Padres MLN: Catch, shoot and hit

There is a new catcher in Portland. Baseball isn't why this is the favorite time of year for Matt Antonelli. The Storm have struggling with the stick. Is it because of the right-handed heavy lineup or everyone skipping a level?

  • With Pete Laforest going to the big league club, the Portland Beavers were down to one catcher – Luke Carlin.

    The Padres made up the difference by taking Brandon Gottier off the disabled list.

    Brandon Gottier hit .213 with 44 hits in 207 at bats for the Fort Wayne Wizards. In 62 games he collected 13 doubles, one homer, 16 runs scored and 16 RBIs. He also drew 17 walks and whiffed 52 times.

  • It is Matt Antonelli's favorite time of year. And it has nothing to do with baseball and playing for the Lake Elsinore Storm.

    The former Massachusetts Player of the Year in hockey has been pining for some action on the tube before the game. But, instead of watching a sport he loved and left, the television was dominated by – baseball, of course.

    "Lets get the hockey on," Antonelli said.

    His pick for the Stanley Cup? The Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

  • With many hitters on the Storm skipping a level, the early season adjustment has led to .211 average entering Thursday's game against High Desert and a .290 on base percentage. Not exactly Grady Fuson approved numbers.

    But is skipping the level the issue? Is the learning curve steep in April?

    Antonelli entered play hitting .226, Craig Cooper sat at .185, Chad Huffman just .125.

    "I think everyone is going to be able to handle the situation," hitting coach Max Venable said. "Everyone is going to struggle in this game. When you are not going well, it is how you get out of it. The game is setup to fail anyway, period. Offensively – that is just the way it is. How guys handle that when they are going bad – they will learn how to handle it. If you are going to pout and hang your head down you tend to be in it a little bit longer than someone who notes he is going bad but has a positive outlook on it and positive attitude and overcomes that.

    "I don't foresee any of our guys really struggling. I think the guys we have they have the capability to make adjustments as you go. The guys we have are good baseball guys and have the capability to make adjustments."

    But the team is also batting just .170 against right-handed pitching early in the year and only two players are over .300. By contrast, the team is hitting .405 against left-handed pitching.

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