Padres Instructional League Notebook V

Peoria, AZ: Minor league field coordinator Tom Gamboa reiterated the need for execution in all facets of the game on Thursday, pointing to the playoffs as a prime example.

"The intensity and work ethic has been terrific," Gamboa said. "We saw a lot of good things in our execution practice (on Wednesday). Forty-percent of your at-bats will be situational hitting.

"The game is about pitching and defense. These are constants. The mindset has to be that we have to figure out ways to manufacture three or four runs in situational at-bats. Not just swinging but being focused on the task. Having a plan."

Pointing to the pitching, Gamboa used the dominance of Cliff Lee in Philadelphia's game one win over Colorado as the prime example of a philosophy the Padres preach.

"Cliff Lee threw 25 out of 32 first-pitch strikes. That was a major point for me towards his success. It ties directly to the importance of what we preach with fastball command.

"Every pitch you throw is done so with a purpose. Visualize it in your mind and be able to repeat your delivery. We know you can do it. Right now, the reason you are here, is because you are not doing it."

While many have heard it before, being able to place a real life example on it may be the thing that allows a prospect to become a major leaguer. Seeing someone have success, like Lee, can spurn others to do the same.

  • Gamboa also touched on not changing when you do get the opportunity. Left-hander Wade LeBlanc is a primary example that learned from his mistakes.

    The natural tendency when moving up a level is to change your plan that had so much success. LeBlanc also had one other thing to work on.

    "He was trying to throw harder and his mechanics were breaking down," Gamboa said. "His fastball command wasn't there.

    "He has as good a changeup as anyone. He would get behind in the count but always knew he could throw a changeup. In the majors, hitters would sit on that pitch and he got his butt kicked.

    "Pitching coach Darren Balsley said, ‘What is the difference when he went up a second time? He had fastball command. His last six outings showed us he had command of that pitch. Now, we are looking at him for a spot in our rotation next year.'"

    Another coach pointed to Chris Carpenter's outing versus Los Angeles. The reason for his troubles throughout the game was relegated to fastball command. He simply didn't have it.

  • Gamboa also touched upon the importance of defense again and what can happen with one wrong step. Carlos Gonzalez made a fielding gaffe on a Ryan Howard fly ball. Instead of keeping the ball inside of him, Gonzalez was twisted around because of the mental error. The ball went off his glove for a double. The next hitter tripled.

    "It shows you that the things we do in (Instructs) become magnified on national TV and in the playoffs."

  • Jeremy McBryde continues to nurse himself back into a healthy state.

    "I am trying," he said. "I am just not there yet."

    McBryde missed more than half the season with a back injury.

  • Matt Clark was able to participate in fielding drills but was held out of work in the batting cage. The first baseman hurt the wrist on his glove hand and was only able to take swings gingerly.

    Drew Cumberland also was held out of drills after injuring his wrist. He did not participate in fielding or hitting drills.

  • Aaron Poreda was excited to be part of the Padres Instructional League roster.

    "It gives you a chance to come out here without pressure and have some fun," he said. "San Diego was beautiful. I didn't want to leave."

    The left-hander acquired as part of the Jake Peavy deal is throwing every two days down in Arizona, as the Padres hope to see improvement with his changeup.

  • Arizona Fall League participants Cedric Hunter, Lance Zawadzki and Mitch Canham took part in a batting practice session.

    Hunter is attempting to eliminate a little bit of a rap in his swing. Zawadzki was working on separation and extension. Canham was working on slowing down his movement so there is a break between going back into his load and coming forward to swing.

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