Eugene Emeralds Notebook IV

Eugene, OR: Is the work in batting practice making it into games? What are they working on in the pen? Nate Freiman catching? Is Bo Davis done for the season? What goes through a closer's mind after blowing a save? Is the National Anthem played before game two? We have the answers.

  • Taking positive steps in games is a way to gauge progress but for a hitter developing a new style of hitting, the evidence isn't always there.

    While the pre-game work includes a new approach to the ball – perhaps a better load in a swing or better flight path of the bat to ball, when the lights come on, everything must be thrown aside.

    "With EP (hitting coach Eric Peyton), we are trying to work on my load a little bit," outfielder Chadd Hartman said. "I try and do that in the on-deck circle, but once I am in the batter's box, see the ball, hit the ball hard is all I am thinking about."

    Infielder Vince Belnome is also working on his hand separation and balance in order to be quick to the ball and in good hitting position.

    "I am trying to but it is not something you think about," Belnome said. "You work on mechanics before the game, but once you are in the game, you are looking to hit the ball and getting a good pitch to hit.

    "You can't be thinking about all of the things you are working on because nothing will happen when you get in the game."

    Hartman and Belnome each collected a pair of hits in the opener.

    "They talk a lot about getting your pitch to hit," first baseman Nate Freiman said. "I have been getting my pitch to hit."

    Freiman has a 17-game hitting streak and has made noticeable strides in shortening his stroke. With his tremendous strength, the sky is the limit.

  • Miles Mikolas worked on keeping his balance point during his bullpen session. The right-hander has had a tendency to lean back when he comes to the set position – causing his balance to go awry and his arm angle to change from pitch to pitch – pushing his pitches up in the zone while not allowing him to be consistent with location.

    Nick Greenwood also threw a bullpen and looked sharp. The left-hander twirled a solid changeup and showed impressive fastball command – just like he has in every game he has played.

    Among the things that pitchers are being taught is the importace of the 1-1 pitch. The difference between putting the hitter ahead in the count 2-1 and getting ahead 1-2 can often be the difference between a win and a loss. Therefore, the Padres stress

  • Nate Freiman acted as the bullpen catcher on Monday with Emmanuel Quiles and Jason Hagerty playing the field. Quiles was the game one catcher while Hagerty played first base.

    Freiman warmed up Ryan Hinson in the fourth inning and also handled the warmup of David Erickson prior to the seventh.

    "I actually caught some in college," the 6-foot-8, 250-pound Freiman said. "I am trying to be as versatile as I can be and told them I could help out."

    How good is he is as a catcher? Freiman stated he could get the ball down to second in 1.9 seconds – pretty solid for a first baseman with his size.

  • Bo Davis left the game after stealing his Northwest League leading 11th base of the season, driving his hand into the bag on a head first slide. He was seen with a soft cast after the first game.

    "It is probably broken," manager Greg Riddoch said.

    If it is broken, there is a good chance that Davis will miss the rest of the season.

    Ironically, the Padres teach all of their prospects to slide feet first – but that doesn't happen until Instructional League in September.

  • Closer David Erickson came on to close out game one of the doubleheader. The right-hander out of UConn had given up runs in two of his previous three outings, taking the loss both times.

    On Monday, he retired the side in order, striking out one.

    "It is just baseball," Erickson said. "Sometimes the ball doesn't go your way and you have to just come out the next day and pitch the way you did the day before."

  • The last doubleheader to be played in Eugene came on August 22, 2004. When the team came back on the field for the second game, they lined up expecting the National Anthem to be played a second time. This is not the case.

    It was their first doubleheader sweep since August 30, 2006.

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