Live from Padres' Instructs Day III

After a morning session of hitting and pitching, the San Diego Padres took the road to face the Oakland Athletics – the minor league edition.

A morning pep talk from Grady Fuson, the Padres' vice president of scouting and player development, led the way on Monday. He outlined three key components of what he is trying to teach:

1) Runners in scoring position
2) Moving a guy over with less than two outs
3) You need to get on base to start a rally

Those are the only times that a player in the Padres' organization should be first pitch swinging.

Six different players would end up drawing a walk when game time rolled around in front of a bevy of scouts from around the league and four would come around to score. All eleven batters who appeared reached base safely.

The Padres jumped on top in the first with Luis Durango collecting a leadoff single. Rayner Contreras was then hit by a pitch. A one out single by David Freese scored the first run of the game and Nick Hundley added an RBI knock to complete the scoring.

Pablo Menchaca gave the two runs right back. After getting the first out of the inning, he loaded the bases on a base hit and two walks. A fielder's choice scored one run before a single plated the next to tie the score at 2-2. Menchaca would load the bases with two out in the second inning and young right-hander Tyler Mead was brought on to get out of the jam. He induced an ground out to end the inning and would toss scoreless ball over the next two frames, walking two and aided by Sam Carter who gunned out a runner attempting to score on a fly out to left.

Durango would be the only player to cross home plate twice on the day and had three hits, but he wasn't alone in providing offense. Jesus Lopez squared the ball well in each of his four at bats, gaining words of encouragement from the Padres coaches and brass in attendance. He doubled to right-center in his first at bat, hit a chopper over third, lined out and finished up with a double down the left field line.

The Padres would plate eight runs and the pitching would do the rest, holding Oakland to three.

Simon Castro retired the side in order in his lone inning of work but it was the comments on the other side of the fence that raised eyebrows.

After Castro recorded his first two outs, one scout exclaimed, "Who is this guy. He must be on a rehab assignment from Double-A."

Another scout chimed in, "He is the second coming of Roberto Hernandez." The difference is Castro may stand 6-foot-4 but weighs a scant 180-pounds, compared to the 246 that Hernandez last checked-in with.

The right-hander saw time in the Dominican Summer League this past season. He sported a fastball that topped out at 94 on this day and sat consistently in the 92-93 area. He has been known to top out at 96 in the past.

Orlando Lara followed with three scoreless frames, pitching out of a bases loaded situation by inducing a double play grounder.

The A's scored one in the bottom of the ninth off Nathan Staggs, aided by an error on Tom King on a play that would have ended the game.

The Padres will play at the Peoria Sports Complex on Tuesday.


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