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The Blueprint and a little baseball news

Opening Day is quickly approaching, with just 24 days until the Padres and Dodgers kick-off the 2012 season at Petco Park. As that magical day nears, we are busy preparing the first issue of the Blueprint.

Distributed over the first two homestands of the 2012 campaign (April 5-12, April 19-26), the first issue will have a 2012 season preview, along with features on new GM Josh Byrnes, the Padres Youth Baseball Initiative, the club’s catching depth, the recent minor league recognition and more.

As always, the Blueprint is distributed for free at the gates and is available online at padres.com/blueprint. Be sure to grab one everytime you come to the game. Feedback is always welcome as well, so feel free to send your comments to publications@padres.com.

As we wait for Opening Day to arrive, lets see who you want to have featured on the cover of the first issue. While we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to go with the winner of this poll…but we’ll try our best.

Now to a little baseball news…

The Padres today reassigned five players to minor league camp. Catchers Ali Solis and Eddy Rogriguez, infielder Cory Spangenberg and right-handed pitchers Jorge Reyes and Cory Burns were all reassigned this morning. With the moves, the Padres now have 56 players at Major League Spring Training.

Who are you excited to see in 2012?

The Padres have added several established Big Leaguers along with a few youngsters to the roster this offseason. Let us know which of the new pitchers and position players currently projected to make the 25-man roster you are most excited to see in 2012. And while you are in the poll-taking mood, head over to padres.com and vote for which jerseys the Friars should wear for each of the three retro nights scheduled for 2012. Voting ends Sunday night.

The back end

One of the major differences between the 2011 and 2012 Padres will be the way the back-end of the bullpen lines up. This year’s squad welcomes new closer Huston Street along with the likes of flame-throwing Andrew Cashner.

Street comes to the Padres from Colorado, where he served as closer for the last three seasons, finishing third on the Rockies all-time list with 84 saves. Prior to the Rockies, Street pitched in relief for the A’s, who drafted him with the 40th overall pick in the 2004 Draft. He flew through the minors, making his Big League debut in 2005 and winning AL Rookie of the Year honors.

Huston Street tosses live batting practice with pitching Coach Darren Balsley looking on.

Since making his Big League debut in 2005, Street ranks among the top ML relievers in saves (10th), strikeouts (T-14th) and wins (T-7th). He has made at least 60 appearances in five of his seven Major League seasons, reaching 70.0 innings pitched on three occasions.

With 97 of his 417 career appearances coming at Coors Field, there is a feeling that his numbers (strong as they are) may even be inflated due to his home pitching environment. Over his seven-year career, Street has posted a 2.83 ERA (107 ER/340.0 IP) away from Denver, compared to a 4.11 mark (44 ER/96.1 IP) at Coors Field that has nudged his lifetime ERA to 3.11 (151 ER/436.1 IP).

Cashner, 25, was acquired by the the Padres from the Cubs in exchange for Anthony Rizzo. Projected to fill a bullpen void in the eighth inning this season, many think it won’t be long before he is slotted into the starting rotation. The right-hander features a fastball that has been known to touch triple-digits, giving him a high ceiling and providing plenty of excitement for Padres fans.

Andrew Cashner unleashing one of his blistering fastballs in live batting practice this morning.

He made his Big League debut for the Cubs in 2010, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. Cashner made 53 relief appearances that year, posting a 4.80 ERA (29 ER/54.1 IP) that was largely affected by back-to-back outings in which he surrendered six runs. Without those appearances, his ERA on the season would have been 2.89 (17 ER/53.0 IP).

Cashner was placed into the starting rotation for the Cubs in 2011, making one appearance before going down with a right rotator cuff strain. He returned on 9/5 and worked in six relief outings, tossing scoreless ball in five of those appearances.

For more on Cashner and the Padres expectations, check out this story by MLB.com’s Corey Brock.

Three Words

Pitchers – and – catchers.  Three simple words, yet so much meaning for baseball fans.

Sunday was the day for San Diego Padres pitchers and catchers to report to the organization’s Spring Training complex here in Peoria, Ariz.  Although, with several players living in the Phoenix area and a few others having already arrived, today’s reporting date is probably more symbolic than anything else.

The coaching staff and players went through the physicals gauntlet. Here’s Padres third base coach Glenn Hoffman going through his eye exam, have to keep that vision sharp relaying those signs from the dugout!

And a few relievers familiar to Padres fans, including Luke Gregerson, Joe Thatcher and Huston Street, got an early jump on tomorrow’s workout.

Monday morning at 9 a.m. Arizona Time, Padres manager Bud Black and his coaching staff will meet with pitchers and catchers for about 30 minutes before the team hits the practice fields for the first time in 2012.

All three Padres beat writers were in camp Sunday and will be covering San Diego’s beloved baseball team throughout Spring Training.  Be sure to follow the Twitter posts from Corey Brock (@FollowthePadres), Bill Center (@SDUTPadres) and Dan Hayes (@NCTPadres). They’ll be writing, blogging, tweeting and eating (it’s what beat writers do). And of course don’t forget to follow the official club twitter account, @Padres.

Other Tidbits

Congratulations to Dick Enberg, who returned to his roots last week in the Midwest.  He was honored by his alma mater Central Michigan University last night and earlier in the week lectured at Marquette University.

Best wishes to former Padres outfielder Mike Cameron, who announced his retirement.   Cameron played two seasons for San Diego (2006-07), batting .255 with 67 doubles, 15 triples, 43 home runs, 161 RBI and 43 steals in 292 games.

You can see Padres workout highlights and catch inteviews at the Video Corner on Padres.com.   The talented team of Erik Meyer, Jennifer Cota and Tom Catlin will be working hard every day throughout camp to bring you inside information from the Padres.

Some off day reading

 

 

As you know, the Padres completed the sweep of the Rockies yesterday and will enjoy an off day today before wrapping up the season with a six-game homestand. The Dodgers come to town this weekend, followed by a three-game set against the Cubbies to conclude the 2011 campaign.

For this weekend’s series against the Dodgers, the Padres will throw Wade LeBlanc, Aaron Harang and Cory Luebke against Ted Lilly, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw.

To help get you through the day, here is some light reading. Two minor league championships, stellar pitching a mile high and a preview of what’s to come at PETCO Park:

Affiliates make Padres’ mother ship proud – Corey Brock (MLB.com)

On Deck: Padres pitchers set mark at Coors Field – Bill Center (Union-Tribune)

 

The newest Padres

The Padres pulled the trigger on a trade this morning, sending Mike Adams to the Rangers in exchange for two of Texas’ top pitching prospects, LHP Robbie Erlin and RHP Joe Wieland.

Erlin, 20, has gone 8-4 with a 3.34 ERA (45 ER/121.1 IP), a .219 (98-for-448) opponents batting average and 123 strikeouts against 12 walks over 20 games, 19 starts, between Single-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco this season. The southpaw was rated as the Rangers’ fourth-best prospect heading into the 2011 season by Baseball America and was recently rated as the 34th-best prospect in all of baseball in Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects list.  He was selected by Texas in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Scotts Valley High School (CA).  Over parts of three minor league seasons in the Rangers organization (2009-11), Erlin has gone 14-7 with a 2.74 ERA (73 ER/240.0 IP) and 257 strikeouts against 30 walks in 51 games, 36 starts.

Click here for Robbie Erlin’s career minor league stats.

Wieland, 21, has gone 10-3 with a 1.80 ERA (26 ER/129.2 IP), a .233 (113-for-486) opponents batting average and 132 strikeouts against 15 walks over 21 games, 20 starts, between Single-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco this season.  The right-hander recently tossed a 9.0-inning no-hitter on Friday, July 29, against the Padres’ Double-A affiliate at San Antonio.  He was selected by Texas in the fourth-round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Bishop Manogue High School (NV).  Over parts of four minor league seasons in the Rangers organization (2008-11), Wieland has gone 30-17 with a 3.32 ERA (149 ER/404.1 IP) and 379 strikeouts against 72 in 79 games, 70 starts.

Click here for Joe Wieland’s career minor league stats.

ESPN.com Q&A with Joe Wieland following his no-hitter.

 

 

Bell slides into All-Star game

Heath Bell retired the only batter he faced in last night’s All-Star game, getting Jhonny Peralta to pop out to second base in what we at the Padres feel was definitely the most important at-bat of the game.  Head to MLB.com for video and a recap of Bell’s performance, found here.

The newest Padres

The 2011 First-Year Player Draft is well underway. The Padres selected Cory Spangenberg with their first selection (10th overall). When the dust settled on Day 1, the Padres made five selections:

10th – Cory Spangenberg (INF/Indian River State)

25th – Joe Ross (RHP/Bishop O’Dowd School)

48th – Michael Kelly (RHP/West Boca Raton Community HS)

54th – Brett Austin (C/Providence Sr. HS)

58th – Jace Peterson (SS/McNeese State)

As I type, the second day is underway, with the Padres picking in rounds 2-30. Among their picks is high school catcher Austin Hedges, taken in the second round with the 82nd overall pick. Hedges and Kelly each played at PETCO Park as part of the 2010 Aflac All-American Game. Video of each can be found below:

Austin Hedges:

You can’t tell where that ball lands, but I’m pretty sure they needed a new one for the next batter. Here is video of Austin at PETCO Park during the Aflac All-American Game:

Michael Kelly at the Aflac All-American Game:

Blueprints online

You can now check out all Blueprints right on our website. Each issue will be added to the archive following the homestand for which it was made available. We are currently working on getting all 2010 issues up as well.

There are currently four issues up and ready. Check them out!

Here is a peek at the cover for the upcoming June 2-12 homestand, featuring Tim Stauffer. Cameron Maybin will be featured in the June 24-29 issue. If you have any thoughts on what you would like to see in the Blueprint, feel free to email publications@padres.com.



Happy Saturday!

The Padres look to enact revenge and even the series tonight with Clayton Richard taking the hill against Michael Pineda.

Pineda, a rookie who made his Major League debut with the M’s this year, is making his first Interleague start.

Richard, who came up with the White Sox, is making his eighth Interleague start and 22nd overall against the American League. He is 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA all-time in Interleague matchups and 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA all-time against the Mariners (three starts). In two starts against the Mariners last year, Richard went 1-0 while allowing just three runs in 14.0 innings of work.

Here is some light reading for your Saturday afternoon, thanks to the Union-Tribune’s Bill Center:

Padres catchers Rob Johnson and Kyle Phillips each have a special reunion with the M’s in town.

See you at the park tonight. Eric Stonestreet from ABC’s Modern Family is throwing out tonight’s first pitch. He is a strong supporter of Stand Up To Cancer. Happy Saturday!

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