Matt Potter 5 p.m., June 28
With due respect for what outfielder Will Venable did to a Yu Darvish fastball Wednesday afternoon - crushing it off of the tall wall in deep center field - outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks figured out how to one-up Venable. The 25-year old Blanks stands at 6' 6" and weighs 270 pounds, all of that frame solid, and Blanks launched an offering from Giants pitcher Andrew Kown into that same 40-foot high wall. And Blanks figured out how to get more than a double out of it.
The ball off of Blanks' bat found a small opening into a camera well located about half-way up the wall, which is ruled as a home run at the stadium in Peoria.
Kyle Blanks will be battling Venable and a healing Chris Denorfia for some playing time this spring with hopes of making the big club when they break camp in April. With Blanks, it has never been about whether he has power, that much is obvious. It's about flashing that power consistently. Drafted as a first baseman, Blanks was converted to the outfield after arriving in San Diego in 2009, blocked by Padres star Adrian Gonzales. Since then, Blanks has been up and down, but often showing the promising power coveted from a corner outfielder.
Two batters after Blanks hit his solo home run, third baseman/outfielder James Darnell also hit one off of Kown, which tied the score at 2 in the 4th inning, but the Giants went on the win the game, 5-2.
Edinson Volquez made his Padres debut, pitching 2 innings and giving up a run on 2 hits. Both Padres manager Bud Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley have expressed approval at the performance of Volquez so far in camp. Pitchers Anthony Bass and Michael Owings also pitched 2 innings each. Bass gave up an unearned run and 2 hits while Owings only gave up a hit. Both pitchers struck out 2 Giants hitters each.
Ernesto Frieri, who was plagued at times with control issues last year, gave up 2 runs on a hit and 2 walks. Frieri threw 27 pitches in the inning for only 10 strikes. Brad Boxberger closed out the game with an impressive effort, pitching the last inning with great command, striking out two.
Friday, the Padres will travel across town to Tempe and play the Los Angeles Angels at noon, PST. Clayton Richard is expected to see his first preseason game of 2012. Richard underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last July. Clayton and the Padres coaching staff have been pleased with his progress and no problems have been reported.
The Padres reportedly finalized the contracts of all arbitration pre-eligible players on the 40-man roster Thursday. We'll post the final numbers when available, but total payroll for the 2012 season is expected to be close to $58 million. The payroll for opening day in 2011 was $43 million; for 2010 it was $39 million.
The buzz about Andrew Cashner throwing a bunch of consecutive 102 mph fastballs in his last outing persist, so here's the word from the Padres. Their "official" gun clocked his best at 101 mph. That shouldn't be something expected to be a frequent occurrence in spring training games. They know Cashner's velocity is outstanding, and even Tommy John surgery hasn't slowed him at all. Of course, my pal Walter Mencken believes he's uncovered the real reason behind this.