Hairston ends stolen-base drought
Pitcher Maddux had been last Padres player to swipe bag
NEW YORK -- A variety of factors have plotted to keep the Padres in their place. Maybe they haven't gotten the right guys on base for opportune thievery, or perhaps pitchers' deliveries have been too quick, but San Diego ranks last in the Majors in stolen bases for a reason.
A 19-game drought without a steal was snapped by Scott Hairston in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, taking 42-year-old pitcher Greg Maddux off the docket as the last Padres player to swipe a bag.
"That was to get Maddux off as our last stolen base," manager Bud Black joked about sending Hairston. "To get that off our record ... before the year's over."
But that doesn't mean Black is concerned about his club's lack of running, which has the Padres with a Major League-low 26 stolen bases heading into Thursday's game, four behind the 29th-place Pirates. Tadahito Iguchi leads San Diego with eight steals.
Jody Gerut has some functional speed, but certainly not as much as he had in Cleveland before tearing up both knees. Hairston, Black said, would beat Gerut in a footrace, which makes him San Diego's next-best base-stealing option. But Hairston, who led off Thursday's game, only has three steals on the season.
There isn't a true speedster on the Padres' roster, though. Iguchi, Black said, has some instincts and an ability to read pitchers that gets him an edge on the basepaths. Otherwise, Black isn't going to push the envelope with players who can't make it safely from one bag to the next.
"We don't really have a guy you would deem a true basestealer, in the true sense of the word, like a Juan Pierre, a [Jose] Reyes, a guy who leads the league," Black said. "We are not just going to run just to run. If that player comes to our team, you will see more stolen bases."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.