fall League and made his last appearance on Nov. 9. The Padres still think of him as a starter, which is why he might end up better served pitching every fifth day in Tucson if he doesn’t make the team. I like the arm and the live fastball. His change-up and slider have looked pretty good at times thus far.

“I’m excited to go out and start the year off,” Bass said.

That’s it for today friends. Thanks for stopping by.

Corey Brock, MLB.com

Twitter: FollowThePadres

1 Comment

Nice report, Corey … thanks!

Good reminder that Nice Vincent is out there … he doesn’t get much buzz in an org that is stacked with prospects …

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