2/26/2014 4:40 P.M. ET
Struggles forced Roach to make adjustments
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It might sound weird, but Padres pitching prospect Donn Roach is actually thankful for the struggles he went through last April and May with Double-A San Antonio.
"I think I needed it," Roach said.
Coming off a blissful run in 2012, when he was a combined 11-2 with a 1.88 ERA, Roach was hit hard during April (4.01 ERA) and May (5.10) in the Texas League.
"That was really my first time struggling at higher levels," Roach said. "I think that it kind of opened my eyes as to how to make adjustments when I'm struggling. It was a good experience to go through that."
Roach, a 24-year-old right-hander with a plus-sinker, is back in big league camp with the Padres, trying to hone not only his sinker but get to the point where he can rely on his other pitches at any time.
"I don't think I've used them enough in my career in general. I haven't skated by, but I think I've gotten in trouble throwing my sinker all the time," Roach said. "It's not that I can't throw them ... but there hasn't been enough repetition with them."
Roach had a 3.72 ERA in June and then went 1.95 in five July starts and 2.90 in his final six starts of the regular season.
"After the All-Star break, I got back into a groove and found my sinker again and my other pitches," he said.
Roach will likely begin the season with Triple-A El Paso and will do so feeling better about where he's at in his career -- mostly for going through a trying time a year ago.
"They were some of the worst games I've had in a while," Roach said. "But it was a learning experience trying to get through those failures."
Visa issue resolved, Torres arrives in camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- After missing the first 12 days of workouts, new Padres reliever Alex Torres arrived in camp on Wednesday morning.
"I was ready to get here," said Torres, who landed in Phoenix on Tuesday.
Torres, who had visa issues in his native Venezuela stemming from a change of employers, arrived early and met with manager Bud Black before taking part in the morning workout.
"He's excited to be a Padre, pumped to be here," Black said. "At times, these things can be a little tricky. He's going to throw a bullpen session today to get up to speed."
Torres, who was obtained last month from the Rays, had been working out in Venezuela and didn't feel like his late arrival in camp would be a detriment to getting ready for Opening Day on March 30.
"I know the guys here have already started here. I did my training over there, my exercises over there to prepare myself," Torres said. "I started throwing two or three weeks ago. Last week, I threw two bullpen [sessions]. I was just trying to get ready."
Since Torres changed employers, he had to apply for a new visa so that he could leave the country. Torres is still unclear why it took so long to process.
"I never had any problem with the police or anything like that," Torres said. "It happens sometimes. It was my turn this time."
There's no sense of urgency from San Diego's end about getting Torres game-ready quickly, Black said. The Padres play their first game of the spring on Thursday against the Mariners.
"We don't need to be in a great deal of a hurry to get him in a game," Black said. "As a relief pitcher, he doesn't need the length of Spring Training like starting pitchers do. We'll get him up to speed. But he feels good and has been throwing in Venezuela."
Torres is expected to handle a late-inning role in the bullpen, possibly the seventh inning. A left-hander, he won't be used as a specialist but as someone who can get both lefties and righties out.
Torres was asked about the civil unrest in his native country, where citizens have been protesting against the government, citing a shortage of goods, poor security and lack of freedom of speech for the media. The movement gained the world's attention when three student demonstrators were killed in Caracas on Feb. 12, and it has hit home in clubhouses in Florida and Arizona.
"I really don't want to talk about that, it's a tough situation. ... It's really sad for our country," Torres said.
Hedges growing more comfortable in Padres' camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- There was a moment a year ago when Padres catching prospect Austin Hedges stepped into the batter's box for batting practice only to find a future Hall of Famer 60 or so feet away, getting ready to toss him BP.
Trevor Hoffman, meet Austin Hedges. Consider it Padres' past meeting Padres' future.
"I definitely did a little double-take," Hedges said at the time.
Hedges hasn't been nearly as awestruck during his second big league camp, mostly because he's now caught most of the pitchers in camp two years running.
"Last year was a really good experience for me," Hedges said. "And having done it one year and getting to know a lot of the guys here, it's helped me develop relationships with guys. I think the nerves have calmed down. I'm more excited than anything."
Hedges, the Padres' No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com, is one of six catchers in big league camp. He appeared in four Cactus League games a year ago and had three at-bats. He'll likely get more this time around.
Hedges is expected to start the regular season where he ended it in 2013 -- with Double-A San Antonio, though he could move quickly.
• Andrew Cashner isn't just a very good pitcher, but he's apparently a very proficient bunter, too. Cashner came up big in Wednesday's bunting content between two teams of pitchers. Cashner's team of Keyvius Sampson, Tyson Ross, Joe Ross, Joe Wieland and Donn Roach topped the team consisting of Ian Kennedy, Eric Stults, Josh Johnson, Matt Wisler, Robbie Erlin and Burch Smith.
• Minor League infielder Jonathan Galvez, sidelined for a week because of a groin injury, was on the field for Wednesday's morning drills. Galvez ran the bases and could actually appear in Thursday's game against the Mariners, said manager Bud Black. "We'll see how he does today," Black said. Galvez will likely begin the regular season with Triple-A El Paso.