Padres Minor League Notebook

One prominent San Diego Padres' prospect is staring at a promotion. An experiment ends. A video session that turned out to be more than worth it. More roster moves coming soon?          

Playing for the World Team in the Futures Game on Saturday, catcher George Kottaras may just come home to continued good news.

The initial plan called for George Kottaras to take a plane ride to Montgomery, Alabama to play in the Southern League All-Star game. He would then make the jump from Double-A Mobile to Triple-A Portland, as the Beavers have off Monday through Wednesday for the PCL All-Star game.

And this still appears to be the most likely scenario, but anything can happen between now and then that either forces the Padres' hands or makes them rethink the situation.

Matt Lauderdale would then be in line to take over the regular catching duties – similar to what he ended up doing last year when Colt Morton was injured. Morton was then promoted to Lake Elsinore days after coming off the disabled list to give Lauderdale continued at bats.

Matt Hagen would likely move up the chain. Hagen had played the outfield, first base, and at catcher this season and with Michael Johnson on the disabled list, Hagen could provide protection at two positions. Plus, Jose Lobaton is scheduled to come off the disabled list on Wednesday and could continue to back up Morton.

At this point, however, the rosters stay the same. Come Wednesday, Kottaras' situation figures to be finalized.

Speaking of Portland, Paul McAnulty is no longer getting regular playing time at third base. The Padres' staff was up in Portland to gauge his progress and since that day he has not returned to the hot corner.

"I played a few games in high school as a freshman and sophomore, but really haven't played there since," McAnulty said of his proficiency at third base.

It seems more than coincidence that McAnulty has played first base in every game since. He will certainly get playing time at third base through the rest of the season but becoming major league caliber may take more than a handful of games.

William Venable has been tearing up the Midwest League this season and is the leading hitter in the league.

While the Padres certainly had a leg up in the recruiting process given that Max Venable is the hitting coach in Fort Wayne, Bill Gayton, the director of scouting, and Jeff Kingston, the director of baseball operations, both had a chance to see him at one point or another but it turned out the video they received put them over the edge.

"I saw him in high school in the area codes," Gayton revealed, adding he did not see him play at all in college. "Jeff Kingston was out east and he said he played great. He contacted a TV station and got a little video. It was definitely worth it."

All-Star, leading hitter in the league in his first season of full-time baseball – worth it may be an understatement in relation to Venable, a seventh-round selection.

Now that each of their affiliates has hit the all-star break, there figures to be a bevy of moves to get teams in the playoffs. No team made it into postseason play in the first half of the year and that isn't acceptable for the second half. Look for Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne to be flooded with as much talent as possible to make that happen.

Most believe an influx of steady pitching will help Fort Wayne make the postseason because they have some of the best young hitters in the organization. The opposite is true in Lake Elsinore where another bat would do wonders to help the consistency they have received on the mound – even with the loss of Brent Carter for the year to a ruptured Achilles.

The Padres will also begin challenging several players to see who rises to the occasion (Manny Ayala) and who does not (Santiago Guerrero/released).


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