Spring Training: Day 2
Today was our first full day in Peoria and it was also the first day of games for the minor-leaguers. If you’ve never been to Spring Training, you should go. The morning is strictly workouts, then the teams play games at around noon. The Padres’ Triple-A team plays the Royals’ Triple-A team, Double-A plays Double-A and so on. The rosters are still very fluid because so many guys are still on the MLB roster, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Two eerie/odd twists today:
- The Padres’ minor-leaguers played against their counterparts from the Royals organization. Meaning it was pretty close to a rematch of last year’s MWL title series.
- Burlington OF Hilton Richardson struck out to end the 2009 championship series. He was the leadoff man in one of the games today for the Royals.
First three batters in the order for the Padres’ Class-A group:
OF Everett Williams (2nd-round pick last year)
OF Donovan Tate (1st-round pick last year, 3rd overall)
3B Edinson Rincon (top 5 in the Northwest League in virtually every offensive category last year)
Let’s be perfectly clear: in no way is anyone sure those three guys are coming to Fort Wayne to open the season. We’re three weeks away from Opening Day, which is a long time in Spring Training terms. But if that’s an indication of the type of players we’ll see at Parkview Field this year, get ready for a young and exciting team. All three of those guys are 19 years old.
- Jaff Decker didn’t play Friday… he’s dealing with a strained hamstring. I heard he lost 5-10 more pounds over the off-season, putting him at around 200. He was closer to 220 when he got to Fort Wayne last year.
- Everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted to see the championship rings. Players, coaches, Padres’ front-office people… Everyone. The ring presentation is Sunday at 8:30am.
- In addition to the Williams-Tate-Rincon top of the order, Nate Freiman was on the field with the Class-A group. He’s a 6-foot-7 power hitter out of Duke who played really well in Eugene last year. Very smart guy, very nice guy. We did an interview with him, which you’ll see on TinCaps.com soon.
- Before we left for the park today I started thinking about the depth the Padres have in the low minors. I can’t think of an organization with a better and deeper group. It’ll be a while before we know what kind of players they’ll be at higher levels, but it sounds like some pretty good drafting to me.
- Looking back on 2009, even some folks from the Padres are surprised the TinCaps won more games in the second half than in the first.
- Mat Latos is still Mat Latos, and I mean that in the best way possible. He’s carefree, he’s a good pitcher and he’s in a battle for the fifth spot in the Padres’ MLB rotation. Today during some down time he was messing around with a radio-controlled car on an empty practice field… It was the fastest R/C car I’ve ever seen. 35 miles per hour isn’t an exaggeration. That is, until it ran into the chain-link fence and stopped working.
- Only guy who went with the hug greeting today: Eric Gonzalez, who spent his off-season mostly in his homeland of Spain, but he also played for Team Spain in the baseball World Cup.
- Adys Portillo, who signed out of the Dominican for a big bonus, started on the mound in one of the minor-league games today. The pitchers weren’t supposed to be throwing their hardest, but he was free and easy and throwing harder than anybody else I saw. I wasn’t watching closely enough to remember any secondary pitches, but I was still impressed.
- Cody Decker stopped by for
a quick chat… He’s a big movie guy, so I asked him about some films
I’ve been meaning to see. Second place quote of the day: “[Law Abiding Citizen] isn’t Citizen Kane.” There’s two hours I now won’t waste.
- First place quote of the day: Tom Tornincasa was telling the story about the time he was thrown out of a game last year. He was coaching first base when the home-plate umpire, who was having a rough day, called two straight questionable strikes. Torny called timeout, walked down the first-base line, straddled home plate, drew a line about six inches outside each edge of the plate and was immediately ejected from the game. He had turned his back so he didn’t see the umpire throw him out. So, playing dumb, he walked back to the first-base coaches’ box. Doug Dascenzo, the manager who was coaching at third, walks down to talk to the umpire and smooth things over. He continued to play dumb, asking, “Why’d you throw him out?”
It’s getting late so I need to get to sleep. Our Saturday schedule includes shooting video at 8:30am at White Sox camp, 10:30am at Indians camp and then back to Peoria for the Mariners’ game at 1pm. Probably our busiest day of the trip.
Finally: bad idea to go from Fort Wayne to Arizona without getting a base tan first. Holy sunburn.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that I neglected to post a Friday music video… Ladies and gentlemen, Eddie Money!