Ian Pike noon, Dec. 8
Padres Manager Buddy Black announced on Sunday that the opening day starter for the team will be Edinson Volquez. It was anticipated that Tim Stauffer would land that honor for the second year in a row, but it is now reported that Stauffer has a mild triceps strain and is - for now - positioned in the back end of the rotation. This is presuming that Stauffer's injury is indeed mild. Black seems to be taking a wait and see approach by all accounts.
Volquez was one of the pieces that came over the the Padres from the Cincinnati Reds in the deal that sent Mat Latos. In the off-season the Padres traded Latos to the Reds for Volquez, relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and first baseman Yonder Alonso. Volquez was the opening day pitcher for the Reds last season. He has already led a storied career.
Signed by the Texas Rangers in 2001 at the age of 17, he then went by the name of Julio Reyes. It was subsequently discovered that Julio Reyes was not his real name. Initially, it was discovered that his real name was Ediso Volquez. The n was added to his last name by the Rangers at his request, after he discovered that he was, in fact, born in Edinson.
Padres ties? How about ex-Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff back when Kouzmanoff was still with the Cleveland Indians before his trade to the Padres. In Kouzmanoff's first major league at-bat - in fact, the first pitch that Kouzmanoff saw in the big leagues - he hit a grand slam home run. He hit that home run in 2006 off of Volquez while Volquez was pitching for the Rangers.
Volquez struggled somewhat with the Rangers until in the off-season of 2007 he was traded along with Danny Herrera to the Cincinnati Reds for one Josh Hamilton. That Josh Hamilton. All that Volquez did in 2008 was to make the All-Star team as a member of the Reds and finish the regular season with a mark of 17-6.
The next year, 2009, was not so kind to Volquez. He eventually broke down and required Tommy John surgery. He tried to come back in 2010, but was suspended by Major League baseball for using performance-enhancing drugs. Two somewhat lost years, most of which was spent bouncing around in the minor leagues.
In 2011, Volquez came back to open for the Reds, starting 20 games and going 5-7 on the season. Volquez also spent some time in the minors in 2011, battling control issues. It isn't easy to pitch in that little park in Cincinnati. Petco Park should be much more to his liking.
He'll get an awesome chance to prove that coming up this Thursday.
Cory Luebke could have had a better last outing in Arizona. On a day when the wind either blew in or out, Luebke was straddled with a combination of poor luck when he located well, and bad results when he elevated pitches. He gave up 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 in two innings of work, limited by elevated pitch count. The Padres never could quite recover and lost to the Texas Rangers 5-3.
Prospect Colt Hynes followed Luebke with a perfect inning of work and Casey Kelly pitched an excellent scoreless 5 innings, scattering 6 hits and striking out 3 Rangers. While Kelly isn't likely to make the big club quite yet, he has had an outstanding spring and has been impressive enough to where he has greatly increased his chances of being called up at some point in 2012 if needed.
While the starting position players only got in a couple of at bats each, Jesus Guzman slugged his 5th home run of spring and Matt Clark hit his 4th. Both players are tied with the lead for the Padres in runs batted in with 13 in Cactus League play. John Baker, Vincent Belnome, and Dan Robertson each doubled. Hits by Yonder Alonso, Orlando Hudson, and Kyle Blanks completed the Padres offense.
Aside from the injury to Tim Stauffer, outfielder Mark Kotsay also came up hurt in Saturday's game, straining a calf. His injury is considered day-to-day at the moment, but it's possible that he could open the season on the DL. There are still a few days to decide the next course of action.
Monday, the Padres - or what is left of the squad after various minor league players have stayed behind or been reassigned - will be back at Petco Park on Monday for a work out. Tuesday night, the Padres will then host the Kansas City Royals for the next-to-last exhibition game of the 2012 season. The game will be televised on Fox Sports San Diego (you know the drill, Cox Cable or DirecTV is good, any other provider and you would be advised to attend the game or go to a sports bar that carries it), starting at 7:05 PM for the first pitch. On radio, the game will either be heard on 1700 AM or on XX 1090 AM.