04/07/2013 4:17 PM ET
Padres eager to see Petco Park's new dimensions
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
DENVER -- The Padres return to Petco Park for their home opener on Tuesday against the Dodgers, and players will get their first look at the modified dimensions of the ballpark.
Here's what they -- and a sold-out crowd -- will see:
• The outfield wall that runs from the right-field porch to right-center has been moved in 11 feet. The wall has been lowered to match the height of the sub-eight-foot wall in left and center field.
• In right-center field, the wall has been moved from 402 feet to 391 feet. The wall in left-center has been moved in from 402 feet to 390 feet.
• The visiting bullpen has been moved from the right-field line in foul territory to center field behind the existing home bullpen area.
So how will it all play?
"I don't know. I have no idea what it's going to be like," said Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, a left-handed hitter who could benefit from shorter dimensions in right field. "I think it's going to be good. It's going to be somewhat neutral, which is good.
"I think you're going to see guys get rewarded more when they hit a shot than before. Maybe it will give more leeway to the hitters. Maybe a day where you went 0-for-4 last year becomes a day where you go 2-for-4 this year."
All in all, team officials say it's a move toward neutrality, not to it.
And, of course, these changes won't affect the marine layer that has a habit of cutting down on fly balls, especially early in the season and late in games.
"It's seems like it's more the weather than the actual fences," said Padres reliever Brad Brach. "I don't know if 10 or so feet will make that big a difference, but hopefully we can hit a few more home runs. But I don't think it's going to have as big an affect as people think it will be."
The Padres, who moved into their downtown ballpark in 2004, have ranked last in the Major Leagues in runs scored at home four times since 2004 (2006 to 2009) and 29th on two occasions (2005, 2011). Their best finish, oddly enough, occurred this past season, when they ranked 24th.
Gyorko sees it all in first week in Majors
DENVER -- Jedd Gyorko's first week in the big leagues has provided the Padres rookie infielder with a little bit of everything.
Gyorko has played second base and third base. He had hits in his first three games. He's struck out three times in a game, and got his first error of the season out of the way in New York.
"It's been good. It's pretty much been what I expected. It's baseball. You're going to have your ups and downs," Gyorko said. "It's been a learning experience, and you learn from each game."
Gyorko entering Sunday's finale against the Rockies hitting .263 with three RBIs.
Take Friday's loss to the Rockies, when Gyorko struck out three times against Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis. Undeterred, Gyorko came back Saturday with two hits and two RBIs.
"I was swinging at bad pitches [Friday]. So I came back yesterday and tried to stay with my approach and see the ball out of the pitchers' hand," Gyorko said. "I'm trying to move forward and understand that the previous day is in the past."
That's one of the things Gyorko's manager, Bud Black, likes about his disposition. He's proved, thus far, to be unflappable.
"In a way, it [his first week] is a lot like his personality," Black said. "He's steady, he's dependable and for me, he plays a sturdy game -- he gives good at-bats and played good defense. There's not a lot of highs and lows.
"He's got a good perspective on where he's at in his career."
U of Michigan alum Richard excited for his Wolverines
DENVER -- In hindsight, Padres pitcher Clayton Richard said Sunday, he wishes he would have attended more University of Michigan men's basketball games when he was a student in Ann Arbor, a pitcher on the baseball team and quarterback on the football team.
"Looking back, I had so much going on, but I wish I would have made more time to go," said Richard, who attended Michigan from 2003-05.
Richard, who will start Tuesday's home opener at Petco Park, said he'll be supporting his Wolverines on Monday when they face Louisville in the National Championship game.
The Major League Baseball schedule, as unforgiving as it is with 162 games stretched over six months, has been kind enough to provide the Padres will an off-day on Monday.
"It's exciting. The last couple of years I've been more of a Big Ten fan. It's fun that we'll have an off-day to watch the national championship."
Richard, who makes his home in Lafayette, Ind., said he's a staunch supporter of the Big Ten and not just the Wolverines. He works out in nearby West Lafayette and has become a Purdue fan. He has got a few friends who are part of Purdue's baseball coaching staff.
Come Tuesday though, Richard's attention will be firmly focused on baseball and being better than he was his first time out last week against the Mets, when he allowed seven earned runs and three home runs in 4 1/3 innings.
"Just pitch better," Richard said when asked what he needs to improve upon. "It's simple. I've just got to execute. I've got to be better."