2/23/2013 6:30 P.M. ET
Asencio building on last year's strong finish
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It didn't surprise the Padres much that Minor League outfield prospect Yeison Asencio started a three-run, ninth-inning outburst on Friday with a single up the middle.
It sure looked like Asencio, 23, picked up right where he left off following a wildly successful 2012, when he won the Midwest League batting crown with a .323/.353/.474 line, including eight home runs and 61 RBIs in 92 games.
Asencio became the first Padres Minor League player to win a batting title since Chase Headley did so for Double-A San Antonio in 2007.
In November 2011, it was revealed that Asencio had been using a false identity -- Yoan Alcantara -- and an age that was 2 1/2 years younger than his real age. Asencio turned 23 on Nov. 14.
Asencio's season didn't begin until May, when he obtained his visa in the Dominican Republic, though he picked up where he left off in 2011, when he hit .348 in the Arizona League.
There's a chance that Asencio could leapfrog Class A Lake Elsinore for Double-A San Antonio, although that won't be determined until later in camp.
"He's going to play," Padres manager Bud Black said of Asencio. "The makeup of our outfield situation … you're going to see [Kyle] Blanks and [James] Darnell at first base some, might open up some innings for this guy."
Ross welcomes longer Spring Training
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Don't tell Tyson Ross that Spring Training is too long.
Six weeks in Arizona and a franchise-record 38 exhibition games? The Padres pitcher doesn't mind at all.
"The beauty of a longer Spring Training is I get more work with the coaches, more side work," Ross said on Saturday.
And, of course, more innings in Cactus League games.
Ross made his first start Saturday against the Mariners, allowing two runs in two innings. He allowed a walk to leadoff hitter Franklin Gutierrez after falling behind 3-0. Two batters later, Jason Bay jumped on a 1-0 fastball, sending it over the fence in left field.
"I thought he threw the ball fine, I thought his arm strength and velocity looked good and he threw a couple of good changeups, which he needs to do," said Padres manager Bud Black.
All told, Ross allowed three hits, one walk and had two strikeouts.
"It was nice to be back out there," Ross said. "I'm just trying to knock the rust off."
Ross, obtained in November from the A's, is one of several candidates in camp trying to win a job in the starting rotation. He's spent the last 10 days working with pitching coach Darren Balsley and feels like he's already starting to see some results.
"Like Balsley said, it's just a matter of not trying to overpower people, it's about dissecting hitters," Ross said.
Vincent's poor Spring Training luck continues
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pity poor Nick Vincent, the Padres reliever who has had some of the worst luck when it comes to Spring Training.
Vincent arrived in Peoria more than 10 days ago when pitchers and catchers reported to camp, but he's been slowed by the flu, which first manifested itself as a fever and a 101-degree temperature, and now has all but taken his voice from him.
"I've been sick since I got here," Vincent said.
But Vincent, who had a 1.71 ERA in 27 games last season for the Padres, can find solace in knowing that he will eventually get better and that ranks far better than what happened to him last year.
Last March, while the team was in Goodyear to face the Reds, Vincent stepped on a baseball that was on the ground in the Padres' bullpen.
"When it happened, I knew it wasn't good," he said.
It wasn't, as Vincent rolled his left ankle so badly that he had to be fitted for a walking boot the next day and had to use crutches just to get around. He eventually had an X-ray on the ankle, which was negative, but the injury knocked him out for the rest of Spring Training.
Vincent, who is from Ramona, Calif., located north of San Diego, eventually reported to Triple-A Tucson in May and then was recalled by the Padres on May 18. He shuttled back and forth to Tucson four more times before sticking for good on Aug. 18.
"It was pretty unreal, being able to play for your hometown team," Vincent said. "… At first, it was a little surreal."
• Center fielder Cameron Maybin, slowed the last week due to a sore right wrist, will likely get into his first Cactus League game on Sunday. Maybin, who has had issues with his right wrist each of the past two seasons, has participated in some drills. Maybin has had a cortisone shot and said Saturday that his wrist was feeling considerably better.
• The Padres scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Saturday's 8-6 loss to Seattle, as reserve infielder Jeudy Valdez hit a two-run home run. Valdez also doubled earlier in the game.
"We had some good swings in the ninth," manager Bud Black said.
Valdez, 23, was designated for assignment earlier this month when the team claimed pitcher Fautino De Los Santos off waivers from the Brewers. But no team put in a claim for Valdez.