Padres MLN: Pitchers throw live BP

Peoria, AZ - While San Diego Padres minor league pitchers have not graduated to throwing in games, they did toss live batting practice on Tuesday, setting up the scene for Friday's opening game.

  • Still early in camp, the common theme among the pitchers is to work on things they don't have the time to master during the season.

    Right-hander Drew Miller was focused on throwing the ball down in the zone during his time on the hill.

    Miller is pleased with the progress of his pitches and has more or less abandoned the four-seam fastball in favor of the two-seamer.

    He is also happy to report that his changeup has progressed to the point where he has confidence in it. Miller felt many of the homers he surrendered last season came off changeups left up in the zone. His goal is to miss down this season.

  • Jose Oyervidez is back on the mound after having a nerve in his elbow moved to support his arm. His changeup is back to its dominating state and his fastball command has improved but his secondary pitches are not where he wants them to be.

    Also of note, Oyervidez has been told he will move to the pen this year, and he acknowledged that he can go full bore after a hitter – taking as many pitches as necessary into each game and choosing the pitches that are performing well. According to one of the catchers on hand, Oyervidez looked fantastic in his live batting practice session.

  • Right-hander Pablo Menchaca was working on keeping his hands closer to his body during his warm-up session.

    The Mexican native has a tendency to sling the ball when his hands are further away from his body at the set position. Pitching coach Dave Rajsich moved his hands closer and it instantly altered his mechanics and made him more of an over the top pitcher that many are accustomed to.

    Something so small makes it evident how easy it is for mechanics to be thrown off-kilter.

  • After not getting a chance to show his stuff in 2007, Wynn Pelzer is back on the hill and throwing well.

    His fastball has definitive pop and good late life. While radar guns are not present in Padres spring training, he was popping the mitt in the low-90s and there is room for more.

    Pelzer's main goal this spring has been to shelve the splitter in favor of the changeup. The progress has been slow, but Pelzer remains committed to the new pitch. He did note that the splitter will remain in his repertoire, since he was unsure how the changeup would play when games begin.

  • The first player to get dressed down was second baseman Ray Stokes. During pop up drills, he was called off by the shortstop and put his head down and walked away.

    Doug Dascenzo was immediately in his ear.

    "You still have to know your responsibilities," Dascenzo yelled at Stokes, noting that his responsibility was to cover second because you never know if the player will miss the ball or what else is happening on the field.

  • Other notes:

    Right-hander Jackson Quezada has slimmed down. He lost close to 15 pounds and appears to be in great shape.

    Catcher Clint Naylor appears to have put on 15 pounds and looks sturdier than in the past.

    Left-hander Kyle Stutes has abandoned the use of his four-seamer in favor of a two-seamer.

    Infielder Murray Hopley is on the field and expects to play through spring. He has been hampered by injuries that last few years.

    Newcomer Tony Cogan threw well during his batting practice session, as he tries to make one of the higher level clubs.

  • Dominican Summer League Padres manager Evaristo Lantigua (Varo) and part of his staff are in Peoria. They head back to the Dominican Republic near the end of the month in preparation for the opening of the Padres Dominican Academy.

    Varo is excited about the Padres presence in Latin America.

    "I was with Oakland for 12 years at the height of its program when we saw guys like Miguel Tejada," Lantigua said. "Oakland had 16 players make the majors. I think the Padres will have more. We have more tools today than ever before and the game has changed."

    Varo again pointed out Rymer Liriano and Jose De Paula as players to watch in the coming years.

    The Padres will also attempt to bring out the best in Carlos Montero – a player that has incredible tools and power but lacks baseball acumen. He is a player they would love to see blossom and will try different techniques to bring out that talent consistently.

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