Padres MLN: Plusses and minuses

Peoria, AZ-- The San Diego Padres Triple-A squad met with the Milwaukee Brewers and faced off against major league pitcher Chris Capuano on Monday. It was a day of positives and negatives for the group.

Mike Ekstrom started opposite Capuano and wasn't as crisp as his one run line in two innings of work might indicate. The right-hander fell behind five of the ten batters he faced and had long counts throughout his outing.

He surrendered three hits and walked Capuano before getting out of a situation unscathed with two on and one out. Ekstrom topped out at 90 MPH during the game.

Jon Searles followed Ekstrom and was commanding the zone, despite throwing first-pitch strikes to just two of the first three batters. In fact, he fell behind the first batter 3-0 and came back to strike him out with a nasty sinker.

Searles ended up whiffing the side and four of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings. He topped out at 89 MPH was his slider was keeping the opposition off-balance through the afternoon. He was the only pitcher to come away without allowing a baserunner.

Paul Abraham struggled with his command in his first inning of work. The first four batters were ahead in the count and notched three singles over that time, scoring two runs. He came back to post a 1-2-3 inning in the next frame.

Erick Burke was hit hard in his two innings of work, issuing two walks, yielding two doubles, and two runs scored.

Burke was pitching up in the zone with a fastball that topped out at 91 MPH and his curveball showed good tilt but came in a belt high – a pitch that hitters could hammer. In his first inning of work he walked the leadoff man before bouncing back and getting a double play grounder. His second inning included a balk when his teammates yelled "step off" and his reaction time was slow to change his delivery as he made a move towards the plate.

Arturo Lopez finished off the contest but not before giving up a run after a leadoff walk. He did execute the now famous ‘routine play 14' when he nipped the lead runner at third on a bunt attempt with two on and nobody out. Unfortunately, a two out single brought a run home to tie the game at 6-6 – and it would end that way.

The offense mustered two runs off Chris Capuano, including one in the first stanza. Skip Adams led off with a walk. Chase Headley doubled him in with a shot to deep left-center – batting right-handed.

Hitting coach Tom Tornicasa was happy with the results, "Way to get it started Skip."

Headley was equally pleased. "It is nice. It is fun to come out here and see some of those guys. You kind of stack yourself up against them and see that next level isn't that far off. Go out there and keep working hard every day and hopefully in a couple of years that won't make me as happy as it did today.

Headley was solid in all areas – well almost. He picked up a single in his second at bat off Capuano, skidding one past the shortstop on a 3-2 pitch. He then punched a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in a run on another 3-2 pitch. He also drew a walk but did ground into "a game ending double play."

Headley also blundered on the bases. Halfway between first and second on a Michael Johnson sacrifice fly, Headley was caught in between the bags when the throw home was cutoff by Capuano. Headley did go 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Vince Sinisi came through with a 3-for-4 day along with three RBIs. After whiffing in his first at bat, the outfielder laced two straight singles – knocking in a run during the latter. He came up one last time and took a two-strike fastball over the wall in right-center, past the 385 sign.

Sinisi had been working early in the day with the hitting coach and Bill Bryk had pulled him aside to have a few words, since Sinisi was pulling his head off the ball. Bryk wanted to see the at bat and called hitting instructor Rob Deer over to take a look – it was a good call.

When Sinisi entered the clubhouse he quickly retorted, "Tell Bryk that was for him."

The Padres came to the plate 39 times during the game and they went first pitch swinging eight times during the game with success coming just once. Skip Adams took a first pitch fastball and laced a double down the left field line – the only positive swing in eight chances.

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