7/24/2014 9:41 P.M. ET
Black, Renteria reflect on Maddux's career
By Daniel Kramer / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Padres manager Bud Black knows why Greg Maddux will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
"Early in his career, [Maddux] had velocity, he had movement, he had rotation," Black said Thursday. "So when you have those three things, it adds up to a Hall of Fame potential. When you combine that with the competitiveness, the head on the shoulders, the in-game awareness, the aptitude -- it adds up to a guy that separates himself for Hall of Fame status.
"As his career moved forward, he lost a little bit of the velocity," Black said, "but he still had the movement and location. You combine that with the experience and the pitching wisdom that he had moving forward -- again, it just adds to the Hall of Fame status."
Black said Maddux had "tremendous baseball instincts, the ability to locate the ball with tremendous movement through all of his career. That's what separated him."
Maddux will join baseball's elite in Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT live on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com and the At-Bat app.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria was with the Padres with Black and Maddux in 2007-08, and also marveled at the right-hander's skills.
"The ability for him to stay healthy and do what he did is a gift," Renteria said of Maddux, who won 355 games in a 23-year career. "You're either born with the genes to do things like that or you're not. There are some things that contribute to the deterioration of the body at some point, but he was able to find something that kept him on the field a long time. He's a very gifted athlete, very good baseball player, very prepared and knew what he was doing."
Renteria said Maddux would correctly predict what would happen in the game from the dugout.
"He was very intuitive," Renteria said. "He'd be sitting in the dugout and say, 'This guy is going to hit this ball right between [the pitcher's] legs now,' and sure enough, we'd make the pitch, and boom, the guy would hit the ball between his legs. He had a knack of recognizing and knowing where the ball was going to be projected. When you saw him fielding when he pitched, he was many times already moving to the area where the ball was going to be batted to him."
Which could partly explain why Maddux won 18 Gold Gloves.
Black sets rotation for Braves series
CHICAGO -- Bud Black made a long-awaited announcement regarding his pitching rotation for the Padres' upcoming four-game series in Atlanta.
Jesse Hahn will get the ball for Friday's opener, followed by Odrisamer Despaigne on Saturday, Eric Stults on Sunday and Ian Kennedy in Monday's series finale.
A sixth-round Draft pick by the Rays in 2010, the rookie Hahn has been an emerging threat for the Padres, going 5-2 with a 2.21 ERA with 47 strikeouts while allowing just 27 hits and 16 walks against 164 batters.
Hahn, who has already arrived in Atlanta, was optioned on July 12 to Triple-A El Paso then Double-A San Antonio, where he compiled a pair of two-inning starts in an attempt to keep his innings down. Hahn underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and hasn't thrown more than 69 innings in a season since then. He's thrown 40 2/3 frames in seven starts since his big league debut on June 3.
"There's no hard number that we're looking at," Black said. "We're going to watch him closely the rest of the summer. As we get into August and early September, we'll feel pretty confident about where he is innings-wise and how he's pitching."
Hahn was initially slated to pitch Saturday, but Black swapped the rookie with Despaigne after the latter tossed 123 pitches over 7 2/3 innings with a no-decision, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Mets on Sunday. It marked fourth time in five starts Despaigne eclipsed the 100-pitch tally.
"We decided 'Let's give him an extra day's rest,'" Black said. "Jesse is well rested from his time after the All-Star break to the outing in San Antonio that we thought it'd be just as fine for both guys if they switched."
Stults, who lost his league worst 12th game of the year on Tuesday (he is tied with the Twins' Kevin Correia), will pitch on Sunday against a Braves team that he is 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA over seven appearances.
Kennedy will look to advance his perfect 3-0 mark in July when he takes the mound Monday.
Injured Padres getting close to return
CHICAGO -- Manager Bud Black wouldn't specify a return timetable for the bulk of players eligible to come off the disabled list soon, but did say at least three are "on the horizon."
First baseman Alonso Yonder (right wrist), second baseman Jedd Gyorko (left foot) and shortstop Everth Cabrera (left hamstring) were scheduled to play at least their third game for Triple-A El Paso on Thursday, and go the full nine innings.
"We're looking at those guys every day," Black said. "They're getting their stamina and endurance."
Gyorko is 5-for-16 with a homer in four games; Yonder is 2-for-10 with an RBI in three games and Cabrera, who Black said is the furthest from a return, is 1-for-5, and has played in just one full game since sustaining his injury on June 30.
"Cabrera needs some more time," Black said. "He'll need to get his hands trained in a good spot."
The Padres currently have 10 players on the disabled list or out for the season -- the third most in the Majors behind the Rangers (13) and Diamondbacks (11).
Chicagoland native Goebbert starts in left
CHICAGO -- Chicagoland native Jake Goebbert stuck around for at least another start since being called up on June 19, this time playing left field in Thursday's series finale against the Cubs.
Goebbert has started nine games at first base, including Tuesday's game in Chicago, but on Thursday returned to left field, where he played 351 games in six Minor League seasons.
"That's probably my primary position," said Goebbert, who is 11-for-43 in 21 games with the Padres. "It's a great opportunity to play in the outfield, where I probably played most of the games in the Minor League years. Looking forward to hopefully contributing and doing some good for the team."
"He's versatile. We like that about Jake," said manager Bud Black, noting that he's primarily platooned the lefty Goebbert against right-handed pitchers. "He's comfortable in the outfield. Either corner, left or right and at first. We've just got to get him re-acclimated."
Goebbert's status with the big league team remains unclear with the approaching return of many on the disabled list. But he will travel with the Padres to Atlanta, where the team opens a four-game series on Friday.
Newly-acquired Yangervis Solarte again started at second for the Padres on Thursday while Chris Nelson assumed his third straight game at third, the spot occupied by Solarte's exchanged commodity, Chase Headley, who is now with the Yankees.
Black hasn't committed to a full-time position for either, who are both considered utility infielders.
• Thursday's starting pitcher Tyson Ross was earlier this week named a Heart and Hustle Award winner by the MLB Players Association. The award is designated to players who demonstrate a passion for and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. One player from each team is selected with a final overall winner announced on Nov. 19 at the 15th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York. Ross will be honored at Petco Park during the Padres' next homestand.
• On this day 31 years ago, Padres manager Bud Black, then with the Royals, pitched during teammate George Brett's infamous pine-tar incident. Then Yankees manager Billy Martin argued that Royals slugger Brett had an excessive amount of pine tar on his bat. The umpires concurred and ruled Brett out, which invoked a Kansas City protest to finish the game on Aug. 18, in which the Royals held on to win, 5-4.
Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.