Washington, D.C. John Conniff watched the pre-game action prior to the second game of the San Diego Padres contest with the Washington Nationals and provided his insight from the field as well as the clubhouse.
Bud Black said it's likely that outfielder Will Venable will take a brief rehab assignment in the minors to make sure that he is in game shape.
Second baseman David Eckstein is still nursing a partially strained calf and is day-to-day. The team will use him as a late inning replacement, but Jerry Hairston will start all the games of the series at second.
Its likely that the Padres may push Mat Latos a little further back than most thought.
Black said at his pre-game manager's meeting that because of the limited amount of innings Latos has pitched in the last two years they really need to be careful with him. It seems likely that we will next see him around July 22 or July 23 against either Atlanta or Pittsburgh after his start on Thursday in D.C.
In batting practice, you can see what the Padres see in pinch-hitter and hockey fanatic Matt Stairs, who was sporting an autographed Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals jersey in the clubhouse, a nice easy swing where the ball ends up in the right-field bleachers.
Everyone has been impressed with the overall game of outfielder Aaron Cunningham. When Will Venable comes off of the DL its difficult to foresee him going back down, he's hitting better than any of the other outfielders.
If Tony Gwynn Jr. doesn't ever consistently hit major league pitching it won't be for a lack of effort. He is the first one in the cage, hitting off of a tee and constantly picking the brains of the coaches.
In his pre-game meeting manager Bud Black recounted his conversation with NL All-Star manager Charlie Manuel on the selection of Heath Bell to replace Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo and according to Bud, Charlie let him know that Latos is on the short list if anyone else goes down.
More Latos. According to Mat, Jaff Decker's recent surge in Lake Elsinore is due to him. During a Storm off day Decker came by to visit his good friend at PETCO, Decker and Latos hang out together during spring training. Decker in maybe the first slump of his life borrowed two of Latos' bats and has taken off since.