Injury bug bites Padres' prospects
Tate, Decker staying in Arizona for extended Spring Training
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Outfielder Donavan Tate, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, won't break camp next week with his Minor League teammates because of a sprained left shoulder.
Tate suffered the injury diving for the ball, according to Randy Smith, the Padres director of player development. Tate, participating in his first Minor League camp with the team, had been playing well, according to Smith.
Also, outfielder Jaff Decker, considered one of the top prospects in the organization, will not break camp next week because of a hamstring injury. Decker will still report to Lake Elsinore, the Padres' highest Class A affiliate, but not in time for Opening Day.
Tate and Decker will remain in Peoria for extended Spring Training until they're able to start the season with an affiliated team. It hasn't been determined where Tate, who has yet to make his professional debut, will begin the season.
Tate, who has been in Peoria since mid-February to participate in a minicamp for some of the top Minor League players in the organization, signed a club-record $6.25 million signing bonus with the team.
Tate wasn't able to start his professional career last season because he signed in August and because he suffered a pubic-bone stress reaction that sidelined him. Tate took anti-inflammatory medication for 10 days but later needed surgery to repair the injury, which is similar to a sports hernia.
Then in November, Tate suffered a broken jaw in an ATV accident near his home in Georgia.
Decker was a member of what many regarded as the top Minor League baseball team in professional baseball in 2009 -- the Class A Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League, who won 101 games, including the playoffs, for a .678 winning percentage.
He was the 42nd overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Decker, in his first full-season campaign, hit .299 with 16 home runs, 64 RBIs and a .442 on-base percentage. Not bad for a player who turned 20 years old last month and played against foes who were two or three years older than him.
On Saturday, pitcher Mat Latos threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session on the day he was to pitch against the Reds. Latos complained of a sore right elbow earlier this week, the result, he said, of sleeping awkwardly on his elbow.
The team decided to have him skip a start.
He felt fine Saturday and will likely appear in a game in the next few days.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.