Minor League Camp Report: March 16

Saturday opened with a 9:00 seven-inning game between the Padres' rookie leaguers and the Canadian U18 National Team, who inexplicably wore Long Beach State shirts and hats. With 20-plus scouts in attendance to watch a few Canuck draft prospects, the Padres threw an array of young arms.

Cory Bostjancic opened with a wild first inning, plunking the first two men he faced. The Santa Rosa native came back a bit, but they had to roll his inning over before he retired three hitters. Wilson Santos, a 21-year-old Dominican in his first year stateside, followed and showed an impressive change against his 91-93 fastball.

Others to toe the rubber included 2012 high school draftees Malcom Diaz, Levy Miller (listed as Christian Miller at the time he was drafted) and Corey Kimber. Kimber was a late sign in 2012 and then was shut down with a slight case of tendonitis in Peoria. He sat 88-90 and showed a bit more when he had to in his inning of work.

Perhaps the most interesting pitching appearance was Jairo Gomez, who was moved to the mound just this week. The 21-year-old has been in the system since 2009, first playing as an infielder, then moving behind the plate to catch in 2011. Last year he was a staff-saver late in blowouts twice, and the organization liked his performance enough to give him a shot this year. The righty has some mechanical work to do, but sat 90-91 and showed a slider to work with.

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In regular afternoon game action against the Rangers system, Burch Smith's two innings in the Double-A game were dominant. The righty went 94, 97 and 97 MPH on his first three fastballs for a strikeout. He stayed in the mid- to upper-90s across his two innings, showing a tight slider at 77-78 and a change in the mid-80s with mean arm-side run. He got four weak infield grounders and a lazy fly to short right field to finish up his work.

In the Triple-A game, Keyvius Sampson got the start with a pair of innings, but wasn't as sharp. The fastball was in the low 90s, with a two-seamer to add a different look. He didn't look 100 percent comfortable on the mound and was knocked around a bit, getting his first inning rolled over. He labored less in the second frame.

Jaff Decker joined the minor leaguers for the first time after his stay in big league camp. He shot a double down the left field line in his first at-bat, then turned on a pitch for a double to right the next time around. Conversation behind the backstop was that it was nice to see him being aggressive.

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Injury news
Two weeks into minor league camp, there have been a handful of injuries.

Fernando Perez, a popular pick as a sleeper out of the 2012 draft, had to undergo thumb surgery on his throwing hand and is going to be shut down for several months. The injury should make life a little easier for Ft. Wayne manager Jose Valentin, who won't have to worry about getting playing time for both Perez and Duanel Jones, who has looked quite good in camp this week.

The injury to Casey McElroy late in the Major League game Friday was bad news. He subluxed his throwing shoulder. They'll need to evaluate it for surgery in a few days, but he's going to be out for a few months minimum.

Tayron Guerrero had a small calf strain on his last pitch Friday. The hard-throwing righty could need to sit for a few weeks, which could mean he'll stay behind when camp breaks. He's a guy many in the organization think is capable of breaking out in a big way this year.

Walker Lockett and Cam Stewart, both drafted out of high school in 2012, are waiting to get on a mound. Lockett had a procedure to remove a mole on his pitching hand and is a few weeks behind. Stewart, who has added significant bulk to his 6'8" frame, has a quad issue that he is rehabbing. Adam Schraeder, is still having problems with his surgically repaired elbow, while Juan Oramas has actually gotten ahead of schedule post-surgery. The lefty, who was removed from the 40-man roster, is now throwing bullpens and is targeting a return to game action in late May or early June.

On the position side, a number of middle infielders are dealing with problems. Stephon Carmon and Beamer Weems are both dealing with shoulder issues, Adam Ford's elbow is hurt and Jalen Goree's quad has been a bit of a question mark.


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