Padres MLN: Injury, setback, and defense

Peoria, AZ- There was good news and potentially bad news on Monday from the San Diego Padres minor league fields.

  • Matt Bush is now throwing everyday in his return from Tommy John surgery. He is happy with his progress and is pain-free. Bush is much more cognizant of how his arm feels on a daily basis and will only go as far as his arm takes him.

    Six months in, Bush is on schedule to return late in the year and will probably get innings at Instructs.

    The right-hander – converted from shortstop last year – felt he might have tried too hard to throw his best stuff before he was ready.

    Pascual Juan threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session this weekend, tossing mostly fastballs, as he works himself and his shoulder back into pitching shape.

    "My shoulder feels better," Juan said.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Euclides Viloria may have to go under the knife. His shoulder has been bothering him since he entered camp, and he is worried that he might need surgery before he can pitch again this year.

    Viloria had a promising rookie season in the states and played some winter ball. He is trying to strengthen it but does not feel that will do the trick based on some of the pain he is still experiencing.

  • Infield instructor Gary Jones has been hard at work with the infielders since arriving in camp. Last year, many of the drafted players needed help with their footwork, balance, and throwing mechanics. Each day, a new group joins him on the half field at the Peoria Sports Complex.

    While it may not come up often, Jones had the fielders working on barehanded throws and then transitioned to backhanded plays – something that happens in each game.

    "You have to get around that ball," Jones said. "Be under control. Your momentum is going toward third base and it will be tough to get any juice on it. Have quick feet and be set to throw."

    Brian Joynt was among those who took grounders at third base after working at first base last year.

  • Jones also dominated the end of the morning session when he led base running drills.

    "I am a firm believer that you should not get doubled off," he said. "Don't put ourselves in jeopardy by trying to do too much and the guy catches it and doubles you off. Make sure it goes through before you go."

    Most of the younger guys were put through these fundamental drills as a constant reminder of its importance.

  • Batting practice highlights belong to Tom King. The right-handed hitter hammered the ball on a line consistently throughout his session.

    King smacked two bombs in one session and followed it up with a third in the subsequent round.

    He eliminated some of the movement he had last year and has a clean swing that looks much easier than the approach he had in the past.

  • Jeremy Hunt – who has hit the ball well in games – also hammered the ball. His power is much more evident early in spring and Hunt is hoping it carries over into the season.
  • Rayner Contreras has a new stance this year where his legs are bowed together. It looks painful, to be honest. It will be interesting to see if it lasts. He is a player that has power potential and could club 15 homers over a full season in 2008. Doing it with the new stance, however, looks like it will be a challenge.

  • Word is Brian Giles gave $100 to Ray Stokes when Stokes ran for him the other day. Stokes, incidentally, stole a base after subbing in for Giles.
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