February 20th, 2012
With all pitchers and catchers now accounted for, the team hit the field today for the first official workout of the Spring. Manager Bud Black addressed the club’s battery candidates at 9:00 this morning and then it was off to Field 1 for running, stretching, PFP (pitchers fielding practice) and then bullpen sessions.
The Padres have 29 pitchers in camp this year, split into squads A and B. The 14 pitchers in squad B were the first to take the mound this Spring (naturally?) with squad A throwing in the bullpens tomorrow. Today’s hurlers included Gregerson, Frieri, Street, Brach, Hamren, Vincent, Cashner, Mikolas, Thayer, Boxberger, Burns, Thatcher, Spence and Hinshaw.
While we’re on the subject, let’s glance back at the often overlooked accomplishments of last year’s staff. Led by coaches Darren Balsley and Darrel Akerfelds, the 2011 Padres ranked 3rd in the Majors with a 3.42 ERA. Starters posted a 3.62 mark that ranked 4th among all NL clubs while relievers were 3rd in the league with a 3.03 ERA.
2011 marked the second consecutive year the Padres posted a sub-3.50 team ERA and the fourth time in the last six years that the club has had a sub-4.00 team ERA.
In the eight full seasons that Balsley and Akerfelds have been working together as pitching coach and bullpen coach (dating back to 2004), the club has posted a 3.91 ERA that ranks tops in the Majors over that span. During that stretch, the Padres have finished among the top three NL clubs in team ERA on four occasions (’06, ’07, ’10, ’11), including two first place finishes (’06, ’07).