Spring Training Primer: Grady Fuson Q&A

Friday is the first day that San Diego Padres minor leaguers will report for duty with a select group of hitters slated to arrive on March 7. MadFriars.com caught up with Grady Fuson for a pre-spring discussion on the hot topics to be decided in Spring Training.

There are two different reporting dates for minor leaguers – what does the two dates for reporting accomplish?

Grady Fuson: It takes a while to get pitchers in shape so historically we have always brought pitchers in earlier than the rest of the squad just because of the arm and the buildup that really needs to take place with pitchers.

Position players you can get going and know where they are at once they get here. Spend a couple of days on the field and we have a better idea.

With pitchers, you just don't know what is going on in the arm. Historically, baseball has always brought pitchers in a week before position players. Usually, by the time the position players get here, the pitchers are ready to throw somewhat live.

When you think about in terms of minor league camp, our first day (for hitters) on the field is the ninth. They get here the seventh, take physicals the eighth, and are on the field the ninth. We have the only the ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th on the field before we are playing games. We should have a lot of our pitchers ready to throw simulated live BP by the 10th of March.

How is Wynn Pelzer progressing and what do you expect from him this year?

Grady Fuson: Pelzer is supposed to be fine. He is feeling good; he has been throwing, he has shown that we can treat him in this camp like he is 100 percent ready to go.

Daryl Jones has not come along as everyone would have hoped but word is he has been hard at work this off-season. Does there need to be a sense of urgency with Daryl?

Grady Fuson: Yeah, I think there does. We are not on an overload beneath him at this stage of guys jumping up and taking his job. But, at the same time, we have to get to a position where he starts to perform a little better so he earns something so everybody feels good about where he is at and he can hold his head above water- start getting better performance.

Joe Thatcher obviously made an impression with San Diego last year and has a good shot at making the club out of Spring. What did you see from him that he does so well?

Grady Fuson: He is a good strike thrower. He has a very deceptive delivery – a very deceptive slot. His ball moves and has some sink. He has a cutter that has been very effective. He has that slurve/breaking ball and so far it has worked out.

His history has been as such that – even though he doesn't have overpowering stuff - he is left-handed and has a history of missing bats.

He did it in Portland the whole time he was there and he certainly did it in the big leagues.

If you had to champion one Latin prospect that would make it to the majors over the next two years – who would it be?

Grady Fuson: One Latin prospect that might make it to the big leagues in the next two years...that is a good one.

I would probably say the best odds of getting to the big leagues might be a reliever – a Wilton Lopez or Ernesto Frieri.

I would say our two highest level positional Latin players are (Rayner) Contreras and (Jesus) Lopez.

Lopez had a very good winter down in Mexico – although sometimes the winter league thing is a tough read. He carried himself a little bit better offensively and played quite well.

Certainly Contreras who has a lot of upside to everything he does. We are hoping he stays healthy and gets a full year under his belt.

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