Padres Minor League Spring Notebook VII

PEORIA, AZ-- Defense wins championships. With the San Diego Padres depth at third base gaining serious steam, the fielders were scrutinized for their defensive prowess. Also some batting practice highlights and a spectacular play by in infielder that was in the outfield.

  • The young third basemen found their rhythm on Wednesday after some early jitters. Earlier in camp, the fielders were rushing some of their throws and trying to make a lasting impressions.

    Things have since settled down.

    "At first, there throws were everywhere because they were unsettled," Double-A hitting coach Orv Franchuk said. "They are money now."

  • James Darnell was particularly impressive. The South Carolina alumnus was soft on his feet and set his feet before throwing the ball. He was also accurate with his throws.
  • Logan Forsythe was a little choppy with his steps coming in on balls. Instead of charging and slowing down as he closed on the ball, Forsythe would take extra steps, resulting in a slower pickup of the rock. His throws, however, were on point.
  • Edinson Rincon rushed just about everything, although he has made progress. The Dominican native overcharged some balls and doesn't set his feet before the throw. It resulted in balls going wide of the bag.

    Rincon, however, had a terrific batting practice. An extremely powerful specimen, Rincon launched several balls out of the yard. He looked locked in and showed off the power that most believe will blossom this season.

  • Matt Gaski was fundamentally sound at third base. He wasn't as crisp as Darnell but fielded his position well and made all the plays within his range. He simply knows his job and is only limited by range.

    Gaski also had the play of the day during a batting practice session. The UNC-Greensboro alumnus ran to his right on a tailing liner and dove for the ball – making the catch to the oohs of everyone.

  • Rymer Liriano had some positive moments during batting practice. The outfielder has a wide base that makes it tough for him to adjust to the breaking ball, but he has no trouble with the heater.

    During one session, he launched one to left and proceeded to hit a liner that took about one second to bounce off the wall in left-center.

  • Michael Collins had a solid batting practice session. The backstop was a line drive machine and making solid contact at every turn.

    Mitch Canham has gone to gloves full-time while he bats. The Oregon State alumnus still feels that going without gloves gives him a better feel at the dish, saying it ‘is an extension of the bat" when he doesn't wear batting gloves. The problem is his hands get dry and a dose of sweat makes the bat slip in his grasp.

  • Pitcher Brad Brach missed a responsibility during one of the drills.

    The Padres were practicing the particulars of a first and third situation with two outs where the runner from first was attempting to steal second. The goal is to get the out – wherever it is – before the run touches home.

    With a runner on the move and Brach on the mound, the second baseman fielded it in front of the bag and fired back home to the catcher as the runner on third broke for home. Brach ran in between home and third and ran into the catcher as he was charging down the line to get the runner headed back to third.

    It sounds so simple. Brach's responsibility was to backup the catcher – running on the first base side so he doesn't get caught in the play.

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