08/15/12 7:45 PM ET
Against lefties, Alonso has the right stuff
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
Alonso, a left-handed hitter, has shown that he's more than just proficient against southpaws. Going into Wednesday's game against the Braves -- and against left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm -- Alonso is hitting .274 in 110 at-bats with a .352 on-base percentage against lefties.
The Padres have used Jesus Guzman on occasion at first base against a tough left-handed pitcher. But more often than not, it's Alonso.
"It's crazy, but my whole life I've hit lefties well," Alonso said. "So I think for me, it's not that much of a shock. Even in college, I hit lefties well. I think you have to be patient and aggressive with lefties. You know that you're going to have to hit their pitch."
Overall, Alonso is hitting .276 with 31 doubles, six home runs and 42 RBIs this season, which is his first full Major League season. His average is as high as it's been since June 2, when he was hitting .280. And in the month of August, he's hitting .349 in 43 at-bats.
On Monday against Braves' left-hander Mike Minor, Alonso was able to hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield to allow Chris Denorfia to advance to third base. Cameron Maybin then hit a sacrifice fly to give the Padres an early lead.
Later in the game, and with Minor still on the mound, Alonso was able to shorten his swing and single up the middle through a drawn-in infield to score Denorfia from third base.
"I feel comfortable with him in there," said Padres manager Bud Black.
Black didn't just laud Alonso for his success against lefties, but for what he sees as a young hitter who is faring better in terms of situational hitting with runners in scoring position.
"It's become a focus with him," Black said. "He's learning how to drive in runs [different ways]. I think his situational hitting has been much better."
Alonso has knocked in 24 runs in his last 136 at-bats dating back to July 1. Prior to that, he had 18 RBIs in his first 266 at-bats in April, May and June combined.
Layne has quite a memory of Major League debut
ATLANTA -- Not long after watching rookie Tom Layne breeze through the eighth inning on Tuesday -- striking out the side no less -- Padres' catcher John Baker pondered the grandeur of Layne's Major League debut.
"Apparently, it's really easy to pitch in the big leagues," Baker said with a smirk.
It certainly looked that way, as the 27-year-old Layne -- promoted earlier in the day from Double-A San Antonio -- struck out Brian McCann and Dan Uggla looking before getting pinch-hitter Tyler Pastornicky swinging to end the inning.
Sixteen pitches, 11 for strikes, and three strikeouts made for one impressive debut for the left-handed Layne, who one night earlier was trying to get outs in a game against the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League.
"It was an epic debut by him," Baker said. "There's not much more than you can say."
Layne entered the game in the eighth inning of a game the Braves would win, 6-0. He admitted to some nerves as he walked down the steps that led from the bullpen to the field. By the time he arrived as the mound, those nerves had subsided -- somewhat.
"I had a lot of fun. It was cool," Layne said. "I never thought it was going to happen. And to be honest, I don't know if I've ever struck out the side."
He impressed his manager, Bud Black, who just met Layne for the first time earlier in the day when he arrived in Atlanta.
"I didn't know what to expect," Black said. "A guy out of nowhere comes in and strikes out the side. That's a great feather in his cap.
"Anytime you take the mound in your first Major League game, you never know how it's going to play out. To come in and strike out the side, that's pretty good stuff. Good for him."
It was just another significant first for a Padres rookie this season. On June 30, catcher Yasmani Grandal hit two home runs in his first Major League start. Then there was catcher Eddy Rodriguez's home run in Cincinnati on Aug. 2 in his first Major League at-bat.
"Let's just bring guys up just so something good happens," Black joked.
Street out indefinitely with calf strain
ATLANTA -- All-Star closer Huston Street, who suffered a strained left calf on Friday in Pittsburgh, will definitely need more than 15 days on the disabled list before he's able to return.
San Diego manager Bud Black said Wednesday that Street -- who is back in San Diego -- is still walking with a limp.
"This is going to be past the 15 days," Black said.
Street was injured when he ran from the mound toward first base on the final play of the Padres victory over the Pirates, which ended on a ground ball to first baseman Yonder Alonso.
Street was diagnosed with a strained left calf after the game and then officially landed on the disabled list the following day.
He then returned to San Diego on his own as the team finished its series in Pittsburgh before starting a series in Atlanta against the Braves on Monday.
Dale Thayer, who replaced Street earlier this season, earned his sixth save in Monday's 4-1 victory over the Braves. Thayer converted all five of his save opportunities when Street was previously on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle.
There's no timetable as to when Street will return, though it won't likely come before September.