04/26/2013 9:08 PM ET
Padres challenged by Sandoval's coverage of strike zone
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Whenever the Padres face the Giants, manager Bud Black seems to field a question about San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
Last week, as the Giants swept a three-game series from the Padres at AT&T Park, Sandoval had three hits -- including a home run -- and knocked in three runs.
For his career, Sandoval is a .294/.357/.498 hitter with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs in 279 at-bats facing the Padres.
Black would just as soon not see him bat -- with or without runners on base.
"We face him a lot," Black said. "At times, he can be streaky. We've seen him hotter, we've seen him colder."
Sandoval, a switch-hitter known for having a big strike zone, homered from the left side last week on a fastball on the inside corner. Later in the series, hitting right-handed, he took a changeup away and down in the strike zone -- almost on the ground down -- and rolled it into center field for an RBI.
"In the present day, he's at the top of the class of hitters who can hit balls outside the strike zone hard," Black said.
Wieland upbeat after 100-pitch bullpen session
SAN DIEGO -- One day before the nine-month mark following Tommy John surgery last July, Joe Wieland threw 100 pitches off a mound on Friday in Arizona.
Wieland, a right-hander who made his Major League debut last season, was more than pleased with his bullpen session.
"My spirits, my enthusiasm today … it's the best day I've had," Wieland said of his post-surgery recovery that has included countless hours of rehabilitation. "Strength, health, I feel that I'm close to 100 percent of how I should be feeling."
While working out in Surprise, where the Padres have a temporary facility while the one in Peoria is being removed, Wieland threw the equivalent of three innings, resting in between innings, at about 75-80 percent, he said.
"That was a lot of throws … that's not something you do, even when you're healthy," Wieland said. "I have to control myself a little because within the last two weeks, I've really turned a corner and gotten to the point where I'm not feeling any pain at all."
Wieland said it is still too early to know when he'll appear in a Minor League game on a rehabilitation assignment, though he'll know more at the 10-month mark.
"The catcher is still standing up [during the bullpen session], but I felt good," he said. "I would stop between pitches and think, 'Why am I not in a game right now.' It's really tough. They don't want me going at full speed. I have to hold back."
Wieland had his reconstructive elbow surgery a month after teammate Cory Luebke did, though Luebke had a setback in his recovery and didn't throw for six weeks earlier this spring. He's currently throwing from 150 feet.
With Tommy John surgery, each case and each recovery varies. Both are on track to pitch this season, though it appears Wieland will beat Luebke back to San Diego.
"I would say I'm blessed, I'm fortunate. I was one of those guys who never thought I was going to get hurt, with all the work I did to keep my arm in shape," Wieland said. "I think the hard work I put in, not doing too much [through recovery and rehabilitation], too early, really helped.
"It was sticking to the schedule, the routine. Getting some rest in there. There were some days where I backed off. If you keep pushing it, it might delay you a couple of months."
Ross may have to adjust swing upon return from DL
SAN DIEGO -- Tyson Ross' first Major League hit resulted in major league pain, as the Padres pitcher felt more than a twinge of pain in his left (non-throwing) shoulder on the follow-through of his swing during an April 17 game against the Dodgers.
Ross ended up on the disabled list with an impingement of his shoulder after hitting a single off Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
Ross threw a bullpen session consisting of 30 pitches on Wednesday. Of course, there's nothing wrong with his right arm or shoulder. But he's not to the point where his left shoulder feels good enough to return.
"It was just nice to get on the mound again after missing a week," Ross said Friday. "Right now, I'm just working with the training staff to strengthen [the shoulder]."
Ross will continue to keep his arm in shape until he reaches the point where he can take batting practice and test the left shoulder. He's even talked with hitting coach Phil Plantier about his swing.
"The big test will come when I'm able to swing a bat," Ross said. "I've already talked to [Plantier] about it and about cutting down on my swing. We've got to get to a point where we feel good with it."
Ross, who was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in his first three starts, has been replaced by Friday's starter, Andrew Cashner, in the rotation. Cashner makes his second start at Petco Park against the Giants.
• Danario Alexander, a wide receiver for the Chargers, was at Petco Park before Friday's game. He donned a batting practice jersey with his name on it and took batting practice. He hit two balls into the seats as well. Alexander recently signed his contract tender with the team. In 10 games last fall, he caught 37 passes for 658 yards and seven touchdowns. Alexander, 24, is from Marlin, Texas, and played college football at Missouri. He told Padres manager Bud Black he hit .490 as a senior in high school.