Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., March 17
Padres catcher Nick Hundley was signed to a contract extension which will keep him in a Padres uniform at least through 2014, Hundley told reporters on Tuesday. Hundley is due to receive $2 million in 2012, which will not change. The deal calls for Hundley to earn $3 million in 2013 and $4 million in 2014, with an option for 2015 at $5 million. The option on Hundley's last year does not have a buy-out clause.
Hundley was drafted by the Padres in the 2nd round in 2005, and first appeared in the major leagues in 2008. Since then, Hundley has improved overall each year, hitting .288 in 2011. Limited by splitting time with other catchers and then an injury last season, Hundley has yet to play 100 games in an entire season. He hopes this will be his first.
For Nick, it's the guarantee of making $9 million over his next three years, when his arbitration eligible status will run out. Option years are rarely exercised by clubs, and Hundley will have an opportunity to test the free agent market in 2015 should the Padres not exercise Hundley's option.
Where the Padres are concerned, for the first time in many years they have excellent organizational depth at the catching position. One of the pieces received from the Mat Latos trade with the Cincinnati Reds is highly touted catcher Yasmani Grandal. Grandal projects to be ready for major league service as soon as 2013. And Austin Hedges, who many scouts say is the best defensive catching prospect they've seen, was drafted last year by the Padres. He could make it through the minor league system within three years.
Hundley's contract and option would make the Padres catcher a very attractive player for any team looking for a veteran backstop.
Meanwhile in Peoria, after a day off on Monday, the Padres continued to improve offensively in Cactus League play, routing the Colorado Rockies, 10-6. Led by a pinch-hit gland slam home run by Jesus Guzman, the Padres pounded out 16 hits. Cameron Maybin hit his second home run of the spring and Will Venable continued to have an excellent showing in the Cactus League. Venable was 3 for 4 with a double and two stolen bases, and his batting average sits at .364 this spring.
Pitcher Joe Wieland had a good three innings of work, his only mistake leaving a fastball up to Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki, which Tulowitzki promptly hammered on a rope and the ball left the park. But Wieland struggled in the fourth inning, giving up 4 more runs (2 earned). Two of the Colorado base runners in that inning came on walks. Wieland said afterward that he was "lackadaisical" for two batters.
With the win, the Padres are now 10-8 in Cactus League play.
On Wednesday, the Padres will travel to Glendale to face the Dodgers. Tim Stauffer, who hasn't had a very effective spring, will try and turn that around. In 6 2/3 innings of work, Stauffer has given up 18 hits and 9 runs, including 2 home runs. He has given up 3 walks while striking out only 4 batters to face him.
Carlos Quentin underwent successful surgery in San Diego Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus. Quentin will likely be out for 6 weeks. No other serious injuries to report, just little nagging ones not uncommon in spring baseball. Orlando Hudson continues to show improvement, and should be back in the line-up soon, possibly by Wednesday's game. Kyle Blanks, who looks to benefit from Quentin's injury, has a minor shoulder issue, and will likely be resting it for a few days.
So far, Fox Sports San Diego, who will televise most Padres games, has only signed up Cox Cable and DirecTV. No word on Time Warner or any other provider, although both sides are making their share of noise about it. FSSD recommends that you ensure your feeling about Time Warner via social networking, but no deal will get done without some serious private negotiations by both sides.
Speaking of injuries, apologies to any and all that have looked for your daily dose of the Padres here and didn't see it for the past few days. Even people who write about baseball spend some time on the disabled list. Status has improved to day-to-day.
(Image: Nick Hundley)