PEORIA, Ariz. -- Don't blame the ground-ball-happy Padres pitchers if they rejoiced a bit on Thursday morning when Freddy Galvis strode into camp.Galvis, acquired in a December trade with the Phillies, is arguably the club's best defensive shortstop this decade. And the Padres boast a rotation that recorded the highest
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Don't blame the ground-ball-happy Padres pitchers if they rejoiced a bit on Thursday morning when Freddy Galvis strode into camp.
Galvis, acquired in a December trade with the Phillies, is arguably the club's best defensive shortstop this decade. And the Padres boast a rotation that recorded the highest ground-ball rate in the Majors last season, with Luis Perdomo and Clayton Richard finishing 1-2 in the National League.
Evidently, that feeling's mutual.
"I'm pretty excited, too," said Galvis, who was an NL Gold Glove Award finalist the past two years. "The pitchers here, they pitch for ground balls. That's what I like. I like to be part of the game. If they hit me 27 ground balls, I'm going to be happy."
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Acquiring Galvis cost the Padres Enyel De Los Santos, a hard-throwing 22-year-old righty prospect. Some questioned the trade, given that Galvis is entering the final year of his deal.
But the Padres' front office has high hopes for Galvis, and the organization is likely to use 2018 as an evaluation period for a possible new contract next offseason. Even with top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. on the horizon, Galvis' versatility and athleticism make him an early candidate to return in '19.
"I'm just going step by step," Galvis said of his pending free agency. "My mindset is to know my teammates first and then go from there. But if they give me the opportunity, they're going to be happy."
Galvis already knows one of his new teammates -- quite well in fact. He and Jose Pirela attended the same tryout when they were 16. They've since become very close, and Galvis' wife is Pirela's daughter's godmother. When Galvis first learned of the trade, after finishing a workout in their native Venezuela this offseason, one immediate reaction was, "You're going to play with Pirela."
"He's my compadre," Galvis said.
As for the rest of the team, Galvis met a handful of players over the years. But for the most part, it's a brand new setting for the life-long Phillie.
"It feels like the first day in school," Galvis said.
Bullpen sessions begin
The majority of Padres pitchers arrived at the Peoria Sports Complex before Wednesday's mandatory report date. Most have already spent time throwing from the mounds, some for a couple weeks.
Nonetheless, Thursday marked the first workout for those pitchers, and a dozen or so threw their first official bullpen sessions of the spring. That list included newcomers Tyson Ross, Christopher Young and Bryan Mitchell.
Left-hander Matt Strahm also took the mound and looked sharp. Pitching-wise, he's no longer inhibited by July surgery on a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. But he'll be limited during fielding drills, as the club eases him back slowly from the injury.
The Padres canceled those scheduled fielding drills on Thursday because of a soggy field after a day of rain.
Padres shortstop Allen Cordoba was diagnosed with a concussion on Wednesday, stemming from a car accident in his native Panama last week. Cordoba is out indefinitely, and the Padres expect to take things slowly in his recovery.
As it stands, Cordoba has work to do for a place on the Opening Day roster. After a year in the Majors as a Rule 5 Draft pick, the Padres are leaning toward getting him playing time in the Minors in 2018. Dusty Coleman is the early favorite to fill the backup shortstop role behind Galvis.