Larry Steckling 6 p.m., March 31
Vedder Cup closer to remaining in San Diego as Padres down Mariners
The 2013 Vedder Cup can be decided on Wednesday evening, as the Padres even the four-game series with Seattle
Padres starting pitcher Edinson Volquez can be frustrating to watch, like in the second inning on Tuesday when he gave up a hit and then walked the bases full. And Volquez can be a joy to watch, like after giving up only the one run in the second inning on Tuesday and then cruising into the eighth inning as the Padres beat the Mariners 6-1.
It is well documented how emotional Edinson can get on the mound when things aren’t going his way, but what isn’t well documented is how happy-go-lucky he is in the club house. Often, you wouldn’t know whether he had a good outing or a bad one after the game, but he has to be happy with his effort on Tuesday.
Edinson had plenty of offensive help in back of him. Jedd Gyorko had a two-run blast in the fourth inning and Alexi Amarista hit a solo shot in the fifth. For good measure, the Padres scored three more times in the sixth to put the game out of reach from the Mariners.
For Gyorko, it was his sixth home run of the season, while Amarista hit his fourth. Carlos Quentin continues to improve, going 2 for 4 on Tuesday, and Yasmani Grandal picked up a hit in his first game back after serving a 50 game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
The split in the Seattle portion of the 17th annual Vedder Cup bodes well for the Padres coming home for the next two games, but one thing to pay attention to is how much playing time Grandal gets behind the plate. With John Baker sitting down in AAA and making less than $1 million per season, it probably doesn’t make much sense for the Padres to use Nick Hundley as a back-up catcher.
Hundley is making $3 million this year and is due to make $4 million next season. Nick doesn’t seem to be the type to buy into a back-up role, and back-up catchers don’t usually make his salary.
Since Hundley’s contract isn’t entirely back-loaded, it’s entirely tradable to a team in need of a good catcher. While Nick’s bat has been streaky, his defense has been stellar, and his services would be welcome for a team competing for a playoff spot. Inquiries concerning Hundley should increase the closer the season gets to the trade deadlines.
Meanwhile, there’s a Cup to be won. The Vedder Cup. There can be no distractions.
With Grandal's return, and Baker dropped into AAA Tucson to make room on the 25-man roster, the move on the 40-man roster was to designate Edinson Rincon for assignment. Rincon is young and can hit some in the minors, but his fielding is questionable. Other organizations have an opportunity to claim Rincon, but if one doesn't, then he'll remain with AA San Antonio.
Back in San Diego, the Padres and Mariners will keep at it on Wednesday. A pair of left-handers will go at it with Eric Stults (4-4, 4.22) taking the hill for the Padres while the Mariners offer up Joe Saunders (3-5, 6.09). First pitch is at 7:10 PM PDST, on radio 1090 AM and televised by Fox Sports San Diego. A win will ensure a split in the series which will also ensure that the Vedder Cup stays in San Diego.