Outfielder Venable gets shot in Majors
Injuries to Hairston, Gerut open door for center fielder
SAN DIEGO -- With Scott Hairston out for the season with a torn ligament in his left thumb, the Padres called up Will Venable from Triple-A Portland on Friday.
Venable, an outfielder who the Padres have kept their eye on for a while now, steps into an outfield that has plenty of playing time to go around. Along with Hairston, Jody Gerut is day-to-day with a sprained middle finger.
"I'm taking it as an opportunity that I got to take advantage of," Venable said. "Whether it means I have 20 at-bats or more than that, whatever it might be in between there, I'm excited for the opportunity and it's my job to be ready everyday, and go out there and do what I'm supposed to do."
He won't have to wait for long as Venable was in the starting lineup against the Rockies on Friday.
"I don't know how that works, but I'm ready to go," Venable said. "I'm happy. And I think it's almost good for me before I realize what's going on to get out there. I don't have to sit around and think about when I'm going to play all day. I know I'm in there, so I can go about my normal preparation and try to take care of business."
The Padres have dealt with a litany of injuries this season that have led to players within their Minor League system getting chances to come to the big leagues for an opportunity to show their stuff. Venable is no different. But even with all of the calls to Triple-A this season, it can still catch a player off guard when they are the one moving up.
"It felt great, but kind of in shock." Venable said. "I still don't think it's set in. I'm excited to be here and I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm still not really grasping it but I'm definitely excited."
Venable, 25, is hitting .292 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 120 games with Triple-A Portland this season. He also carries a .981 fielding percentage in 100 games in center field.
"I know the kind of player I am," said Venable, who also scored 70 runs and stole seven bases while with Portland. "I like to go out there and be aggressive on the basepaths. I like to think that I can swing it and I'll try to make adjustments up here like I did in Triple-A. Run the ball down and be a solid defender. I'm definitely not a super speed guy like a lot of center fielders, but I like to think that I'm efficient and I get the job done. So that's what I'm going to try to do."
Venable didn't know what to expect of his first start.
"I have no idea man," Venable said. "I mean, I have no idea. Just walking out there for the first time. I've been here before but never been on the field. Just walking out there for the first time, it was just like, 'this is it man, this is what you've been working all this time for.' And like I said, it hasn't really hit me. Hopefully, the nerves won't be a problem tonight."
Ronald P. Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.