Hello. How ya been? Feels like years since I’ve written. Or since the Padres won a game.
Lots going on, but I’m a little short on time, so we’ll get to some of it now and come back for the rest later.
Hey, Hey, Hey, Do the Padre Shuffle
Okay, that was lame. Anyway, here’s what’s been happening of late:
- RHP Clay Condrey to DL with a strained ERA, er, left oblique
- RHP Brandon Villafuerte to DL with a strained right shoulder
- LHP Roger Deago back to Mobile
- RHP Charles Nagy up from Portland
- RHP Carlton Loewer up from Portland
- LHP Randy Keisler up from Portland
- LHP Mike Bynum to Portland
- RHP Adam Eaton off DL
- RHP Kevin Jarvis, LHP Kevin Walker, and RHP Jay Witasick from 15- to 60-day DL
- C Wiki Gonzalez to Portland
- C Miguel Ojeda up from Mexico City
- Greg Booker fired; Darren Balsley named new pitching coach
- RHP Jon Huber promoted from Ft. Wayne to Lake Elsinore
- LHP Rob Ramsay promoted from Lake Elsinore to Portland
Something had to give with Condrey and Deago. They couldn’t get hitters out. Losing Villafuerte hurts, because in addition to pitching well since being removed from the closer’s role, he’s also been resilient. Nagy is a guy who could help soak up some innings and maybe take some pressure off the kids (even if only to demonstrate how little it takes to keep a job in the big leagues). Loewer and Keisler actually have some (but not much) upside. Loewer worked 6 2/3 innings in his 2003 debut, throwing just 98 pitches in a losing cause. How many runs did he allow? Who cares. He saved the bullpen, and he kept the prospects from getting slagged.
Bynum, who was busy putting Ken Dixon to shame with 10 homers in 19 1/3 innings, will try to get his game back together at Triple-A. Eaton will try to stay healthy.
As for Jarvis, Walker, and Witasick, I keep hearing conflicting reports. One day they’re close to returning, the next they’re on the 60-day DL. I have no idea.
Gonzalez and the $4M remaining on his contract continue to haunt the Padres, while Ben Davis continues to develop for the Mariners. Ojeda is 28 years old and stands as good a chance as anyone currently in the organization of becoming the catcher of the future. No, that is not a compliment to Ojeda. Oh, and this also means that the Pads’ most effective pitcher so far in 2003 is now in the minors.
Booker’s firing comes as no surprise. Padre pitchers have allowed more walks than anyone in the NL this year, and trail only Cincinnati and Milwaukee in home runs allowed. Only the Reds sport a higher team ERA than the Pads. And the Padres’ most high-profile young arm, Oliver Perez, struggled miserably and was sent back to the minors (although in fairness to Booker, it wasn’t his decision to bring up the talented but erratic left-hander to San Diego after just four starts above Class-A ball).
Booker did get in this great quote, though:
You can prepare a donkey to run in the Preakness, but he probably won’t run very well.
Yeah, Booker was dealt a pretty lousy hand in many respects (Trevor Hoffman, Kevin Jarvis). But the bottom line is he didn’t get the job done.
Balsley is a Mt. Carmel HS (Billy Beane, Eric Chavez, Eric Munson, among others) grad who drew rave reviews for his work with Peavy, Perez, Mark Phillips, and Dennis Tankersley at Lake Elsinore and Mobile the past few years. The hope here is that he’s better suited to developing young arms than Booker evidently was.
Huber is a power righty who continues to intrigue me. Ramsay is recovering from brain tumor surgery and reportedly hit 87 with his fastball at Elsinore last week.
- Keith Lockhart hit a homer in yesterday’s loss to the Braves. Good luck trying to convince Bruce Bochy he doesn’t belong on the roster now. Lockhart doesn’t even have enough of an arm to pitch mopup.
- Three homers in two days to Vinny Castilla?
- Jake Peavy: 110 pitches Friday night
- Ramon Vazquez in May: .220/.277/.322 in 59 at-bats
- Mark Kotsay in May: .196/.315/.217 in 46 at-bats
- Shane Victorino leads the club with six stolen bases
- Ryan Klesko seems to have forgotten how to hit lefties: .111/.256/.167 in 36 at-bats
- Mark Loretta in May: .296/.387/.500 in 54 at-bats
- Xavier Nady in May: .389/.450/.574 in 54 at-bats
- Sean Burroughs in May: .311/.373/.489 in 45 at-bats
- Burroughs against southpaws: .280/.400/.600 in 25 at-bats
- The Pads are assured of losing no more than 149 games this season
Here’s some stuff that’s been piling up on the desktop:
- Barfield: I remember draft day (padres.com) Josh Barfield talks about the experience of being selected in the draft.
- 2003 MLB draft preview (padres.com) A quick look at the June draft.
- Twenty years ago, a spotty draft (padres.com) You may remember this as the year that Padre bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds was taken ahead of Roger Clemens.
- It continues to be one big struggle for Beltre (ESPN.com) This is John Sickels’ column. The last question is about Khalil Greene. Long story, short: Don’t worry about his slow start, he’ll be just fine.
Okay, that’s all for now. I know a bunch of you have e-mailed me over the past several days. I’m still sifting through all of your letters and I hope to run a mailbag sometime later this week. So if you are one of the fine folks who took the time to write in, thanks for your patience. We’ll get to those real soon. Keep ‘em coming!
Meantime (and this is a phrase you never want to utter about your team), let’s hope the Pads can gain some ground on the Brewers this week. Later…