MadFriars Blog: April 3

It wasn't even fair. Lake Elsinore vs San Diego. The Storm vs the Padres. In another city, they were saying the same thing. Colorado Springs vs. Colorado. While the Friars dispatched the Storm 15-4, Colorado Springs beat the Rockies 5-1.

Bring on the opener! And we aren't talking about cans either - unless it is a cold one.

On Saturday, five Padres hitters had two or more hits with Sean Burroughs pacing the club with four. Mark Sweeney and Brian Giles were perfect on the day, 3-for-3 apiece.

The Storm players, meanwhile, had their moments.

Peeter Ramos, Steve Baker and Fernando Valenzuela Jr. each had two hits and the team left 12 men on base.

Superstar in the making, George Kottaras, homered in the fourth inning off Jake Peavy and Brett Bonvechio also homered off Peavy.

Keep an eye on California native Leo Rosales. He was the only pitcher not to allow a baserunner to the parent club.

Edgar Huerta, however, allowed four runs in one-third of an inning.

It is good to see Javier Martinez back on the mound. He is one of the more talented prospects in the system that you may have forgotten about. He missed all of 2004 due to injury.

It was a surprise to see Clark Girardeau on the Fort Wayne roster. It seemed a certainty that he would begin the year in LE. He should be back with the Storm soon enough.

Fabian Jimenez has loads of talent and is still only 18 years old. Seeing on the Fort Wayne roster will be a challenge and the Padres believe he can excel at it. He struggled some last year but the front office is very high on him.

The outfield in Fort Wayne may be one of the best defensive outfields assembled. Ruben Mora and Yordany Ramirez sport the top two outfield arms in the system.

Edgar Huerta was supposed to be challenging for a bullpen spot in San Diego. Health problems shelved him several times last year and the closest he will be to San Diego is Lake Elsinore.

Wilmer Villatoro got caught in a numbers crunch it appears. The Mobile bullpen is looking stellar and Villatoro will be with the Storm again after a dominating 2004. A definite surprise.

No surprise, but Kervin Jacobo is back. The Mariners tried to convert him to a pitcher but it appears he will be heading to third base. The one problem is Brett Bonvechio plays third as well - so that poses a problem.

R.D. Spiehs isn't happy. That is what I think. He had a great year in Mobile and is back in Double-A this year. He will anchor one of the best bullpens the Padres' minors has ever assembled.

The Mobile team should have plenty of power, but little speed. They have four players that could hit 20 homers or more.

Like the dirt that Adam Hyzdu is munching on in the picture above, we have again been fed talk without substance.

Johnson batted .400 in his time with the Friars this spring. He was annointed as an up and comer but he will be in Portland to begin the year, clearing the way for Hyzdu, a 33-year old righty with 190 career games and a .233 career average.


At least Darrell May showed some backbone with a great outing - but too little, too late and into the bullpen he goes. Outside of Hoffman, Linebrink, Otsuka and Seanez, here is to hoping no one else gets the ball.

The spring was a success. Kevin Towers says so:

"It's one of the better springs we've had. Knock on wood - we haven't had any really major injuries, just more minor things, and that's good."

Actually, after two losing springs in 2003 and 2004, the Padres are back on the winning side, going 17-14 this spring.

See you in Lake Elsinore!

One start does not make a career, but the signs were encouraging on Wednesday. Tim Redding went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits to get the victory in his debut performance for the Padres.

The victory ensured Redding will be penciled in as the fifth starter in the rotation. For now, his name will remain in pencil, as has many a fifth starter over the past year in San Diego.

"They came to Houston and plucked me out of there," said Redding. "I'm grateful for that. I'm going to try my best, like I always do, but there's just a little extra motivation because it's a brand-new start here."

Redding has been enthusiastic about the trade and has already warmed to San Diego without actually being in San Diego.

A reason the Padres have brought back players who grew up in the area in recent years is because of the exuberance to show their best at home and Redding seems to already have that fire, even if he is from New York.

Perhaps I should go grumble in a corner over the prospects being overlooked. I can always come out when Redding has a rough outing.

Speaking of San Diego, the Friars hosted the Aztecs on Wednesday and Woody Williams looked like a number one starter, albeit against a college team. He allowed two hits in five innings of work.

Nady continues to pour it on, driving in two runs with a single. The one disappointment was the size of the crowd, perhaps half full for the exhibition game.

"Last year, I had a tendency to create some bad habits," said Nady. "I'm trying to avoid those as much as possible now."

Nady may have hit just .247 in San Diego but he tore up the PCL, swatting .333 with 22 homers and 70 RBI's in 74 games. The same Xavier Nady that hit .407 with runners in scoring position last year with Portland.

A five RBI night on Tuesday, including a walk-off three run homer, put his totals up to 14 RBI's, five homers and ten runs scored for the spring, all of which lead the club. He is also hitting .357 - not bad for a starter on the opening day.

Speaking of Portland, they have a new ownership group, buying the team from the Pacific Coast League.

"The Padres have always enjoyed a tremendous working relationship with the Portland Beavers, and we are eager to see that continue," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said. "Our team has a commitment to building a championship-caliber team through scouting and player development, and Portland is an integral part of that. It's exciting to see that the Beavers' new ownership group shares that same commitment.

"Several players that have had a significant impact on our major league club, including Sean Burroughs, Xavier Nady and Khalil Greene, have gone through Portland and there are several more players such as Tim Stauffer, Justin Germano, Josh Barfield and Ben Johnson who will be playing at PGE Park this season."

I admit I have a problem. A day or two ago, I explained my propensity to promote from within. Two examples later, I have had enough.

But Denis, there is only one example?

Wrong you are. The first example occurred during spring training when Geoff Blum and Eric Young were brought aboard. Nice guys, both of them. But they block the path of another player that has worked his way through the system and is a known commodity.

His name is J.J. Furmaniak.

Furmaniak had a successful year in Portland and continued his work in the offseason by going to Mexico specifically to play second base. My mathematical calculations say he can therefore play three positions - the perfect utility player.

On Monday, the Padres added Tim Redding, a shoe-in for the fifth spot in the rotation over Tim Stauffer and Justin Germano, right?

"I don't think we really want to name who our fifth starter is right yet," Towers surprisingly said.

But we know the truth. Stauffer pitched on Monday but the deal was consummated before he took the hill.

"Neither (Stauffer or Germano) has pitched a full season of Triple-A yet," Towers defended.

Yeah, we know. We just don't have to be happy about it.

Ironically, I have been a big fan of Tim Redding and his potential. The price - I am uncomfortable with and it has only a little to do with Humberto Quintero.

Yesterday I speculated Andy Asby may get into the rotation two months from now because of the uncertainty surrounding Darrell May, but I have since ammended that thinking.

So has manager Bruce Bochy:

"It's an understatement (to say) that this was not a good outing."

Now, Justin Germano and Tim Stauffer are frontrunners to replace May. Germano has the benefit of pitching with the team last year and Stauffer is thought to be Major League ready.

"Disappointment definitely came into the picture," Germano said on Thursday, before May's outing.

The good news is he will get another shot on Sunday against the Cubs. He could swipe the fifth spot with an outing that doesn't rival May's eight runs in two-thirds of an inning.

It almost isn't fair. Heck, who we kidding? It isn't fair at all. Jake Peavy will pitch against the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm in his primer for the home opener at Petco Park.

I guess the thinking is it is more important to give some confidence to Peavy than it is to give some confidence to the Minor Leaguers. Peavy, the reigning ERA Champ, surely needs the confidence, right?

Is there a feeling by anyone but me that Andy Ashby could be pitching in San Diego sometime in May and slotted in as the number five starter?

Darrell May will have a very short leash through the season. The Padres can't afford to give him a whole lot of tether with the opportunity to seize the NL West early.

Just when you think the worrying over Brian Lawrence and spring is over, he tosses up a gem. Six runs in five innings of work. Ironically, Lawrence has pitched very well through his usually laborous March. That has to bode well for the Padres when the season begins in a few short weeks.

Justin Germano could see the writing on the wall. With Darrell May on the roster, he pretty much knew he would be tapped for Triple-A duty. That doesn't make it any easier. Germano, still young enough to make a difference, was hoping for a legitimate shot at the number five spot. He admitted to us that getting sent down early wasn't exactly what he had in mind.

Paul McAnulty may be starting the year with the Double-A Mobile squad but his words on Thursday night was all about San Diego. In fact, while he knows he will start in Mobile, his goal is "to be in San Diego this year."

With the stick he possesses, it isn't that far out of the imagination. He is becoming increasingly hard to ignore.

Jake Peavy told us he went hunting right after the season with David Wells. A country boy, Peavy may have to alter his outdoorsmen ways.

It turns out the insurance policy to cover Peavy does not include any accidents that occur hunting or on a boat fishing.

With a contract that could be worth $26 million, he can live with that.

Sean Burroughs has been hit by more pitches, three, than he has extra base hits, two.

Travis Chick checked in the other day after he pitched four innings of one run ball against the Triple-A squad in an intra-squad scrimmage. Chick is likely slated to join the Mobile BayBears to begin the year and could quickly rise to Portland.

Josh Barfield went perfect this spring for the Padres. A perfect 0-for-11. Don't worry, he will shine in Triple-A and be back on the radar as the top bat in the Padres system.

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