07/03/12 9:35 PM ET
Thatcher enjoys converting first big league save
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
Five-year veteran Joe Thatcher got the call with two outs and two runners on base to secure the first save of his career. The left-handed specialist cashed in on the opportunity and took down one of the D-backs' best hitters, Jason Kubel, on strikes to end the game.
"I knew it was a save situation, but I knew at the same time was all I had to do was make pitches and continue what I had been doing," Thatcher said. "I did and it was exciting. It was fun."
Street and Gregerson each had pitched Saturday and Sunday and the Padres were trying to stay away from them Monday.
"We knew those two were down," Thatcher said. "It's nice to know when you have your two best guys down, the coaches still have confidence in the bullpen. It wasn't going to change the game and how they make moves."
Richard almost gave the entire bullpen a day off, coming within one out of a complete game, so when Thatcher got the ball, he wanted to make sure he preserved Richard's dominant performance.
"He deserved a complete game, he pitched fantastic," Thatcher said. "He couldn't quite get that last out so if he didn't get that complete game, I had to save that win for him."
Thatcher had faced Kubel only once before Monday, a strikeout on June 2 in San Diego. The lefty knew it would be a challenge, however, as Kubel led the National League in June with 27 RBIs.
"I hadn't faced him as much as I had faced [Miguel] Montero or [Gerardo] Parra over the years but he's a good hitter," Thatcher said. "It felt good to get the job done."
Before Monday, Thatcher had made 212 career appearances without earning a save. The 30-year-old recorded 31 saves in the Minor Leagues but not more than three in a single season since 2006 because coaches didn't see him as a closer.
"Most closers are hard-throwing righties with strikeout stuff," Thatcher said. "So that was my first real save situation. We've had such good bullpens over the years. We've always had our roles so I've never been called on."
Thatcher held on to the ball and will put it with two other balls he's saved from important firsts in his career.
"It'll go up there with the first strikeout and first win balls," he said. "Right on my wall."
Both sides benefiting from Amarista-Frieri deal
PHOENIX -- When the Padres sent reliever Ernesto Frieri to Anaheim in early May for two Minor Leaguers, the Angels appeared to be the only team who would be receiving a bona fide Major League impact player immediately.
But nearly two months later, both clubs seem to be benefiting from the move.
After batting .143 in May when he first joined the team, Padres second baseman Alexi Amarista hit .341 in June and is off to a hot start in July with five hits in his first nine at-bats, including a homer and three RBIs Monday against the D-backs.
"He's been a nice pick-up for us," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think the deal will probably be best served in a couple years."
In Anaheim, Frieri has yet to allow a run in 24 1/3 innings with the Angels. For his efforts the 26-year-old was named one of five candidates for the American League Final Vote contest.
"That's incredible," Black said of Frieri's run. "We're happy for him."
While Amarista and Frieri are tearing up the big leagues, the other player the Padres got in the deal, pitcher Donn Roach, made a glorious Double-A starting debut Monday.
The 22-year-old hurled six no-hit innings for San Antonio in the Missions' 3-2 victory.
"Our people like this kid Roach," Black said.
Padres sign compensation-round pick
PHOENIX -- The Padres announced Tuesday that the club has signed right-hander Walker Weickel, a Compensation Round A selection and the 55th overall pick in this year's Draft, out of Olympia High School in Florida.
The Padres also agreed to terms with fourth-round selection Andrew Lockett, 25th-round selection Corey Kimber and 34th-round selection Kyle Ottoson, all pitchers.
In total, the club has signed each of their first 17 selections, 24 of the first 25 and 39 of 44 total.
Black likes pitching style of D-backs' Bauer
PHOENIX -- The Padres had never faced D-backs top prospect Trevor Bauer in a game that counted until Tuesday, but that's not to say manager Bud Black doesn't remember the highly publicized right-hander from Spring Training.
Bauer hurled two scoreless innings against the Padres in Scottsdale on March 14, striking out three batters and allowing one hit. The young pitcher's performance left Black impressed.
"I liked him, his arm works good and he's athletic," Black said. "I like his leanness and his quick twitch to his body in his delivery. I enjoy that style of pitching, I'm curious to see him live in a Major League game."
Bauer has drawn comparisons to two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum for his unusual delivery and approach.
"Just by looking at him, you can draw some similarities," Black said about Bauer's likeness to Lincecum. "The body type, the turn on the rubber and the arm slot."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.