Padres MLN: The Mash Unit

Peoria, AZ-- Finding the sweet swing is a beautiful thing and several San Diego Padres' prospects were raking on Sunday – in this edition of the Padres Minor League Notebook (MLN).

Drew Macias took his success in the field from the previous day, when he made two nice plays in the outfield for the San Diego Padres big league club – earning praise from manager Bud Black – to the plate on Sunday.

Macias launched a 0-2 offering over the right field wall for his first hit of the day, driving in two. After lining out in his second at bat, Macias took another two-strike pitch and laced a single to add his third RBI of the afternoon. His third hit was another liner and he would come around to score – accounting for four of the seven Triple-A runs.

Drew Macias trots around the bases after his homer.
"It was a slider that didn't slide," Macias said of his homer. "The hard work during the off-season and going to the hitters' camp in New Orleans has put me ahead. I am seeing the ball well."

Macias' approach has changed and he has a loose, easy swing, not trying to do too much with the ball and simply getting the bat head out and letting his natural swing do the rest.

It prompted Tony Muser, the Padres Rookie League manager, to say aloud, "Who is his hitting coach? He hit a bomb his first at bat and has been right on the ball."

He wasn't the only one.

Nic Crosta is seeing the dividends from his ten-month battle to change his swing. The goal was to change his flight path to the ball to get more consistent contact and cut down on those high pop-ups.

Sunday, Crosta hit a ringing double and added a three-run homer. It is the second day in a row he has homered off the opposition.

"It is coming along," Crosta said with a smile. "The goal is to hit .300 in the majors and not .382 in Fort Wayne. You have to listen to the big guys – they know what they are talking about."

Chad Huffman thought he would get into Saturday's game but got the call as a designated hitter on Sunday. His bat is clearly still the real deal.

Huffman hit a double to right-center in the second inning and slammed a two-run homer later in the game.

The outfielder is coming off a hamstring injury that occurred while running the 60-yard dash.

Will Venable was back down from the big league side of the park and doubled in a run and added a sacrifice fly. He continues to show a patient approach, waiting for his pitch and driving it.

On the pitching front, things weren't nearly as good. The Double-A team was playing a very aggressive Kansas City squad and they were first-pitch swinging. It worked against the Padres philosophy of throwing first-pitch strikes.

Steve Delabar allowed a run in the first, worked efficiently in the second and was hammered in the third for five runs.

"I got a little tired (in the third)," Delabar admitted. "I also left a few up in the zone. I have some things to work on."

"They were a fastball aggressive team," Manny Ayala said. "And our philosophy is obviously to command the fastball and get ahead in the count."

Ayala's changeup did save him from bigger innings but he could not find a way to work off of his off-speed pitches with the Royals being aggressive.

The Padres would end up losing the Double-A game by a score of 13-12.

Ryan Trytten had a rough go of things in the Triple-A game. He was leaving balls up and was overthrowing, trying to hit 100 MPH on the radar gun. It resulted in him flying open and leaving pitches over the heart of the plate.

Leo Rosales, on the other hand, was on point, throwing first-pitch strikes to each batter he faced and inducing three ground ball outs.

Jose Oyervidez flashed his electric stuff, showing a lot of movement on his pitches. He did hang two curveballs but was around the zone for much of the day.

The Triple-A game ended in a 7-7 tie.

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