Padres MLN: The boys are back

Peoria, AZ- Many of these San Diego Padres prospect would love that trip that never ends, but Tuesday resulted in many being reassigned to minor league camp with the China trip in the books. Many were tired from the Far East excursion and were just trying to get back into the rhythm with their timing.

  • The China trip took its toll on many players and it is directly related to their slumber.

    Several players commented on how it affected them – a day after they were given an off-day.

    "It is going to take me time to get my sleep pattern back," Josh Geer said.

    "I was staring at the ceiling at 2 AM last night," Matt Antonelli said.

    Most of the players who returned to action after the trip struggled. Antonelli grounded out twice and was hit by a pitch. Paul Abraham's command was way off, as he walked four. Drew Macias grounded out twice. Nick Hundley and Brett Dowdy each grounded out once, and Kyle Blanks went 0-for-4.

    "I don't feel too good," Blanks admitted. "You still have to play. You have to fight through it."

  • Blanks has a new stance this year and appears to have widened his base while also raising his hands before the pitch.

    The idea is to make his swing more compact and add even more power to his immense frame.

    Felix Carrasco had a great batting practice session batting left-handed. For the second time this week, he looked under control and wasn't trying to kill the ball. He will need to keep it up with so many players vying for a spot at first base and the overall depth in the system increasing.

    Not only has Clint Naylor shown more pop in his bat, his arm strength is evident. He has worked on his throwing mechanics and his confidence is on display when he pops out of his stance.

  • While every level of the minors performs many of the same drills, execution is evident at the higher levels – the separating factor that displays why they are where they are with confidence.

    During pitchers fielding practice on the Triple-A field, Seth Johnston – playing first base – made a picture perfect start to turning a double play.

    On the next play – one that would end the session if done properly – Johnston missed picking up a ball on the infield grass. Jose Oyervidez, moving to cover the bag and await the flip from Johnston, saw the ball skip off Johnston's glove and was able to pick it off the turf and touch the bag to the delight of the coaching staff.

    On another field, Bronswell Patrick could be heard yelling, "Make good throws Sally" to right-hander Yesid Salazar. That kind of admonishment isn't evident on the Double-A and Triple-A fields.

  • San Antonio manager Bill Masse grilled the pitchers on their pickoff moves and, more importantly, the rhythm of their deliveries.

    "When you guys get into a rhythm, (the runner) is shuffling once your head turns home and he goes as soon as you lift your leg," Masse said. "Vary the delivery, the looks you are giving the runner."

    The basic undertone is runners time the deliveries and if they see a pattern, they will take off at the first sign of a leg being lifted, knowing they have been forgotten about.

  • Directly adjacent to where Masse was teaching the pitchers, Doug Dascenzo was working with base runners on their reads and jumps off the first base bag.

    "Don't guess," Dascenzo scolded. "Every left-hander has this move..."

    The move he made was a quick step off the rubber with his back foot and a snap throw to the bag. More than that, Dascenzo was throwing balls in the dirt to the catchers to get runners recognizing when to make the break for second.

    As the drills moved on, Dascenzo commented, "I am going to pick someone off before this is over and we go into get lunch."

    He thought he had someone but the first baseman – another coach – could not hang onto the ball. He did get someone to break on a ball that was caught by the catcher.

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