Padres MLN: Not crisp until the ninth

Surprise, AZ-- The San Diego Padres extended spring training club traveled to Surprise to take on the Kansas City Royals squad. Five runs in the ninth inning were not enough to bring the Friars back.

Adrian Burnside, continuing his rehab stint, pitched one inning and allowed an unearned run. He didn't look particularly crisp, however, as his breaking ball hung and his command was generally off. Burnside also had a base stolen off him and by the time he recognized the steal and threw to the third the runner had slid safely in.

Jackson Quezada followed Burnside and pitched two innings. He struck out two in the first frame, mixing his pitches well and was the unfortunate victim of a bad hop double-play grounder that hit the front of the berm and hopped up and over Ray Stokes' head. It eventually led to three runs crossing the dish.

Simon Castro set down every batter he faced, hitting his spots in and out of the zone. He struck out two of the six batters and those that did hit him managed weakly hit grounders and a pop out. His fastball sat in the low-90s and his sliders seems to have improved since last year.

Matt Huff almost let his temper get the best of him. A double clutch by shortstop Jeudy Valdez led to a leadoff single. The next pitch sailed to the backstop and catcher Kody Valverde went out to settle him down. Another single followed to put men on the corners but Valverde saved a likely run when he snapped a throw behind the runner at third to catch him napping. Huff would get out of the inning without being scored upon.

Vantroit Medina let up a leadoff single and a one-out double to score a run but settled in to limit the damage. In the past, Medina would blow up when one man reached base but he pitched smartly after the double – not trying to overthrow – and got a strikeout and a ground out.

Chris Perez and his funky delivery came last. The right-hander still looks like he should be in pain when he throws and he was erratic, walking the first two men he faced. He does not stay on a line to the plate and bucks all the conventional trends of pitching mechanics. While he got the next two men out, it was the three-run bomb over the left field fence that would prove to be the difference in the game.

At the end of the eighth inning, Kansas City was leading 8-0.

The Padres offense came alive in the ninth – and got a lucky break to boot.

After mustering three singles over the first eight frames, the Padres batted around, collecting three singles, a double, and two walks. Two errors also aided the cause, including a two-out error on a pop out to short that would have ended the game but opened the door for all the runs to score.

Keisy Marte looked impatient at the plate. While he has a good base from which to swing, the infielder was first-pitch swinging and using each at bat as a chance to put wood to ball instead of waiting patiently for his pitch. He grounded into a double play and reached base on an error.

Yoeli Florentino looked at peace in the box. He waited for his pitch, swung at one in the zone and battled to get a walk in his lone plate appearance. Florentino is one of the few Latin players to show solid patience at the plate, knowing he is in the United States for a reason and must continue to have good at bats rather than swinging to make something happen.

Valverde looked relaxed at the plate. He roped a liner at the left fielder and laced a single in the ninth to give him an RBI. His throws from behind the plate to second base left a lot to be desired. He short-hopped his two chances to catch a basestealer and had unnecessary loft on the throws. The saving grace was his bullet to third base to nab a runner with too big a lead.

Jeremy Cleveland and Josh Alley were in the lineup on Friday, both close to returning to a full-season affiliate. The problem, right now, is there aren't many spots open.

Nick Corbeil had one at bat and looked tentative to swing, preferring the walk. He did take a hack at one ball, bouncing it foul down the third base line. The catcher seems to lack confidence in his abilities at the plate.

First baseman Jose Mayi has a cast on his right hand and is currently out of the lineup. The Padres had envisioned Mayi manning first for the AZL Padres when the season opens but his timetable for return is unclear.

Alfredo Fernandez is back with the Padres after being originally sent to San Francisco in a deal that netted outfielder Michael Wagner. Fernandez failed his physical because of an arm injury and is in extended spring training.

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