News and Notes from Surprise

With the Peoria Sports Complex under reconstruction this summer, the Padres have been in Surprise since the start of extended spring training. We stopped in for a few days to watch as the youngest guys in the system work to hone their game and get accustomed to life as professional baseball players.

AZL Manager Michael Collins is working some remarkably young catchers under the age of 21, Cristhofer Martinez and Jalen Goree – who celebrated his birthday last month – are the only non-teenagers among the infielders and outfielders.

"They're all making those adjustments, going through the stages," said Collins. "We point out little things you see – timing issues, or more mental things. But there's so many adjustments, you don't want to bombard them with 100 things at once, but give them something solid to focus on."

Collins, himself only 29 years old as of last week, has a unique vantage point, having managed in the Dominican Republic last summer.

"I think I had a pretty good idea of what the Latin players go through. But truly living it and experiencing some of the things they must go through when they come here, absolutely helped. It's probably more off-field stuff, whether in the clubhouse or the hotel. There's a lot of things to that, but we're lucky. I think we've got a good group of guys."


Franmil Reyes clearly stands out for his physicality, but certainly remains a project in most aspects of the game. He was given a steady diet of breaking balls away and fastballs in late. He did sit back on one enough to rifle a ball to center on Monday. The barely 18-year-old now checks in at 6' 5" and 240 pounds, even after sweating some weight off over the last month.


Donavan Tate is working his way back into baseball shape. Looking stronger than he did when he was last in a uniform, Tate is now taking batting practice and fielding drills will the AZL club. In his session Tuesday, the former number three pick rifled several homers to left, but was still having trouble with his timing to go the other way. He might be ready for game action in the next 10 days.


Injury updates

Rymer Liriano just began his throwing program, tossing at 45 feet for the second time on Tuesday. In batting cage work, he rifled several balls as he works to find his timing in one-on-one drills with Damion Easley. … Beamer Weems has been shut down for the year after a recurrence of his shoulder problems. … Adys Portillo is still shut down and is scheduled to wait one more week before resuming a throwing program. He confirmed that his injury is to his lat, just under his throwing shoulder and the flare-up in Ft. Wayne was in the same place as the one that shut him down out of spring training. An MRI after he left his fourth TinCaps start showed just a strain with no structural damage. … Walker Lockett is throwing the ball again, but hasn't gotten onto a mound just yet. He remains as frustrated as anyone with the persistent issue with the cyst removed from his pitching finger. … Jason Hagerty's recovery from his elbow surgery is progressing well. He has stretched his throwing out to 90 feet and is set to move back again shortly. He's still hoping to return by mid-August, but it's unclear whether he would be ready for catching duties at that point. … 2012 draftee River Stevens is back to throwing, but likely won't be ready to play in games until next spring. Fellow middle infielder Stephen Carmon got his cast off, but has just begun baseball activities at this point. … Jordan Paroubeck is in camp, but still has his arm immobilized after his post-draft surgery. He won't participate in activities until this fall.

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