SAN DIEGO -- It was certainly an interesting season for Mike Cather as the first-year Minor League roving pitching coordinator for the Padres.
Cather, who is with the big league team this week, spent the previous two seasons as an advance scout for the Red Sox. He was more than pleased to be back in uniform this season -- even if it meant wearing a different one nearly every week.
"From an educational standpoint, this was a phenomenal experience," Cather said recently. "We had a lot of transactions, we had a lot of guys moving around and I know we had a lot of conversations. This was a challenge but it was a great experience. It was very rewarding."
Cather said he spent the majority of the season bouncing between the lower levels of the Padres' farm system -- short-season Eugene, the team in the Arizona League, as well as the two Class A affiliates in Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore.
"I would spend five days there to see all of the starters and six days if they had a six-man rotation. That would also allow me to see all of the relievers as well," Cather said.
Cather's trips, at least early on when he was still learning the pitchers in the system, had him making a lot of observations, ones he would share with the pitching coaches at each stop and not directly with the pitcher.
"The first half of the season was difficult for me. I feel like I like the bond I can make with a player ... you figure out what makes him tick," Cather said. "I wanted the pitching coaches to have that. The second or third time around, I had a feel for them, I felt like I could finally bridge that bond. I like being able to help and impact on an individual basis."
Cather saw each and every one of the top pitching prospects in the Padres' Minor League system and saw the development from Spring Training to where many of these pitchers were by the end of August.
"When I saw these guys in Spring Training, I was impressed by the overall stuff that the organization has. We've got a lot of big arms," Cather said. "Guys like Burch Smith. He really did a lot to develop from an execution standpoint. Matt Andriese did a great job. Matt Wisler stood out immensely.
"It's less numbers [statistics] for me but more of are we getting guys in the right direction? I guess the easiest way to say what my job entails is trying to put guys on the right track. From there, it's up to the pitching coaches to help them develop into the guys we project."
Forsythe feels his swing developing power
SAN DIEGO -- Just because Logan Forsythe is a middle infielder without the greatest pedigree as a power hitter doesn't mean he can't hit home runs.
On Saturday, Forsythe connected for his fourth home run of the season (in 237 at-bats), a career high after he didn't hit any in 150 at-bats with the team last season.
Forsythe, who hit a grand total of 19 home runs in three seasons playing for the University of Arkansas, thinks there's more power in his swing than ever before.
"With the way my swing is developing, I think the power is coming," said Forsythe, who hit a combined 11 home runs in 480 at-bats in two Minor League stops in 2009, his biggest single-season total as a professional.
Forsythe, who has mostly seen time at second base this season, said that he's benefited from seeing pitchers for a second and even third time this season. Also, Forsythe said he's done a better job of "picking his spots to do damage."
"Early in the game, you're up there trying to get your knocks," he said. "But the more you see a guy ... the more you know what he has. It's not going up there wondering what they're trying to do. So it [power] starts coming out more and more in swings."
Forsythe worked in January in his home state of Tennessee with hitting coach Phil Plantier, who also worked with Chase Headley on the same trip.
"It's a result of the work we've put in," Forsythe said of his power surge, be it as it may. "For me, it all starts with having a good path to the baseball."
Street to test calf with simulated game Monday
SAN DIEGO -- All-Star closer Huston Street is nearly game-ready, well, at least ready to pitch a simulated game on Monday at Petco Park, which could prove to be one of the final hurdles for him to clear before he's reinstated from the disabled list.
Street, on the disabled list since Aug. 11 with a strained left calf, still hasn't tried running on the calf, though he's done everything at this point to keep his arm in shape. On Monday, he will face his teammates hours before the Padres take on the Cardinals.
"He feels as though he's getting closer," said Padres manager Bud Black.
Black estimated that Street could return in a "week to 10 days" though they'll have a better idea Tuesday or Wednesday when they re-evaluate Street after his simulated game.
Street was set to pitch in a Minor League rehabilitation game on Aug. 31 but incurred the calf strain in the days leading up to that appearance.
Left fielder Carlos Quentin, who didn't start in three of the Padres' previous four games, was back in the starting lineup on Sunday against the D-backs. Quentin was sidelined with irritation of his right knee -- the same knee he had surgery on in March, which kept him from the starting lineup until May 28.