8/21/2013 7:28 P.M. ET
Hundley pleased to get best of friend Melancon
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Padres catcher Nick Hundley has a 1.000 career batting average in two at-bats against Pirates closer Mark Melancon.
He's got something arguably more important than that, too: bragging rights.
Hundley and Melancon are close friends dating back to their time at Arizona when they advanced to the College World Series together in 2004. They were in each other's weddings and Hundley accompanied Melancon to New Zealand on the trip that garnered Melancon the nickname "Mark the shark."
"I've always loved him as a guy, I've always loved him as a competitor, I'd want him on my team any day," Hundley said. "It's just fun to face him because it's a challenge. When you face one of the best in the game, who is also one of your good friends -- it's special."
"One of the best in the game" is exactly what Melancon has become this season. He moved into the role of closer when Jason Grilli hit the disabled list with a strained muscle in his right forearm. Melancon has a 0.93 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP.
"This is not an aberration for him," Hundley said. "You don't luck out into a point-nine ERA. Obviously it's tough to duplicate that kind of year, but I know the kind of stuff he has."
Kennedy looks to thrive in pitcher-friendly Petco
SAN DIEGO -- All that talk of Ian Kennedy as a "fly-ball pitcher" is no myth. With 156 ground balls induced and 150 fly balls heading into his start Wednesday, his ratio is almost 1:1.
Compare that to the rest of the Padres pitching staff -- Eric Stults, 216:184; Tyson Ross, 123:61; Andrew Cashner, 218:116; Edinson Volquez 216:116 -- and it's clear that Kennedy is more prone to fly balls than most other starters.
San Diego manager Bud Black has said that he believes Kennedy's transition from Arizona -- where fly balls carry -- to Petco Park -- where fly balls go to die -- will be beneficial. But he also thinks of Kennedy as more than just a fly-ball pitcher.
"This ballpark can -- and San Francisco, L.A. -- favor a guy that might be a fly-ball pitcher," Black said. "But again, I think Ian's capable of a lot of things. He's capable of the strikeout. He's capable of inducing the ground ball when he needs it."
Kennedy's results with San Diego have been a mixed bag thus far. Black talked at length about Kennedy on Wednesday and what he hopes he brings to the Padres' rotation in the future.
"With Ian, where he is in his career, he gives us a pretty solid Major League starter, who we think is going to be durable, who is going to bounce back from not having the year that everyone expected this year," Black said. "We think he's going to bounce back and be a guy who is capable of 33 starts and 200 innings and getting quality work."
Decker, Hynes scheduled to play winter ball
SAN DIEGO -- With the end of the Minor League season in sight and the Padres' regular-season finale not too far off either, there are a few players whose season won't end once that final pitch is thrown.
On Wednesday, San Diego manager Bud Black confirmed that outfielder Jaff Decker and left-handed reliever Colt Hynes will play winter ball this offseason.
Decker, who will head to Venezuela along with assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell, said he's eager for the chance to tinker with his mechanics without the day-to-day pressure of a big league season.
"Obviously, all my focus is on this right now," Decker said. But I'm trying to do whatever I can for the coaches -- whatever they ask."
Black also mentioned utility man Logan Forsythe and center fielder Cameron Maybin, who has been hampered by a knee injury since mid-June, as winter ball possibilities.
Jesus Guzman and Alexi Amarista will also head back to their native Venezuela, and Black said he expects them to play in the esteemed Venezuelan Winter League as well.