Reliever Dale Thayer went to Mexico this off season to work on his slider, and early indications are that it's paying off. Thayer threw a 1-2-3 inning in his first outing, throwing the slider for a strike effectively. Although Thayer has faced questions at every stop, one observer commented, "I'm not ever going to write this guy off. He continues to do the job at every stop."
Australian Andrew Gribbin is in camp for a few weeks before he returns to Victoria to finish high school, but he caught the flu bug running through the minor-league complex immediately after he arrived and has yet to pitch in a game. The teenager hopes to see a bit of live action this weekend.
Big-League, Schmig-League! Lefty Brent Carter was called over to the major league game on Saturday to help pick up the load when Scott Linebrink struggled. Carter gave up a single to Corey Hart, but then struck out slugger Prince Fielder to end the sixth inning. The 2005 draftee has been throwing with a bit more velocity than he had at the end of last season.
Earlier in the day, Mike Ekstrom had the big leagues come to him. Although the 22-year-old righty struck out 112 hitters at Fort Wayne last year, the one he earned on the back fields at Papago Park makes for a better story. Ekstrom got potential Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas looking with a slider in his only inning of work. Thomas, who is rehabbing, also got in a double against Sean Thompson and walked three times.
Dominican Felix Carrasco, 19, signed with the Padres earlier this month. The left-hand hitting third baseman showed plus raw power, and impressed with good agility for his 6-foot-2 frame. Carrasco is expected in Peoria next month for extended spring training.
Fellow amateur signee Alexis Lara, an 18-year-old righty, will pitch in the Dominican League this summer. Lara showed a mid-90's fastball for the player development staff who saw him.
Outfielder Tim Turner turned in the best time in the 60-yard dash, posting a time of 6.25 seconds, just edging out Panamanian Luis Durango's 6.30. Freddy Guzman posted a 6.59-second time, good for fifth overall behind Brett Dowdy. Turner stole 14 bases in 65 games at three different levels last season.