Notes: Hensley tries to keep it simple
Right-hander avoids using too much video, hitting charts
LOS ANGELES -- After he was handed his second loss of the season last week, Padres pitcher Clay Hensley didn't turn to video analysis to look for potential mechanical flaws in his delivery.
In fact, Hensley -- who is 0-2 this season with a 9.00 ERA -- essentially steers clear of watching too much video, leaving that to pitching coach Darren Balsley. But that's not how Hensley always was, though.
"There's so much information out there, you can't allow yourself to get caught up in all that," said Hensley, who gets the start Monday for the Padres against the Chicago Cubs. "I learned that lesson in 2005, so now I just try to keep things simple."
That means using less video analysis and fewer charts and other statistical information, which is a far cry from where he was two seasons ago as a rookie.
"I had charts of where guys hit the ball," he said. "I looked like I was writing an essay."
These days, Hensley keeps things simple.
"I'll watch some video the night before of hitters, but when I try to get too in-depth, like what guys hit in certain situations and certain counts, that's when I get into trouble," he said. "I'll look to see what kind of swings they're taking, but that's about it."
Hensley didn't need video analysis to tell him what's bothered him during his first two starts of the season. All he had to do was look at his right middle finger.
Hensley has been bothered by blister issues on the tip of his right middle finger. And while he doesn't want to pin everything that's troubled him on the blister, he said it's certainly affected him, causing him pain every time he released the ball.
But Hensley thinks his blister days are behind him, as his nail has grown out, meaning that he no longer will have to concern himself with his finger pushing on the short nail, which caused the blister.
"Now that we have the nail out longer, it should relieve that pressure," Hensley said. "What happens is when I throw I put so much pressure on the ball that my finger rolls over the nail and bites and pinches the skin, causing the blister."
Not so foreign: When Padres catcher Pete Laforest arrived in the United States 11 years ago to play at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, he did not speak a lick of English, unless you count a few rudimentary words he picked up along the way.
"We had English in high school, but you only learned words like tree and house," he said. "But if I was thrown in somewhere, I wouldn't have been able to speak it at all."
That's precisely what happened to him, though.
But Laforest proved to be a quick study at Fort Scott, not only picking up things from his new teammates but from an ESL (English as a Second Language) class.
"It was actually pretty easy," Laforest said. "And I didn't really have a choice. When you get thrown in the mix like that, whatever you learn you tend to retain it faster. I think the thing that helped me the most was getting thrown to the wolves like that."
Laforest has been using English primarily since and admitted Sunday that if he were to go back to school he would have to take classes in English and not French.
Laforest got a chance to dust off his French on Friday when he talked with Los Angeles catcher Russell Martin, who is also from Quebec. They both attended the same baseball academy in Canada.
Laforest's parents still live outside Ottawa and his mother only speaks French, giving him another opportunity to dust off and use his French.
In and out of trouble: In a game largely devoid of drama Saturday, Padres relief pitcher Doug Brocail worked himself into a mess in the eighth inning before he wiggled his way free of danger in San Diego's 7-2 victory.
Brocail allowed consecutive singles to Juan Pierre, Rafael Furcal and Martin to start the inning. The Martin single allowed the speedy Pierre to score easily, although that was the only run Brocail would allow.
The veteran right-hander got Olmedo Saenz on a fly ball into short left field, then Jeff Kent on a fly ball to right before getting Luis Gonzalez to fly out to center to end the inning.
"He did a great job of minimizing the damage," manager Bud Black said. "Three consecutive knocks with no outs and then hold them ... good job. And he pitched against the heart of their lineup, which was good."
On deck: The Padres open a two-game series in Chicago at 5:05 p.m. PT on Monday. Hensley gets the start for San Diego. He'll be opposed by Jason Marquis (0-1, 3.27).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.