Lake Elsinore Storm Notebook: May 20, 2009

Hitting coach Shane Spencer is happy with the work of Beamer Weems and Luis Martinez this season. Jeremy Hefner ditches a pitch and gets a tip. Yefri Carvajal continues to work in right field and Carlos Lezcano is stressing defense.

  • Beamer Weems has been cleared to play after suffering a strained hamstring and ending up on the disabled list. The new came just prior to game time and won't go into effect just yet.

    "He should be back in the next couple of days," manager Carlos Lezcano said.

    Weems has been swinging a solid bat this season, learning to use the whole field while seeing tons of pitches.

    He had a tendency to over swing last season but has gone to a simpler approach of putting bat to ball and letting the stick do more of the work. That has paid off.

    Hitting coach Shane Spencer cited Weems as one of his pleasant surprises to begin the year.

  • Another player on the rise from a hitting standpoint is Luis Martinez. Not blessed with great bat speed, the backstop has taken a step back, literally.

    Martinez is now sitting back a step in the box to get a better beat on the ball and has responded by going the other way with outside pitches.

    Rather than fearing pitchers might come inside on him, Martinez has simply shortened his strike zone, taken more pitches than in the past and not missed when presented with a pitch he can handle.

    He has been on base in 16 straight games with a hit and walk on Wednesday.

  • Jeremy Hefner has given up his slider in favor of the curveball. The hammer is a plus offering and trimming the slider has Hefner focusing on three pitches.

    The idea behind it is to make those three offering crisper.

    After throwing a terrific warmup session before his last start, making pitching coach Dave Rajsich believe he might go as many as seven or eight innings, Hefner lasted just over an inning and was smacked around.

    The prevailing feeling was he was tipping his pitches and the opposition caught on. The staff has eliminated any chance that he will tip a pitch in the future.

  • Yefri Carvajal played in right field on Wednesday and took fly balls there before the game. Carvajal has seen a lot more time in right this year than ever before.

    The Domoinican Republic native has the arm but continues to be a work in progress defensively. He is still relatively new to night baseball and it shows in some of the routes he takes. He is also prone to mental mistakes.

    The Storm staff, incidentally, has put the team through some rigorous defensive drills of late. The focus on defense has been critical after some mental gaffes of late.

    "Every time we play, we have play hard, throw strikes, play defense," Lezcano said. "That needs to be there every night."

    Lezcano detests defensive micues and is eager to erase as many as possible, giving his team the best chance to win. Lake Elsinore has made 47 errors on the year and has a .969 fielding percentage.

    Carvajal, an outfielder, has seven of those errors.

    "I need to work on reading the ball better off the bat and going back on my routes and coming forward to get the ball," Carvajal said.

  • Robert Woodard slipped on the mound a few weeks back and was sent back to Arizona after feeling a shoulder twinge. The Padres are taking a cautious approach and there is no timetable for his return.
  • Cliff Floyd took batting practice and ran near the outfield grass afterwards. He did not look like he had his full range of motion back and was not in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

    Floyd came on as a pinch-hitter for Felix Carrasco in the sixth. He grounded out to first on a 3-2 pitch, trotting down the line.

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