9/14/2013 6:26 P.M. ET
Gyorko knows selectivity will bump up walk total
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Going into Tuesday's game against the Phillies, Jedd Gyorko had gone 112 consecutive plate appearances without a walk.
So, sure enough, what did Gyorko do in his first plate appearance against Cliff Lee? He walked, naturally. And then he did it again in Thursday's loss to the Phillies.
Truth be told, Gyorko would like to walk more -- he has 24 this season in 455 plate appearances -- but to do so, the Padres rookie second baseman knows he needs to cut down on swinging at pitches outside the strike zone.
"I've been swinging at some pitches out of the zone, that's not a secret," Gyorko said. "I know I need to be more in the zone. I've gone through stretches where I've been seeing the ball well, which means I'm swinging earlier in the count, putting the ball in play. That leads to not as many walks."
Expanding the strike zone has gotten Gyorko in trouble at times, as he's struck out 109 times in 2013. Many of those strikeouts have come since he returned from the disabled list July 12.
Gyorko missed 30 games with a right groin strain, bringing to a halt a strong start, one that saw him hit .280 before the injury. Since returning, Gyorko's hitting .202 with four walks in 200 plate appearances. He does have 10 of his 18 home runs in that stretch, but also 53 strikeouts.
Gyorko has a good walk history in the Minor Leagues -- 10.9 percent in 2011 and 10.1 percent in '12. Currently, that walk percentage is 5.3. Does he think it will get better over time?
"I guess it's to be determined," he said. "Walks are an important part of the game. I've got to make sure I stay in the zone. I've got to take that walk if it's available. I think my approach is getting better. It's still a work in progress."
Kennedy not overly concerned with allowing homers
ATLANTA -- No pitcher likes giving up home runs, and the Padres' Ian Kennedy is certainly no different.
But Kennedy, who is second in the National League in home runs allowed, isn't about to lose sleep over how many he allows in games where he feels he pitched well.
"Maybe if I'm missing my spots, it would bother me," said Kennedy, who is a fly-ball pitcher. "But it's something that's going to happen."
Such was case Friday when Kennedy allowed a solo home run to the Braves' Justin Upton in the fourth inning and later a two-run home run to Brian McCann in the inning. Those were home runs Nos. 24 and 25. He's allowed seven home runs in eight starts since being traded to the Padres on July 31.
Kennedy, who got a no-decision, thought he pitched well otherwise. He allowed three runs on five hits over six innings with two walks and five strikeouts.
"I felt pretty good about the way that I threw the ball," he said. "That's a tough lineup. That's a home-run hitting team. I felt the command of my fastball down was good. I threw a lot of fastballs, which helped my changeup."
Kennedy is 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA since joining the Padres. He's only pitched a combined 11 innings over his last two starts, though that's not his fault. He's been lifted for a pinch-hitter in each of the last two games after not topping 90 pitches each time.
• Padres Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman turned 89 on Saturday. Manager Bud Black recorded a birthday greeting for Coleman that was scheduled to air on the Fox Sports San Diego broadcast. Several players did the same.
Coleman, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marines, is the only Major League player to see combat duty in two wars -- World War II and the Korean War. Coleman was elected into the Padres Hall of Fame in 2001 and was a Ford C. Frick Award winner in 2006.