Notes: Pham near OF debut; Davies dominates

March 7th, 2020

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In their 4-3 Cactus League win over the Rangers on Friday night, the Padres got a good look at what can do at the plate. Sounds like it won't be very long before they get to see him in the outfield, too.

Pham -- who saw 22 pitches in three plate appearances, going 1-for-2 with a walk -- has ramped up his throwing program to reach 150 feet. Barring a setback, Pham could make his defensive debut at some point in the next week, possibly Wednesday, manager Jayce Tingler said.

Pham is returning from a UCL sprain that limited him to designated-hitter duties late last season in Tampa Bay. Each of his first five Cactus League games have come in that same capacity, and he's yet to take part in cutoff and relay drills during practice.

Pham, acquired in the November deal that sent Hunter Renfroe and Xavier Edwards to the Rays, is the presumed starter for the Padres in left field -- and potentially their No. 2 hitter. He's batted second in four of his five starts this spring, and he led off in the other.

It is easy to see why the Padres want Pham near the top of their lineup. He worked three full counts, walking in the first inning before doubling down the line to lead off the fourth. Pham's career .373 on-base percentage is higher than any Padre has posted in a single qualifying season since Chase Headley in 2012.

“He can hit the ball to all directions of the field, and I think his plate discipline, when he’s locked in, is pretty elite,” said Tingler. “So there’s not many places you can go in the strike zone that you can feel comfortable with when he’s dialed in.”

Davies blanks Rangers
The Padres paired , a right-hander with excellent command, with Austin Hedges, a catcher known best for his pitch framing. The result? Five strikeouts for Davies, four of them looking.

Davies will never be mistaken for a strikeout artist. But he was especially sharp on the corners Friday night, as he worked four scoreless innings allowing just two fourth-inning singles. Davies became the first Padres pitcher to work into the fourth inning this spring.

Davies, whose spring ERA dipped to 1.13, is practically a lock for the starting rotation. When he suits up for the Padres in the regular season, don't expect quite so many K's. In five seasons with the Brewers, he averaged only 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings, getting by mostly with a sinker/cutter/changeup combo that induced weak contact.

"I try to get the early contact," Davies said. "My goal, if I’m down 2-0 to a guy or in a hitter’s count, is to make him put it in play, but at the same time, make a quality pitch and make him put it in play with soft contact."

Myers stays red-hot
continued his torrid spring, going 1-for-3 with a go-ahead stand-up triple in the sixth inning Friday night. He's hitting .409 in the Cactus League with six of his nine hits going for extra bases -- including three home runs.

Myers, the Padres' projected starter in right field, has downplayed his success this spring. He's quick to point out that he needs to prove it during the regular season.

"I've definitely hit homers in Spring Training before," he said earlier this week. "I've definitely been hot before, been swinging the bat well. It's just more of finding that consistency and keeping that going."

Tatis could return Monday
Star shortstop , who missed a week with the flu, took part in light drills during Friday's workout. The Padres are hopeful Tatis will return to a full workout on Sunday, which lines him up to return to game action on Monday, Tingler said.

"You never want to see somebody get sick," Tingler said. "But if you're going to get sick, three weeks left to go in camp would be maybe more ideal than with four or five days left to go."

• After coughing up a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, the Padres rallied for a walk-off victory in the bottom of the frame. Juan Lagares blooped a game-tying two-out single before Esteban Quiroz smashed a game-winner into the left-field corner.

• Padres hitting coach Damion Easley presented the lineup card Friday night. He was greeted at home plate by his son, Jayce Easley, an infield prospect in the Rangers' system -- a surprise coordinated by Tingler and Rangers skipper Chris Woodward.

• Friday night marked Tingler's first game managing against the organization he was with for 14 seasons. Said Tingler: "A lot of good people over there and a lot of guys I've learned a lot from, and they've taken really good care of me. So it was really cool just to catch up before the game.”

Up next
Joey Lucchesi is slated to start Saturday when the Padres travel to Salt River Fields to face the division-rival D-backs for the first time this spring. The left-hander is currently the leading candidate for the No. 5 starter spot. Lucchesi will be followed by lefty Matt Strahm, who has worked 3 1/3 dominant innings of relief this spring, allowing only a hit and a walk. The 12:10 p.m. PT matchup will be available live on Gameday Audio.