Ready on Padres prospects from Portland

It won't be long before Randy Ready has a job managing in the major leagues. For now, he is in the San Diego Padres system and aiding the big league club with prospects. Names such as Chip Ambres, Matt Antonelli, Luke Carlin, Paul McAnulty, Brian Myrow, Jody Gerut, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Will Venable were under his tutelage with Peter Ciofrone and Brett Dowdy still in his care.

Chip Ambres led the team in a number of offensive categories – is this someone who can thrive with regular playing time?

Randy Ready: Yeah, Chip was probably our most inspirational player, and probably our MVP over the whole season just because of what he brought to the table on and off the field. The players respect how strong his work ethic is, they respect how he comes to the ballpark fresh every day, upbeat with a lot of energy, and it carried over into his game. He had a solid season.

Matt Antonelli came on with a strong August after a tough season. What changes did he make to come out of the slump?

Randy Ready: Everybody's looking for the answer to that question, and I think it was just Matt's concentration. And I think that his focus was just a little better. And, he had struggled with his mechanics all year, his approach, balance, stride; it's been a handful of things. But I think that just the concentration – I don't think it's where he needs to be or where he wants to be. But it was definitely improved.

Luke Carlin was a backup for much of the year but the Padres called him up three times. What made him such a good candidate?

Randy Ready: Well, there's no question about his defensive skills. Luke's an above average catcher, receiving, blocking and throwing. It's just a matter of, it'd be nice if he could put something a little bit better together offensively, because then that's kind of job security for him. But there's no question about his defense, how he handles the staff, pitchers like throwing to him, he's got a good rapport with the umpires, he's got some good things going for him.

Paul McAnulty came to you late and then went on a tear. It seems he needs regular playing time to be most effective.

Randy Ready: I have to agree with you there. Mac came down in a great frame of mind. He says, ‘I'm not coming down here crying, I'm coming down here, I'm happy to be playing every day.'

I say, ‘I'm running you out there, get ready.'

And he did just that and he responded well by letting his abilities do his talking. And that's probably the secret to his success this year. He came down there and just was really just squaring up baseballs day in and day out.

Brian Myrow flat out hits anytime he is in the lineup. How is it that this kid hasn't had more chances?

Randy Ready: I think ‘Row is just having trouble with that part-time, limited role. He was stuck behind Adrian. Adrian played 161 out of 162 last year, and Myrow, when they want him to have big hits off the bench it's very difficult because Adrian's out there all the time. A lot of time, if you get your ballplayers some playing time that will help them coming off the bench and make some contributions. It's not that easy just to sit there and try to come up with some big hits. Some guys are better at it than other guys at it. I think they were counting on Myrow being a better guy at it – it hasn't worked out for him as of yet.

Did you feel like Jody Gerut would have a comeback season like he has?

Randy Ready: I'm very happy for Jody. He came in and worked very hard the first month that he was with us. He was on his way and he was in line for major league comeback player. So that would be awesome. Jody brings – he's a special player and he's proven that now to me in San Diego.

Chase Headley struggled early in the year and came on before his promotion and is now carving out a solid season in the majors. Yet, he isn't as patient as he has been in the past. Is that surprising?

Randy Ready: I saw him press a little bit, just watching his at-bats. He was going deep in counts and then, instead of laying off that pitch, it looked like he was already committed to swing. Until he settles in … he's going to be a professional hitter, in my opinion. So, I think once he settles in a little bit more, gets a better idea what the pitchers are trying to do to him, the more he gets a chance to see these guys, that's when he'll start, really start to shine.

Nick Hundley has taken the bull by the horns since his promotion. What about his game impressed you while you had him?

Randy Ready: Well, number one you have to start with his catching progress. To be catching every day in the big leagues, that's how much progress we're talking about over the last couple years. He's handling the staff with confidence, they really like what he's doing in receiving, blocking, throwing and making contributions with that. When I was up there he was making contributions with the bat as well - he had a couple big hits, drove in a couple runs. He was going to get some playing time, and this was a good time for most of these guys we're talking about to see if they really kind of pan out at the major league level.

Will Venable was asked to hit for a little more power this year. Did you see the strides he was making in that category?

Randy Ready: Yeah, absolutely. He's just a little bit inconsistent with his approach, but the foundation is there, the athleticism, aptitude, everything we've talked about with William over the years, it still applies to today. So it's just a matter of him staying consistent with it, trusting his hands, and getting the count in his favor, obviously, and he's going to do some damage.

Peter Ciofrone has always been a hitter but upped his power numbers this year. Can you pinpoint why?

Randy Ready: Said he got his man strength! That's what he calls it. He was working hard this year; a young player. I mean, he was just starting to mature a little bit. And I think when Pete says his ‘man strength,' I mean, exactly just that! He's got a good foundation. He's got great balance and control in the batter's box and those things definitely help when you start driving the ball out of the ballpark. And no question that Pete's been a good hitter, and this year I think he just stayed on the ball a lot better and he worked hard and the ball was really jumping off his bat this year.

Brett Dowdy has always been a plug-and-play kind of guy for you. Does he have a role as a utility player in the majors?

Randy Ready: I think so. I think he's going to get an opportunity at some point. He brings a lot to the table: flexibility and versatility in the field. You know he runs well, he runs the bases aggressively, and he can help produce some runs anywhere you plug him in. I think he'll get an opportunity at the major league level at some point.

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