8/27/2013 9:09 P.M. ET
Three Padres prospects join Arizona Fall League
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Fall League released its rosters for the coming season, and the Padres have at least two notable players who will play for the Peoria Javelinas.
Catcher Austin Hedges, rated the organization's No. 2 top prospect by MLB.com, will serve as the Javelinas' primary catcher.
Second baseman Cory Spangenberg, the Padres' No. 14 prospect, and another infielder, Tommy Medica, will also be on the team.
The Padres have four remaining spots on the roster -- all designated for pitchers -- that will be filled at a later date.
Hedges, who turned 21 on Aug. 18, has hit .157 in his first 16 games with Double-A San Antonio. He began the season with Single-A Lake Elsinore, where he hit .270 in 66 games.
"It's a chance to continue his development on both sides of the ball," said Randy Smith, the Padres' vice president of player development and international scouting. "Just as important as Austin facing better and more advanced pitching, he will be catching more advanced arms as well.
"[It's] a great opportunity for him to get another 75 at-bats and continue to soak in knowledge. We like the fact that he'll be catching our guys, and it will be easy for us to check his progress."
Hedges played in the Futures Game last month at Citi Field in New York and is considered one of the best catching prospects in professional baseball.
Spangenberg, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, began the season in Lake Elsinore, hitting .296 with a .364 on-base percentage. Spangenberg, 22, hit .276 in his first 69 games with San Antonio.
Medica, 25, is having a big season with San Antonio. He is hitting .282 with a .362 on-base percentage and has 15 home runs and 49 RBIs as a first baseman and designated hitter.
Opening Day for the Arizona Fall League is Oct. 8. The Javelinas will play their home games in Surprise as work continues on the Padres' and Mariners' new Spring Training facilities in Peoria.
Padres release struggling Volquez
PHOENIX -- The inevitable became reality Tuesday when the Padres officially released pitcher Edinson Volquez, three days after the team designated him for assignment.
While many fans were ready to see Volquez go -- he was 9-10 with a 6.01 ERA in 27 starts -- San Diego pitching coach Darren Balsley expressed regret that things could not have worked out better.
"It's frustrating I couldn't help him more," Balsley said. "And, I'm sure, on his side, it's frustrating he knows he's a lot better than he shows."
In his final start with the Padres, Volquez allowed five earned runs on five hits while getting two outs in the first inning of a start against the Cubs on Aug. 23. The following day, he was designated.
So what went wrong?
"He might have been snakebit a little this year, a lot of miss-hit balls that fell in and a lot of rallies that snowballed on him," Balsley said. "But as a Major League pitcher, you have got to overcome that."
At the forefront of Volquez's problems, Balsley said, were his emotions, especially when he got into a game.
"We worked hard mechanically on keeping him on a good line toward home plate; we tried to shorten up his stride and get him to be a little taller. In his bullpen sessions, he could do it. But in the game, he basically overthrew," Balsley said. "That led to mechanical breakdowns.
"And it's hard to tell someone not to try so hard. He's very competitive. His competitive nature gets the best of him."
Volquez went 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA and made 32 starts for the Padres a year ago. But opponents hit .236 against him a year ago. This season, they were hitting .291 with an .820 OPS. His strikeout rate per nine innings (7.33) was the lowest in any full season he has pitched in the big leagues.
Balsley is hopeful that Volquez, despite his issues with the Padres, can turn things around -- even if for a different team.
"He's what? Thirty? He's still young," Balsley said. "Moving on, I expect him to hook on quickly with another team. Once he gets his emotions under control, he's going to be a very good pitcher."
Erlin to take Volquez's spot in rotation
PHOENIX -- The Padres named a replacement for Edinson Volquez in the starting rotation -- left-hander Robbie Erlin, who will start Wednesday against the D-backs at Chase Field.
Erlin was at Chase Field on Tuesday, where he was told he would start the final game of a three-game series. He will not be added to the roster until Wednesday.
"It's time for Robbie to get another start, and we'll see where we go from there," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We've got to see what guys can do at this level."
Erlin, 22, is 1-2 in six games, including four starts, with the Padres. His most recent start came July 7 against the Nationals, and he allowed nine earned runs in four innings.
Erlin, rated the Padres' No. 15 prospect by MLB.com, was 8-3 with a 5.07 ERA in 20 starts with Triple-A Tucson, though he was 2-0 with a 4.71 ERA over four starts this month.
"In Robbie's first four starts, two have been good; two have been a little rough," Black said. "It's time for Robbie to make a statement as a Major League pitcher."
Black said some consideration was made to have Tim Stauffer make a spot start but that the team wanted to give Erlin an extended look moving into the final month of the regular season.
The Padres will most likely look at other younger pitchers in September, like 23-year-old right-hander Burch Smith, who is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA in 11 starts with Tucson. Smith, the organization's No. 9 prospect, was up with the Padres earlier in the season, posting an 11.37 ERA in six games, including three starts.
• Left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke threw the first bullpen session in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery in May 2012. Luebke will do the same Friday when the team is in Los Angeles.
"The ball came out of his hand well; he had some velocity," Black said. "He's still got a lot of hurdles to clear. But it was good to see him turning the ball loose."
Black indicated that Luebke would pitch in some capacity this winter, either during the team's instructional league program in the Dominican Republic or winter ball. They would love for him to get some innings before the start of Spring Training in February.
"But we're still a way out from any intricate planning," Black said.