The shortstop took part in all the drills and was rearing to go. After just one fielding session, he has already made an impression on manager Greg Riddoch.
"He looks smooth out there," Riddoch noted.
Weems takes pride in his defense but is eager to get into games.
"In the time I wasn't here, I was definitely practicing every day and working out. The advantage is the rest of the team has been here and if I have any problems I can go to them."
Weems was selected by the Padres in the eighth-round this season as a junior out of Baylor. Weems, one of only two Baylor shortstops to earn all-conference honors three consecutive years, is a career .296 hitter with 24 home runs, 136 RBI, 41 doubles and 12 triples. He is considered one of the best defensive shortstops to come out of this year's draft.
As for his hitting prowess, Weems says, "I hit most balls to right-center when batting left-handed and I stay on more balls batting right-handed."
Gamboa worked with the group on fielding balls off the wall and getting into good throwing position – fielding the ball on the arm side rather than having to make a full twist to throw the ball to the designated base.
He also worked with the outfielders on reading the ball leading up to the wall and making a determination as to whether a jump at the wall is warranted versus staying back and fielding the carom.
"He is a wealth of knowledge and has been around the game for a long time," outfielder Sawyer Carroll said. "He has helped me out tremendously – in minicamp and here again today."
The results were predictable, chasing on the outside pitches because he could not recognize them and diving out with little to no strength behind his swing.
"Getting in a better power position," Verbick explained of the changes. "With my old swing, I kind of leaned forward a little bit and didn't get all the power I could into it."
"He had trouble not being able to get to that launch position," Riddoch said. "That is starting to come for him."
In his first at-bat on Saturday, he put the newfound knowledge to use by staying back on the ball and driving a fastball into the left-centerfield gap for a double and an RBI on a 3-2 offering.
On a 0-0 pitch in the third inning, Verbick launched a ball over the left field wall for a solo homer.
"I have a new swing that I am working on and haven't had much success lately with it," Verbick said. "It felt good to stay back."
In his third at-bat in the fourth inning, Verbick was presented with a bases loaded opportunity with nobody out. Verbick lined a 1-1 fastball down the left field line to drive in a pair, putting the score at 9-7 at the time. It was part of a six-run inning that saw the Emeralds bat around.
"That was nice – everyone getting on a roll and getting the pitcher a little rattled," he said. "Tonight is one of those games you tip your hat to them for getting a few more hits than we had.
Verbick was issued a four-pitch walk in the sixth inning, as they tried to get him chasing several curveballs but he would not bite.
In his final time to the dish in the bottom of the eighth, Verbick grounded out to third but reached due to a fielding error.
"He had trouble getting his hands started and was getting jammed," Gamboa noted after watching him get three extra base hits. "Heck of a game."
Derek Shunk launched a ball off the wall and was thrown out trying to collect a double. It appeared that he slowed on his way to first base before realizing it might be a close play at second. With the Emeralds down by two, it was a crucial play.
"I didn't ask him but it would be a natural tendency when you are down and you don't want to make that out at third base so you are going to cruise on into second with a nice double," Riddoch said. "When he got around the base, the ball bounced right off the wall and right to the guy and he caught it. I haven't seen a ball like that in years – in this park, and on that grass?"
Rayner Contreras was sent to Peoria, Arizona after medication he was taking began to affect his personality in a negative way. He got into a fight with one of his teammates and word is it was not the first time.
Contreras is slated to see two different doctors in Arizona in an effort to assist the problems he has had personality-wise.
Will Startup is not close to returning to the mound and there is no ETA.
Paul Abraham had shoulder surgery last week and is out for the rest of the season. There is even talk that his career might be in jeopardy. He is in Arizona working on his rehab and hoping to make a comeback. It is the second time in two years he has gone under the knife.
Drew Cumberland is expected to get an X-ray to determine whether he is fit to play after suffering a cracked rib. Depending on the results, he could be back in Fort Wayne next week.
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