SAN DIEGO -- Three of the Padres top 2012 Draft picks made an appearance at Petco Park on Monday, as Zach Eflin, Max Fried and Walker Weickel, all pitchers, got a glance at what they hope is their future ballpark.
That's the hope shared by Padres assistant general manager of player personnel Chad MacDonald, who wouldn't mind seeing these three in a San Diego uniform before too long, especially after each got his first taste of professional baseball this summer.
"The sooner you start your journey to the big leagues, the sooner you can get there," MacDonald said. "Each one of the guys made it a positive."
Fried, a left-hander, was the seventh overall pick in the Draft. Eflin (33rd overall) and Weickel (55th), who are both right-handed, signed contracts early enough after their high school seasons to get a jump on their professional careers.
"Any time that you can get professional experience, get into a routine, get a head start, ahead of a lot of other guys, it's good. It was important to get that under our belt," Fried said.
All three players pitched for the Padres' entry in the Arizona League. Fried was 0-1 with a 3.57 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. Eflin threw seven innings and was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA. Weickel was also 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings.
"I thought it was a positive experience," said Eflin, who was sent home early after a bout of mononucleosis. "Any time you can wake up and play baseball, it's a good day."
MacDonald said all three players will participate in the team's instructional league next month at the Spring Training facility in Arizona. MacDonald even sounded hopeful that all three could break camp next spring and head to the team's Class A affiliate, Fort Wayne, in the Midwest League.
That would suit Eflin, Fried and Weickel just fine. The three formed a fast friendship this summer in Arizona and wouldn't mind climbing the ranks together on their march to the big leagues.
"I think that if myself, Zach and Max and stay together, we can be a powerful component to the Padres' pitching staff," Weickel said.
Brach again going zero-to-60 in one season
SAN DIEGO -- Don't tell Padres rookie reliever Brad Brach that his right arm should be tired right now, not even after he's appeared in 58 games thus far.
Brach, who has more appearances that any other National League rookie relief pitcher, topped the 60-game mark in each of the last three seasons in the Minor Leagues.
Brach, who is 2-4 with a 4.11 ERA, has a 3.18 ERA in his last six appearances and is unscored upon in his last four appearances heading into Monday's game against the Cardinals.
Better still, Brach has allowed 10 percent of his inherited runners to score, stranding 36 of 40, which is tied for second best among all qualifying Major League relievers.
"The last three years, I've had 65 or so games pitched, so I'm used to it," Brach said. "I've had some ups and downs during the year, but right now I feel as good as I've felt."
Brach said he was troubled with some soreness in his arm in May, the result of a heavy workload in the early part of the season as he appeared in 18 games by the end of May. But he feels fine now.
"We have been very happy with his resiliency," said Padres manager Bud Black. "To go out and hold his stuff every night is part of being a good reliever. It's been a great learning year for Brad. He's throwing his best baseball in the last month."
Leitner to honor Coleman, pull double duty
SAN DIEGO -- Longtime Padres broadcaster Ted Leitner was asked Monday how he plans to emcee Saturday's event at Petco Park to honor broadcaster Jerry Coleman and handle his radio duties as the play-by-play man for San Diego State Aztecs football that day.
Leitner thought about the question and then smiled.
"It's a very good question," he said. "You mean, driving above the speed limit?"
Leitner, who is in his 33rd season of calling Padres game on radio, will emcee "Jerry Coleman Day," which starts around 5 p.m., PT ahead of the game at 5:35.
He'll then get in his car to cover the eight or so miles to Qualcomm Stadium as fast as possible, so he can get to the Aztecs game against North Dakota, which has a 5 p.m. kickoff.
"The Aztecs asked what we do. I told them I'll be there late first quarter. I've never done that. I've done the other way many times, including flying, where I did a Chargers game in '98, and had a jet waiting to take me to Game 6 of playoffs that year against Atlanta."
The Padres game against the Rockies was originally scheduled for earlier in the afternoon before it was moved to 5:35. This will certainly make for a tough travel night, but Leitner said it's worth it for him to honor his good friend and longtime broadcast partner.
Even if the Aztecs said they weren't comfortable with him missing part of their game, the Padres would have been his first and only choice on this night.
"There was a never a doubt," he said.