Around NL West Spring Training, 3/12: Aggressive Padres And Jet-lagged Dodgers

Diamondbacks Steve Gibert reports that the club let free-agent pitcher Kris Benson work out on Friday morning, in a simulated game at their minor-league complex. GM Josh Byrnes said the session had nothing to do with the question-mark over Brandon Webb – though I’m not sure I entirely believe that. Said Byrnes, “Every club is always wanting to ensure pitching depth. It’s an evaluation worth doing. We’ll see how we proceed.”

Dodgers Los Angeles lost the opening game of their three-match set in Taiwan, 5-2. Eric Stults pitched three scoreless frames for the Dodgers, but Hyang-Nam Choi took the loss against the CPBL All-Stars, and the visitors were shut out until the eighth inning. Maybe they were jet-lagged, as they eked out only three hits, while surrendering 12. Local boy Chin-Ling Hu drove in both of LA’s runs with a single.

Giants Pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner is experiencing a drop in velocity: in his outing on Thursday, his fastball was 85 mph in the second inning. Said Bruce Bochy, “I’m not sure if he got tired. He started winging away. He’d worked hard out there. You’ll see these guys get stretched out and get their stamina.” Given he’s slated as the #5 starter, Grant is concerned: “I’m trying to think of a happy ending to the Bumgarner-lost-his-velocity story, but I really can’t.”

Padres The Padres’ coaching staff wants to see the team be aggressive on the base-paths, especially at PETCO. Dave Roberts – who took the odd important base in his time – has been brought in to help, and says it’s “not just stealing bases but taking aggressive leads, forcing errant throws. It’s something we as an organization are trying to impose on guys.” GM Jed Hoyer agrees: “And in our ballpark, we play a lot of one-run games. It could make a difference.”

Rockies The day after locking up Todd Helton for the rest of his career, the Rockies announced they’ll be honoring Dante Bichette on April 26. That will be the 15th anniversary of the first game at Coors Field – Bichette won it for the Rockies with a 14th-inning walkoff homer, off Mike Remlinger. A charter member of the ‘Blake Street Bombers’, Bichette played seven years in Colorado, from 1993-99, hitting 316 with a total of 201 home-runs and four All-Star appearances in purple.

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