MadFriars' Interview: TPadres' Terry Kennedy

TUCSON: Terry Kennedy, the former all-star catcher with the San Diego Padres in the 1980s, played fourteen years in the major leagues before becoming a minor league coach for a variety of organizations after his retirement in 1991.

After a stint managing the Independent League San Diego Surf Dawgs, he rejoined the Padres' organization in 2007 as the hitting coach for the AA San Antonio Missions and ascending to the manager's job in 2008.

In 2009 he managed the AAA Portland Beavers moving with the team to Tucson for their inaugural year.

We caught up with Terry in mid-June to get his opinions on some of the players that have been with the TPadres this year.

Even though he's not here, what were your impressions on Anthony Rizzo?

Terry Kennedy: He's a very aggressive hitter. He works on hitting home runs which is nice to see if its done in the proper way. He knows what his swing feels like and what he needs to do in order to get it done. You see some guys they try to manufacture some swing that they don't have and it messes them up.

He works on his defense, it needs a little more, but he works on it. He has very soft hands and also needs to work on his footwork around the bag and when he is playing back.

He's going to be a good player. I'm not going to make a prediction on any numbers he may put up, but he's going to be a solid foundation for our club.

As a left-handed hitter how well does he go the other way?

Terry Kennedy: He can go the other way but he has enough pull power to hit it out.

Kyle Blanks looks like he's in great shape.

Terry Kennedy: He's really leaned out. He really worked on it this winter and is moving really well. I still can't believe how well he moves for a big guy. We are going to rotate him between left and first.

Cedric Hunter hasn't quite been putting up the same numbers as many hoped he would in the spring.

Terry Kennedy: He's been in a bit of a slump. He's been hitting too many balls in the air to the middle of the field and those are just outs for him. He has to put the ball on the ground to really be effective.

Matt Clark has put up some good numbers in the past and is having a good season this year. What does he have to do to get more attention?

Terry Kennedy: He has to get better defensively at first and in left. He has to be a little more consistent at the plate too. Like most power hitters he gets a little streaky and in order to have a good chance he has to maintain a little higher average when the power isn't there.

We did some research on Jose Guzman, who is having a good year for you and has in the past..

Terry Kennedy: Always

So the question is how come he never got much of a major league shot?

Terry Kennedy: There really isn't any place to play him. He's fairly competent in left field but doesn't have the profile of a corner guy because of the home run totals. Still he has always hit and he has always driven in runs. If he stays here a full year he's going to drive in one hundred runs for us.

I'm not sure what the plans for him are, but he really does work very hard at trying to get better.

Last position player, Aaron Cunningham. You have him in right but he can play all three outfield positions isn't that correct?

Terry Kennedy: Earlier in his career he could play more center but probably not as much now, especially in a big yard like San Diego. He can play there in a pinch. He can drive in some runs and is a good all-around player.

It seems like LeBlanc has been throwing more two-seam fastballs and cutters than in the past.

Terry Kennedy: I think he is evolving and learning what it takes to pitch. He is very smart and quick grasp on the cause and effect of hitting. He knows how to get in hitter's minds.

Without him we would not even be close to where we are now.

What happened with Simon Castro?

Terry Kennedy: Command and control issues. He had trouble repeating his mechanics and when he did he just couldn't get back to the point that he needed to get too.

He hurt his back. He did some rehab and now he's back in AA and that it will help his confidence and mechanics.

Will Inman is one of the leaders in the PCL in strikeouts. What have been his strengths and weaknesses?

Terry Kennedy: His issue has always been fastball command but its better now than it has ever been. I've seen him for four years now and his success lies in the bullpen where he will be able to throw harder for shorter periods of time.

He can hit the mid-90's and he has a good secondary pitch in his curve. This year he also has a nice cutter. If he knows he has to throw two or three innings at the most, he can really air it out.

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