Padres Instructional League notebook

Everyday there is a motto being preached to the Padres' prospects in their fall Instructional League. On Tuesday, it was as simple as ‘know your responsibility.' It also marked the first time that John Hudgins has seen live hitters since Tommy John surgery.

  • The Padres went through the basics during the morning workout, preaching responsibilities in the bunting game. Several hitters worked against live pitching, bunting the ball to various spots on the field with runners on the basepaths. It was up the infield to call out the best play and execute.

    "Recognize those situations," manager Doug Dascenzo said. "'Where are hitters trained to bunt the ball with a man on second base?' It is very important to know your responsibilities. Pitchers – it is very important for you to throw strike one. Let them bunt it."

    They got two opportunities to field the bunt when gametime came and the staff was very pleased with the result. ‘Same as we did this morning,' one coach chimed.

  • John Hudgins was back on the mound after missing the past year and a half of action. He threw 26 pitches, some good, some bad, but could not get out of the first frame. He left with the bases loaded, one run in, and two outs.

    Hudgins threw a few slick curveballs and a few that hung in the zone. His fastball sat between 87 and 89 MPH on the night – a nice surprise since it is his first real action outside of side sessions.

  • Tom Gamboa, the Padres outfield fielding and baserunning coach, has been attached to the hip of centerfielder Luis Durango.

    Durango is viewed as a below average defender. His routes have never been crisp and he often suffers from mental gaffes – throwing to the wrong base, not knowing how many outs there are...

    Gamboa hit 120 straight balls to him late last week and Durango hauled in every single one. The next day, Gamboa cracked another 120 and Durango missed one. While it does nothing for his sub par arm, having Gamboa assisting the defense of a player that has led his respective league in hitting three straight seasons could put him on the prospect map in a big way – if he can translate it into games.

    Durango also flashed his speed during the game, scoring on a sacrifice fly to third base – yup, third base. The third baseman had to range into the outfield grass to pick off a pop out and ended up falling over as he caught the ball and Durango didn't waste a breath, easily scoring while the third baseman tried to his a relay man.

  • Catching and defense go hand-in-hand. Mitch Canham has struggled with blocking the ball during Instructs and recognizes it as a weakness. His arm also has a little too much air underneath it. Strengthening both of those aspects of his game will make him an excellent backstop.

    During the game Tuesday, Canham made the play of the day. He sprinted out of his stance down the third base line and dove for a pop up – traversing at least half the distance to third and laying out, accepting the dirt that would end up in his craw.

    Canham also hit a towering triple to the deepest part of the field and came around to score on a Tom King double down the left field line.

    Luis Martinez, on the other hand, has displayed a solid arm. He nailed a runner trying to steal second base with a 1.85 throw from the dish – an inning after he stole a base after reading a slow move from the pitcher. He is having a strong Instructional League.

  • The game was an 8-2 win for the Padres over the Dodgers. Jeremy McBryde came on in relief of Hudgins and got the final out with a strikeout. He tossed two 1-2-3 innings and faced one over the minimum in 3.1 frames.

    He was calm on the mound, despite getting into several deep counts and made the pitch when it counted. He tried several times to get a hitter chasing high fastballs with no success. His fastball tends to work better down in the zone as it does not ride high – it starts high and stays straight when he tries to go in tight.

    John Hussey looked very good as well. He did not allow a run over two innings. The right-hander appears to have his confidence back and was smiling afterwards. He used his off-speed pitches more than he did with Eugene and the results were positive.

    Chris Perez could have gotten rattled but stuck to his plan, giving up an unearned run over two innings.

    Alexis Lara finished the game off with an easy inning of playing toss. He used his slider and fastball to mix it up, throwing strikes down in the zone.

  • While he did not start the game, Zachary Brown led the offense with his three-run homer over the right field wall. He got the silent treatment from his teammates afterwards before they cheered him on.

    Brown had a good batting practice round as well. He hit the ball with authority the other way and pulled the inside pitches.

  • The rest of the runs came on poor defense from Los Angeles. The Padres loaded the bases in the fifth with nobody out and were in danger of going scoreless. A ground out turned fortuitous when the Dodgers booted the throw. Another error on a ground out led to two more Padres runs.

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