It’s tourney time, and with 48 players still in Big League camp there was bound to be some rooting interest in the Padres clubhouse. Of the players on the Padres 40-man roster and remaining Spring Training invitees, there are eight players who attended a school that made it to the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Cory Luebke (Ohio State), Clayton Richard (Michigan), Huston Street (Texas), John Baker (Cal), Brad Davis and Nick Vincent (Long Beach State), Alex Hinshaw (SDSU) and Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia). In addition, Bud Black will join Alex Hinshaw in pulling for the Aztecs tomorrow morning vs. NC State.
Baker’s Cal Bears were eliminated last night in the tournament’s “First Four” round vs. USF. Each of the other six teams earned spots in the tournament’s round of 64. While none of the players will face each other in the first round, there is the possibility of a West Virginia (Gyorko)/Ohio State (Luebke) matchup in the second round.
Six of the seven teams are slotted on the right side of the bracket, leaving Davis and Vincent (Long Beach State) an uphill battle to face one of their Padres teammates.
Eight games into the Cactus League season, the Padres are starting to heat up, winning three of their last five. 10 pitchers have yet to surrender and earned run this Spring, including Andrew Cashner (3.0 IP), Erik Hamren (3.0 IP), Alex Hinshaw (3.0 IP), Casey Kelly (2.0 IP), Cory Luebke (2.0 IP), Josh Spence (0.2 IP), Jeff Suppan (3.0 IP), Joe Thatcher (1.0 IP), Dale Thayer (3.0 IP) and Nick Vincent (3.0 IP). Leubke joins Dustin Moseley, Clayton Richard, Tim Stauffer and Edinson Volquez in what has become a Spring Training rotation and could project to be the clubs’ starting staff come Opening Day. Those five have combined to post a 3.46 ERA, surrendering five earned runs in 13.0 innings of work while striking out 10.
On offense, the Padres are hitting at a .276 clip with a .332 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage. Leading the way are 10 Friars who are hitting .300 or better with at least five games played: Yonder Alonso, Matt Clark, Jaff Decker, Jonathan Galvez, Jeremy Hermida, Rymer Liriano, Carlos Quentin, Edinson Rincon, Blake Tekotte and Will Venable. Decker is the only Padre with multiple home runs, having gone deep twice while driving in a club-high four runs.
So that’s how camp is shaping up so far. With 28 games between now and Opening Day, there is still plenty of time for things to change. I’ll leave you today with some trick shots, compliments of Padres minor leaguer Connor Powers: