Lake Elsinore Storm Notebook

Lake Elsinore, CA: Nick Schmidt, who has been shelved to limit his innings, was on the hill pitching live batting practice.

  • Nick Schmidt, a left-hander taken by the San Diego Padres in the first-round in the 2007 MLB Draft, worked out in the bullpen before moving to the mound to pitch live batting practice to Brad Chalk and Andy Parrino.

    In the bullpen, Schmidt wasn't very crisp with his off-speed pitches, bouncing several in the dirt, including a curveball that skipped three-quarters of the way to the catcher and ended up bouncing over his head and out of sight.

    "He was pulling across the plate a little bit," pitching coach Dave Rajsich said. "We are working on his delivery. He starts to get long and drifts. I have been trying to keep him short and compact."

    Schmidt wasn't happy after that pitch but found some focus with his fastball and began to hit his target more regularly.

    When he moved to the regular pitching mound, Schmidt continued to be erratic with the command of his stuff. Many of the pitches were outside of the zone. Chalk was able to punch a few hits the opposite way and grabbed a ducksnort on a tough breaking ball that he waited back on and punched to right field.

    Parrino was, for the most part, taking. Schmidt did toss a beautiful curveball on the outer half that froze Parrino.

    On the plus side, any contact made was generally soft. He did not, however, look game ready, as the southpaw battles fatigue from a long season.

    "We are going to do another session Friday that we will tape and compare the two," Rajsich said. "He was a little bit across his body today, pulling."

  • Beamer Weems was named the Storm's lone postseason All-Star representative.

    For a guy who was almost asked to abandon his left-handed hitting ways, it was a great testament to how far he has come.

    "We started working a lot on it in instructs," Weems said. "I have had times where I have struggled but work a lot with Shane Spencer – he is so knowledgeable at hitting. Having a guy like that in your corner is a huge benefit."

    "He is a very good defensive shortstop who was hitting .280 for much of the season but has struggled the last few weeks," manger Carlos Lezcano said. "He went to instructs last year and there were doubts about his left-handed hitting but he has impressed a lot of people with his hitting. He made the All-Star team and there are good shortstops in this league."

    The shortstop entered the game hitting .254 over 102 games with the Storm, netting 21 doubles, three homers, 59 runs scored and 43 RBI. He has drawn 74 walks compared to 73 strikeouts for a .403 on-base percentage.

    "It feels good and we have been winning too," Weems said. "This is icing on the cake."

    Despite playing the toughest fielding position on the diamond, Weems has committed just 11 errors, sporting a California League leading .977 fielding percentage.

    As if these words were kryptonite, Weems made an error on his first fielding attempt on Tuesday.

    "I have done well with the defensive aspect of my game," Weems said. "Even if I had just one error, I would probably be mad about that one. I hate making them. The pitchers have been giving me a lot of opportunities but it still makes me mad when I make one."

  • With solid seasons from many of the young players on the Lake Elsinore roster, the vision isn't on what they have accomplished but what they can accomplish.

    The Storm will begin their playoff series next week versus either Rancho Cucamonga or Inland Empire.

    "It has been a successful season but we are focused on going far in the playoffs," catcher Luis Martinez said.

    Martinez has had a banner year at the plate, hitting well above his career average while continuing to play solid defense.

    "Right now, we are going hard until the end so we can hopefully end up with a championship," third baseman James Darnell said.

    Darnell has shown power and patience – the ideal blend the Padres have hoped to develop over the last several years.

    The goal of every player in every organization is to win. Nothing feels better than a championship.

    "I wasn't in the playoffs last year and a couple of players here have been and said it was awesome," Weems said. "Something like that brings up team spirits and gives us something to play for.

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