Padres MLN: Woodard precise; Black weighs in

Peoria, AZ- In the Low-A game, Robert Woodard was dominant and Shane Buschini came through again, despite a loss. Edgar Garzon did not start but came through in the clutch. Also, Bud Black weighs in on Paul McAnulty and Chase Headley – plus other notes from the morning workout.

  • Robert Woodard and his mule kick delivery were as efficient as can be on Wednesday. The right-hander – who kicks his leg back before each pitch out of the windup and has a high leg kick in the Will Startup mold – pounded the strike zone over three innings of work, needed just 28 pitches to work through his scoreless affair.

    Woodard allowed a single hit, striking out two and inducing four ground outs. The right-hander does not throw hard but hit his spots with precision and worked to contact – the motto of the San Diego Padres and their staff.

    Allen Harrington quickly worked through his first inning before seeing some trouble in the fifth. Harrington was called for a balk after a single to open the inning, but the left-hander was saved when they caught a runner in a pickle and caught a player in a rundown between third and home.

    Harrington did not escape trouble in the sixth. He was tagged for four runs, just one earned, as four errors in the frame resulted in numerous extensions. His night ended after 45 pitches.

    Andy Underwood got two quick outs in the seventh before three straight hits, two singles sandwiched around a double, scored two. His 16-pitch inning ended on a ground out.

    Alexis Lara needed 12 pitches to get through his outing. Flashing a fastball that hit 94 MPH, Lara worked around a one-out single to work a scoreless frame.

    Derek McDaid finished off the game, giving up a triple to open the inning before a one-out single brought the run in.

  • Shane Buschini reached base four times, going 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. All three of his hits were singles and he was stranded at first base with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth of a 7-4 loss.

    Brian Lauderdale's triple was the lone extra base hit on the night and he came around to score on a passed ball. Edgar Garzon ripped a single to score two – the only player with multiple RBIs.

  • Bud Black had nothing but praise for Paul McAnulty and Chase Headley – two players angling for big league time with the San Diego Padres.

    "Both of them will be major league players," Black said.

    So far this spring, McAnulty is hitting .333 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 33 at-bats. He has also drawn eight walks compared to six strikeouts to post a .452 on-base percentage.

    Headley is hitting a robust .371 over 35 at-bats, tagging a team-leading seven extra base hits and 12 RBIs.

    "Mac has a real good shot at making the club," Black said in a race that also includes Jeff DaVanon and Jody Gerut.

    With a little more than a week to go, the battle is still fierce and nothing is set in stone.

    Headley, despite his tremendous spring with the bat has a little bit more of an uphill climb.

    "I don't know if it is fair to Chase, making the conversion to left field and jumping from Double-A," Black said. "He has been very good at left."

    With only 18 spring games under his belt, Headley may need more seasoning in Triple-A.

    While he has battled the sun, most games are played at night and that circumstance provides different reads off the bat. It could take an extra second for an outfielder to pick up the ball – asking Headley to learn on the fly in the majors might be too much, but his bat is making the question interesting.

  • Will Venable looks slimmer but is carrying the same weight as last season. The difference – his workouts added more strength and made him leaner.

    The Padres have asked him to hit for more power this year – even if it comes at a price that sacrifices his average.

  • Daryl Jones had a rough morning. And it wasn't his fault.

    New hitting coach Shane Spencer was throwing batting practice to Jones and was having a tough time finding the strike zone. Before Jones stepped in, Spencer threw two balls that were up and in, prompting Jones to say, "That would have been my head" both times.

    The first baseman stepped in and made it through the first round with his head still intact. The second round prompted Jones to hit the floor trying to avoid a ball headed for his head. He turned an ankle in the process.

    "I rolled it when I jumped out of the way," said Jones.

    Spencer was so erratic that it was hard to identify whether the players batting were having bad sessions or just trying to make do with the pitches being thrown. Rayner Contreras was even hit by a Spencer pitch.

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