Yonder Alonso

Yonder Alonso fields grounders at third base just in case

SAN DIEGO -- With Chase Headley nursing a mild strain of his right biceps, and with the Padres short on options at third base, first baseman Yonder Alonso crossed the diamond during batting practice prior to the game Wednesday against the Rockies.

Alonso took ground balls three hours before the game under the watchful eye of manager Bud Black and others.

Consider it insurance in case the team gets in a bind and needs someone to man the hot corner in a pinch.

"We've got a third baseman who is day to day with a biceps strain, and if something happens tonight, we might need someone to go over there," Black said. "[Alonso] has got good hands and a good arm. We're going to look at it a little."

Alonso has appeared in two games at third base during his Major League career -- with the Reds in 2011 and once with the Padres last season.

Alonso isn't a complete stranger to the position. He played it a lot as a youth and moved over to first base at the University of Miami because Ryan Braun played third base.

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Homecoming trip special for proCanes Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal

The Opening Weekend series between the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres was a homecoming for the Padres' Miami duo Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal.

The two shares plenty of similarities. They were born in Cuba, raised in Miami and were teammates at the University of Miami during the year the Hurricanes won their first ever ACC Tournament Championship in 2008.

Then they got drafted by the same team. The Cincinnati Reds selected Alonso in the 2008 MLB Draft and Grandal in 2010. They were part of the same trade package that was used to bring ace pitcher Matt Latos to Cincinnati.

At least once every year, the Cuban duo returns home to Miami to see their families and play the Marlins who they grew up watching.

"It means a lot," Alonso said. "You really get a sense of having your family and friends here. So it's very special to me."

There is an inner fraternity that comes with playing baseball in Miami. Not just for the Hurricanes, but even in high school. Alonso said that he keeps in touch with fellow Canes like Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay, Dodgers reliever Chris Perez and even local high school stars like Nick Castellano who won the state championship with two different South Florida schools.

"All the guys in South Florida have a special bond," Alonso said.

There are two types of Cuban big leaguers: those who defect and immediately start their baseball career and those who make it to the States in their childhood and go through the assimilation processes through high school and college. This is where people see the difference between Yasiel Puig and Yonder Alonso.

The love of the game is still the same," he said. "They way they play, the fire of the game is still the same because in South Florida, they play just like how they do in Cuba. If anything they show their emotions a little bit more and as players, we're taught to never show your opponents emotions."

The handling of a newfound fortune is also a major difference between the two Cubans.

"I've talked to people in their mid-twenties and teams give them 3-4 million dollars and all they can think of is how to spend it all," Yasmani Grandal said. "The guys who have lived here take that money and think about how invest in it and make more money."

Unfortunately for them, they lost the series to the Marlins and now have to go from one extreme (Miami) to the other (Cleveland). That being said, they can only hope that they can reach the playoffs and the Marlins meet them there.

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Yonder Alonso homers, but Padres dig too big a hole

SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Raburn and Asdrubal Cabrera each knocked in four runs on Friday as the Indians scored a combined 14 runs over the first two innings en route to a 16-4 drubbing of the Padres at Fowler Park on the campus of the University of San Diego.

"You get in a ballpark like this where the ball is traveling and the infield's fast, [and that can happen]," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's a good night, because with a quick turnaround tomorrow, and then the day off Sunday, I wanted our guys to get some at-bats, but I really didn't want to keep them out there. That was probably the perfect [way to do it]."

The Indians got home runs from Yan Gomes, Carlos Santana and Cabrera, and pitcher Zach McAllister -- who is the No. 3 starter in the rotation -- allowed two runs over four innings.

"I thought it was a tough game to pitch, first of all, because he's sitting so long," Francona said of McAllister. "He was at like 90 pitches for four innings tonight. It was a little bit of a struggle just to not have so many deep counts. I think he's throwing the ball fine. He's just got to sharpen up on things and stay away from the longer innings."

The Indians jumped on Padres starting pitcher Matt Wisler for seven runs in the first inning, as the first seven batters in the inning reached base. Cleveland then added seven more runs in the second inning off reliever Blaine Boyer.

Wisler, ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Padres' system by MLB.com, allowed seven runs on four hits with two walks in one inning. He'll begin the season at Triple-A El Paso.

"He was off. He just couldn't regroup at all," Padres manager Bud Black said of Wisler. "It's a great learning experience for him, a good test for him. Hopefully, he'll learn from it."

McAllister fared much better, allowing three hits with six strikeouts.

The Padres got on the board when Yonder Alonso slugged a solo home run out to right field in the second inning. Yasmani Grandal knocked in a run with a single in the fourth inning.

Alonso went 2-for-2.

Gomes, Rayburn and Cabrera each finished with three hits.

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Yonder Alonso has a three-hit day vs. Royals

Yonder Alonso went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored as the Padres defeated the Royals 9-5 on Wednesday.

All three hits were singles. The effort boosted his average up to .426 in 47 at-bats. Alonso doesn't hit for the power typical of most first basemen, but does slightly better in the average and on-base departments, which helps him maintain value in fantasy leagues.

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Yonder Alonso smashes second homer in loss

Yonder Alonso smashed his second homer of the Cactus League season in a losing effort against the Royals on Sunday.

The 27-year-old finished the afternoon 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored. He's off to a strong start in Cactus League play, hitting .343 (12-for-35). Hitting in the middle of the Padres lineup, he has sneaky value in deeper mixed fantasy leagues.

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Yonder Alonso doubles twice against the Brewers

Yonder Alonso doubled twice in three at-bats as the Padres were shut out 8-0 by the Brewers.

Alonso brought his average up to .333 in 27 Cactus League at-bats. Four of his nine hits have gone for extra bases. Nevertheless, Alonso shouldn't be expected to post lofty power numbers as he carries a sub-.400 slugging percentage in 1,121 career plate appearances.

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Yonder Alonso on the spot for Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Yonder Alonso has been through quite the voyage of self-discovery since the Cincinnati Reds selected him out of the University of Miami with the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft.

In December 2011, the Reds sent Alonso and three other players to San Diego in a trade for starting pitcher Mat Latos. The following year, Alonso banged out 39 doubles to finish sixth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. But just when he appeared to be building on that debut season, his luck turned south. He suffered a broken right hand on a pitch from Toronto's Aaron Loup last May, and was never the same before shutting it down for good at the end of August.

After a winter of rehab and working out back home in Miami with Manny Machado and Jon Jay, his former college teammate, Alonso is ready to reassert himself. His hand has healed, and he thinks he learned something about himself from the adjustments he had to make to compensate for his injury.

"I think I matured a little bit as a hitter, just knowing what I could and couldn't do," Alonso said. "It made me a better player in that respect."

The Padres increased their home run output from 121 to 146 last year after moving in the outfield fences at Petco Park. At the same time, their overall run production declined from 651 to 618. Positive contributions from outfielder Will Venable and rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko couldn't offset Chase Headley's statistical dropoff and extended injury absences from Cameron Maybin, Everth Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, Carlos Quentin and Alonso.

While Maybin is expected to miss two to three months with a torn biceps tendon and Headley is still recovering from a strained calf, Alonso is getting into the swing of things in the Cactus League. He pulled a monster home run to right field off Arizona's Randall Delgado at Peoria Stadium on Tuesday, showing a glimpse of what he's capable of when he catches a ball just right. But Alonso has a total of 20 career homers in 1,000 big league at-bats, so the Padres are under no illusions that he'll ever be a classic corner infield bopper.

"He's got good bat-to-ball skills," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's got the ability to hit the ball over the fence and get it in the gaps and be a productive member of the lineup. If he hits 10-15 homers, that's fine as long as he gets his RBIs and scores his runs. We're looking for him to take a step forward."

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Yonder Alonso eager to make up for lost time

PEORIA, Ariz. -- After a promising rookie season in 2012, Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso essentially fell off the radar a year ago, the victim of a fractured right hand in May that never really healed until the season was over.

Alonso doesn't blame fans in the least if they've forgotten about him.

"To the fans, I don't blame them," Alonso said. "I was gone for something like half the year, really. It was a frustrating season for me."

That might be putting it mildly.

Coming off a rookie season in which he clubbed 39 doubles, Alonso appeared well on his way to a strong second season with the Padres, hitting .284 with six home runs in his first 190 at-bats of the '13 season before a May 31 game against the Blue Jays at Petco Park.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup hit Alonso with a pitch atop his right hand. He left with a fractured metacarpal bone and missed the next 34 games.

"That was really unfortunate for him, because he was starting to get it," said Padres manager Bud Black. "I think we all felt there was room for offensive improvement, and he was showing that."

The 26-year-old returned on July 12, but it was evident to him that he hadn't fully regained the strength in the hand. Then, on Aug. 30, Alonso injured the hand again while trying to check his swing. As it turned out, that would be his last plate appearance of the season. After hitting six home runs early, he didn't have any after he returned.

That's not to say he didn't push himself to get back on the field -- even if hand wasn't anywhere near full strength.

"There was a sense of urgency for me to get my health in place," Alonso said. "But I was good enough to play. The season takes a toll on you, and it ended up being something I couldn't handle. I competed. Was I 100 percent? No way. I felt I still needed to go out and play."

This spring, Alonso is determined to not just make up for lost time, but to continue his development as a hitter. Or, in his words, become a "smarter hitter."

"I think I became a smarter hitter during my injury. I had to really focus on my plan and my approach. I became a better hitter with my hand and my eyes," he said. "Now, I'm doing to drive the ball into the gaps, make the pitcher work and see a lot of pitches. If I do that, I'm doing my job."

Hitting coach Phil Plantier has seen Alonso make inroads with his swing. The next part, of course, is the mental side of hitting, an evolving process that is truly at-bat to at-bat.

"Part of that maturity process is not giving at-bats away; having a plan at the plate, being consistent and knowing what he wants to do before he gets in the box," Plantier said. "I think he understands that his next step is being more consistent in terms of putting his plan to work. And he needs to be stubborn with it."

Alonso continues to be asked about power and where that fits in his game. The most home runs he had during a single season were 15 in 2010 while in the Reds' system. He had nine in the big leagues during his first season with the Padres and was well on his way to surpassing that when he got hurt in 2013.

"We don't need for Yonder to hit 30 home runs for us to be a better ballclub," Plantier said. "I think we just need him to be himself; be a good hitter first, have that doubles mentality and let the power come naturally. He's got to be a consistent force somewhere in the middle of the lineup for us."

That said, Alonso thinks there's more power in his game than he's shown.

"You need to be realistic with yourself," Alonso said. "I have power, plenty of it. [Home runs] are going to come. It will be fine."

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Hand, body, soul: Yonder Alonso feeling good

PEORIA, Ariz. — Power will come in time.

At least, that is what they say, although Yonder Alonso looked like he might trump one of those axioms that hitting coaches hold so dear last year.

Eighteen homers and 87 RBIs? At Petco Park?

The numbers that Alonso was tracking in his second full season certainly fit the bill of a middle-of-the-order first baseman. Then he took a pitch off his right hand at the end of May, missed a month with a broken metacarpal bone and never really recovered the hand strength he needed to punish “his” pitches upon his return.

“It’s like, your hand was very soft, very weak; it felt like you just had tissue there,” Alonso said. “There was no muscle tone in your hands. There was no quickness. You couldn’t control the bat or the barrel with your hand. I knew I couldn’t swing at certain pitches because I was hurt or because I knew I wasn’t quick enough.

“But believe it or not, I became a better hitter because of it.”

The book is still out on that.

One thing’s for certain, though: Alonso has arrived at the Peoria Sports Complex ready to take the next step in his career.

The hand, he said, is 100 percent healthy after an offseason of rest and work with a specialist and Alonso is in camp fitter and trimmer than ever before, thanks in large part to a small army that includes a personal chef, masseuse, yoga instructor and various physical therapists and trainers.

Whether or not that translates into developing into a masher in the middle of a lineup is beside the point, he said, so long as the Padres find a way to contend.
“I really don’t put that pressure on me to hit home runs,” Alonso said. “At the end of the day, you’re trying to be the best you can be. The sport is not all about home runs. You have to do many other things other than home runs to be a good teammate, a good player, and for me, home runs is just one big number.”
Just not one big number for Alonso – yet.

The 26-year-old Cuban never hit more than a 15 homers during a minor league season and topped out at nine the one year he played a full season in the majors, although half of those games were played in cavernous Petco Park in 2012.

But a career .840 OPS in the minors reveals a hitter who takes his walks and drives the ball, over the wall or not, and the Padres were beginning to see a semblance of that player materialize in San Diego.

He set the franchise’s rookie record with 39 doubles in 2012 upon joining the team as part of the five-player trade that set Mat Latos to Cincinnati and pushed his on-base percentage 75 points higher than his respectable .273 average.

Only the next step – Alonso had nearly as many homers (six) as doubles (seven) when he first injured his hand – didn’t go as planned after a fast start to 2013. Even after resting his hand for a month, Alonso watched his slugging percentage plummet from .416 to .306 after breaking his hand before the Padres ultimately shut him down in September.

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Yonder Alonso Expected To Have Close To 20 HRs This Season

Padres manager Bud Black did hit on a few topics today in his daily talk with the media.

For Yonder Alonso, Black agreed with a question that he could see 20 home runs come off of his bat this season. He didn’t give an exact number, but said “somewhere in and around there, I don’t want to put a number on it, but sure”. Alonso has only hit 15 home runs in two seasons with the Padres. He had nine playing a full season in 2012 and with the other six coming in his injury-plagued 2013 season.

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Yonder Alonso: Will Enter Spring Training Healthy

Alonso will enter spring training next Tuesday, Feb. 18, with a fully healed right hand, MLB.com reports.

Alonso was hit by a pitch on May 31 last season, which forced a lengthy stay on the DL and afflicted him for the remainder of the year, including no plate appearances after Aug. 30. The offseason has provided more than enough time for a full recovery from the fracture in his right hand, and he'll attempt to play just the second full campaign of his career in 2014. If he returns to his 2012 form, when he belted 39 doubles and nine long balls in 549 at-bats, Alonso will be of value in the majority of formats.

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PHOTO: A-Rod, Manny Machado and Yonder Alonso hangin’ at the Jay-Z show


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Yonder Alonso's hand at '100 percent'

Yonder Alonso is swinging a bat again. Finally.

That much was clear Wednesday afternoon as the Padres’ first baseman hosted more than two dozen kids from a local branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego at Petco Park.

The 26-year-old Alonso treated the 4S Ranch children to lunch, a tour of the Padres’ clubhouse and led them through drills on the field and in the indoor batting cage. There, he demonstrated a smooth-left-handed swing that’s without pain for the first time since re-injuring his right hand on a checked swing in late August.

“It feels great,” Alonso said afterward. “I’m 100 percent. I’m healthy. I’m looking forward to getting started. I’m going to start doing my hitting stuff soon. … I’m getting ready for spring training.”

Alonso was on pace for 18 homers and 87 RBIs through the first third of the season when a pitch struck him on the right hand, breaking a metacarpal bone and sapping much of his hand strength upon returning to the lineup after missing more than a month of action. The second injury to the hand on Aug. 30 limited Alonso to a pair of pinch-runner appearances the last weekend of the season in San Francisco after trainers had ruled out swinging a bat for the rest of the season.

“I had a lot of tendon issues going on in there,” said Alonso, who slashed .281/.341/.368 over 97 games in 2013. “There was a lot of liquid. It was more about the time and getting it calm. I just didn’t have enough time (to return).”

Time, of course, is now on Alonso’s side.

Cleared to swing a bat again, Alonso said he is expected to ramp up baseball activities soon ahead of reporting for Spring Training in February when he’ll get acquainted with a few new teammates. He learned of the latest addition – Oakland outfielder Seth Smith in exchange for reliever Luke Gregerson – while attending the Major League Baseball’s Players Association meetings Tuesday in La Jolla with teammate Nick Hundley.

The move caught both off-guard, Alonso said.

“We were just as surprised as everyone,” Alonso said. “It’s really out of our control. Those things we can’t control. Our main priority is to be ready for February reporting dates. … That’s our main concern – making sure we’re healthy and ready for the San Diego Padres and being a competitive team.”

Alonso, at the very least, appears to be on that track.

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Yonder Alonso unlikely to bat again this season

SAN DIEGO -- Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, who hasn't played since Aug. 30 because of soreness in his right hand, won't likely appear in a game as a hitter the rest of the season.

San Diego manager Bud Black said Sunday that Alonso will in all likelihood not swing a bat again during a game, though he could appear on defense.

"The hitting component for Yonder this week is out," Black said. "But we hope at some point this week that he can play [defense]."

Alonso wasn't quite ready to concede, though.

"I want to play, if not ... I wouldn't be doing all of this stuff," Alonso said. "But I've got to understand it's a process."

Alonso fractured a bone in his hand in late May and missed 34 games. He hit .284 with six home runs, 29 RBIs and seven doubles in 190 at-bats prior to that injury but said his hand hasn't felt fully healthy since, during which time he has hit .278 with four doubles and 16 RBIs.

Alonso received a cortisone shot in his hand during a visit with a hand specialist on Saturday.

"We're still trying to calm it down," he said.

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Yonder Alonso had a setback, may not play again this year

Yonder Alonso hasn’t played since August 30 because of a hand injury and it sounds like the Padres first baseman is ready to give up the comeback attempt.

Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Alonso felt pain in his hand while taking batting practice Monday and admitted afterward: “It might not work out this season.”

So his disappointing second season with the Padres may end after 95 games, during which he hit just .281 with  six homers and a .710 OPS. That’s a 30-point drop from his OPS last season despite the fences at Petco Park moving in, which isn’t how things were supposed to go.

Alonso will be 27 years old next season and has a .395 career slugging percentage in 1,121 plate appearances as a big leaguer. Some of that is due to calling a pitcher-friendly ballpark home, but either way 2014 could be a make-or-break season for him in San Diego.

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Yonder Alonso cleared to play defense, will take swings soon

PHILADELPHIA -- First baseman Yonder Alonso, who hasn't played since Aug. 30 due to soreness in his right hand, has been cleared to play defense and will likely hit in the cage this weekend when the team heads to Atlanta for a series with the Braves.

"I've been throwing the past couple of days and it's still a little sore," Alonso said.

Alonso missed 34 games earlier this season with a fractured metacarpal bone in his hand. He returned from the disabled list on July 12, but the strength in his hand wasn't the same as it was earlier this year when he hit .284 with six home runs in his first 190 at-bats.

After returning from the disabled list in July, Alonso hit .278 with no home runs and four doubles and said he wasn't able to do the same things with his swing that he could before the initial injury.

"Yonder is doing great, he's going to be able to play defense," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We're comfortable with him throwing and are comfortable with him if he has to dive. There's motivation for Yonder to get back on the field."

He's running out of time. After Thursday's series finale against the Phillies, the Padres have only 17 games left in the regular season.

"I'm optimistic about it [returning]. But it's just a matter of time for this thing to heal," said Alonso, who noted that he'll likely have a grip-strength test when the team returns to Petco Park on Monday.

The Padres have used Kyle Blanks at first base, though rookie Tommy Medica -- who hit a home run on Wednesday for his first Major League hit -- got the start there again on Thursday.

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Still no timetable for Yonder Alonso

Padres manager Bud Black said there is no specific cut-off date for 1B Yonder Alonso to ramp up baseball activity for him to return to the lineup this season, although Black said Alonso might return defensively before he’s able to contribute at the plate.

Alonso added that hand strength continues to be an issue for the right hand he injured during a check swing Aug. 30.

On a scale of 1-to-140, Alonso said his left hand registered a 125 and his right hand an 85.

“I’d like to be back; I’d like to be 100 percent,” Alonso said. “That being said, I don’t want to come back hurting. I want to be careful.”

Also on the injury front, OF Carlos Quentin was in the clubhouse before Friday's game -- three days after undergoing surgery on his right knee.

"Carlos is in a good frame of mind," Black said. "Nobody likes to have surgery, but I think there is some clarity, and a little bit of Carlos’ mind is at ease knowing what was causing the pain hopefully was taken care of surgically to a certain extent, and he can move forward in his rehab process and be a big part of our team next year."

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Yonder Alonso gets pain-killing injection in hand

Yonder Alonso was given a pain-killing injection in his injured right hand on Wednesday.
Alonso suffered the hand injury last Friday on a check swing. The 26-year-old first baseman is not expected to be available for live action again for another two weeks and can be dropped in standard fantasy leagues.

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Yonder Alonso hurt

SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Yonder Alonso had an MRI on his sore right hand Tuesday that revealed fluid in and between the joints in the hand.

"That's what's causing it to hurt," Alonso said.

Alonso was scheduled to have a cortisone shot in the hand later Tuesday, but at this point he's been told the only thing he can do for the hand is rest it.

"We're working through a couple of scenarios where we'll give it rest with the hope that I will be able to come back sooner than later," he said.

The good news was that no surgery is expected on the hand, which caused him to miss 34 games earlier this season. He said that even after returning from the disabled list, the strength in his hand wasn't the same as it was earlier in the season.

The initial diagnosis was that Alonso would miss between seven and 10 days, but it now appears that he will miss more time than that.

"He could be back in a couple of weeks," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He wants to get back and play again, which is great."

Alonso said there's no sense in him rushing back, especially since there's just 24 games remaining in the regular season after Tuesday.

"I'm not even 90 percent now, so what's the point in coming back before I'm healthy?" he said.

Alonso said his hand hasn't felt fully healthy since before his previous injury. He hit .284 with six home runs, 29 RBIs and seven doubles in 190 at-bats before that first injury. Since then, he's hitting .278 with four doubles and 16 RBIs.

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Yonder Alonso says he's not off base

Yonder Alonso can’t remember having a season like this one.

Through his first 83 games, there had been five calls sure to infuriate any first baseman.

Five times an umpire had ruled Alonso had come off the bag while fielding a throw. Five times an opposing player had eked his way onto first.

The latest head-scratcher arrived Thursday in the fourth inning of the Padres’ 4-1 loss to the Mets. With two outs and Daniel Murphy at second, New York’s Josh Satin hit a routine grounder to short.

Less than routine was the ensuing call. First-base umpire Brian Knight determined that Alonso pulled his foot off the bag while receiving the throw, giving Satin an infield single and allowing Murphy to score from second for a 1-0 lead. Video replays suggested Alonso had successfully kept his foot on the bag.

“It’s kinda weird because I don’t know what they see,” Alonso said Friday. “It’s never happened to me, so it’s just kinda weird.”

Padres manager Bud Black offered an explanation for Alonso’s missteps around first base this season, real or imagined.

“At times it looks he stretches too early, then has an off-balance look on his stretch, when in effect he’s not off balance,” Black said. “But it looks funky. It can look like he comes off the bag to the umpires.”

Black added that Alonso’s fielding technique in this regard might warrant a look from the Padres.

It should be noted that, in terms of overall defense, the first baseman has been among the league’s most reliable this season. Entering Friday, Alonso had committed just two errors. He had a .997 fielding percentage in 665 2/3 innings.

And, of course, those five head-scratchers.

“Next year it won’t happen. Instant replay,” Alonso said wryly, referring to Major League Baseball’s announcement Thursday of its plans for expanded instant replay in 2014.

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Yonder Alonso's average up, but doubles down

DENVER -- Since returning from the disabled list in July, Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso was hitting .315 in 89 at-bats entering Monday. Twenty-six of 28 hits during that time were singles.

Alonso missed 34 games with a fractured bone in his right hand, which put the brakes on a fast start that saw him hit .284 with seven doubles and six home runs.

Although Alonso's average was up in the month since he came back from the hand injury, he had just two extra-base hits in those 89 at-bats, both doubles.
Not that he has noticed much.

"I don't really worry about that," Alonso said before Monday's game against the Rockies. "My season is going to be what my season is going to be.

"My goal is to get on base and drive guys in. As long as I have good at-bats, that's the way it goes. My goal would be to drive in more [runs], but sometimes you can't think about the numbers. I'm hitting balls hard."

Alonso had two hits Sunday against the Reds and had a .353 average in his last 13 games. Over his 21 games since the All-Star break, he was hitting .350, which is the 14th-best mark in the league over that stretch.

A year ago, Alonso finished tied for eighth in the league with 39 doubles. This season, he had nine over 279 at-bats entering Monday. He was hitting .294, up from the .273 overall mark he had in 2012.

"I think guys are pitching me a lot different, too, not giving in as much as they were earlier in the year," Alonso said. "But I think that for me, it's using the whole field and go from there. If I do that, I'll be fine."

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Yonder Alonso benefiting from not using break to rest

MILWAUKEE -- Yonder Alonso missed 34 games with a broken bone in his right hand, returning to play three games before the All-Star break.

At that point, the Padres first baseman was faced with a choice: Fly back to his hometown of Miami to see friends and family, or stay in San Diego with hopes of finding the swing that served him well before the injury.

In the end, Alonso remained in San Diego, working out daily during the All-Star break while many of his teammates were getting a little rest and relaxation before the second half.

"For me, it was about getting a lot of repetitions with my swing, which is why I didn't go home," Alonso said. "It was hard to miss a month and a week. But I worked every day on my swing.

"The way I looked at it, I owe that much to my teammates."

Alonso said working on his swing during the break allowed him to come out swinging a hot bat in the second half. He reached base four times on Tuesday and -- in a small sample size -- had a .381 average and a .458 on-base percentage in the first six games of the second half.

"I'm making progress right now, and I feel we're heading in the right direction," Alonso said of his swing.

Alonso was hitting .284 with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 190 at-bats before he suffered a break on top of his hand when he was hit by a pitch by Aaron Loup of the Blue Jays on May 31.

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Yonder Alonso coming back Friday?

San Diego Padres manager Bud Black said there's a good chance 1B Yonder Alonso (hand) will return to the big club Friday, July 12.

Fantasy Tip: This'll mean a drop in playing time for Kyle Blanks, who's been cold lately. Jesus Guzman will probably stick on roster instead.

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Yonder Alonso hitless in first rehab game

Yonder Alonso (hand) went 0-for-3 on Monday in his first minor league rehab game with Triple-A Tucson.

Alonso, out since the end of May with a broken bone in his right hand, played six innings in his return to game action. He'll play again Tuesday before being reevaluated, but Padres manager Bud Black said he could be activated prior to the All-Star break.


Yonder Alonso hopes to play in rehab game soon

San Diego Padres 1B Yonder Alonso (hand) has been taking batting practice and working on fielding with Triple-A Tucson but is still a day or two days away from playing in a rehab game. The original plan was for Alonso to play for Tucson Wednesday, July 10, and Thursday, July 11, but he would like to push up the timetable a day or two. Alonso would be reevaluated and could rejoin the Padres for their weekend series if the team sticks with its original plan.

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Padres hope Yonder Alonso can hit soon

The Padres are hopeful that Yonder Alonso (hand) will be cleared to begin hitting in the batting cage soon.

Alonso had a CT scan Monday to check the healing of his fractured right hand, but the results of the exam aren't yet known. If the scan does show sufficient healing, the first baseman will be allowed to begin hitting. Alonso has been sidelined since June 6.

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Yonder Alonso close to resuming baseball activities

MIAMI -- Injured first baseman Yonder Alonso is getting closer to returning to the field. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 6 with a fractured bone in his right hand.

Alonso was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays on May 31.

"He's getting closer to doing full baseball activities," Padres manager Bud Black said. "By that, I mean grounders, throwing, hitting in the cage, hitting off a live arm. Not the soft toss or the tee work."

Before Alonso could rejoin San Diego's lineup, Black said the first baseman needed to get his hand strength back, face live pitching and play in at least five games.

Alonso is not with the Padres on their road trip. However, once the 26-year-old resumes baseball activities, Black wants him back with the club before beginning a rehab assignment.

"I'd like to get him here," Black said. "If he's hitting, I'd like him to hit with us."

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Yonder Alonso likely out until second week of July

Yonder Alonso (hand) isn't expected to be activated from the disabled list until the second week of July.

Alonso hasn't been cleared for baseball activities yet and will need to go out on a rehab assignment before returning. It sounds like he'll be back just before the All-Star break, but the Padres could decide to play it safe and go ahead and rest him through the break.

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Yonder Alonso's hand healing, baseball activities on horizon

SAN DIEGO -- Yonder Alonso is moving closer to returning from the disabled list after seeing a specialist on Monday.

The first baseman received scans and X-rays, and they showed that the bone in his right hand seems to be healing fine. Alonso could have the splint removed from his hand by the end of the week.

Alonso has been on the disabled list since June 1 with a right hand contusion suffered when he was hit by a pitch there on May 31. The Padres are hoping he can start baseball activities by next week.

"Start playing some catch and doing some strength exercises, and from there, maybe get in the batting cage," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Alonso's return would add a huge presence to the middle of the Padres' order. Alonso is hitting .284 with 54 hits and 29 RBIs.

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Yonder Alonso's right hand healing, has splint removed

SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Yonder Alonso, on the disabled list since June 1 with a right hand contusion, hopes to get clearance Monday to take part in baseball activities after visiting a hand specialist.

Alonso suffered a fracture of the metacarpal -- the bone above the knuckle -- on his middle finger when he was hit by a pitch on May 31.

He had been wearing a splint to immobilize the hand ever since landing on the disabled list, though he recently was able to take it off.

"I really want to burn it," Alonso joked.

Who can blame him? Alonso missed his 14th consecutive game with the injury Thursday, as the Padres opened a four-game series against the Dodgers at Petco Park.

Alonso is encouraged the hand is healing.

"[Training staff] took it off today and they started touching it around where it was hurting. [Before] it was probably an eight or nine [out of 10 on the pain scale]. But it's probably down to a three or four. It's made a significant amount of progress in the last week, week and a half."

Alonso is hoping a CT scan Monday could pave the way for him to resume his on-field baseball work. That said, it's not like he's been sitting around gathering dust.

"The good thing is I can run and have been able to do my top-hand stuff hitting. I've been doing a lot of baseball stuff. The hitting will be the easiest thing to come. I've been staying on top of it, watching a lot of film.

"But I've become more a student of the game. I watch a lot of film. I watch all the games, to get ready for when I do come back. I feel like I'm the third hitting coach, because I watch all the at-bats."

At the time of his injury, Alonso was hitting .284 with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 54 games this season. The Padres have mostly used Kyle Blanks at first base in his absence.

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Yonder Alonso diagnosed with fractured hand

Yonder Alonso was placed on the disabled list yesterday in a last-minute change of plans when the Padres realized his wrist injury wasn’t getting any better and general manager Josh Byrnes just said in a radio interview with 1090-AM that the first baseman has a fractured hand.

There’s no official timetable yet for his return, but Byrnes indicated that Alonso could miss a month.

Before being hit by a pitch last week Alonso batted .284 with six homers and a .751 OPS in 54 games, improving on last year’s OPS by just 10 points despite lots of preseason optimism about his production rising thanks to the Petco Park fences coming in.

Kyle Blanks, who was headed to Triple-A before the Padres reversed course and put Alonso on the DL instead, should see plenty of action for however long he’s out.

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Yonder Alonso heading to DL

The San Diego Padres will place 1B Yonder Alonso (hand) on the 15-day disabled list with a right hand contusion Thursday, June 6, to make room for the return of OF Cameron Maybin (wrist) from the DL. 1B Kyle Blanks will remain on the roster.

Jesus Guzman and Blanks could split duties at first base with Alonso out, although both hit from the right side. They're both worthy of looking at in deep mixed leagues. Alonso hasn't played since last Friday, so the Padres can back date his DL stint to allow him to return soon.

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Yonder Alonso sits as hand continues to heal

LOS ANGELES -- Yonder Alonso was out of the Padres starting lineup again on Monday, but manager Bud Black is hopeful his first baseman will be available at some point during this week's three-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Alonso was hit in the hand in Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He exited with a right hand contusion and hasn't played since.

"He's getting close," Black said. "We're hoping tomorrow or the next day. ... He's feeling better. It's all about his grip strength, and that's improving. He's still getting a lot of treatment."

Alonso is hitting .284 with six homers and a .751 OPS this season.

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Yonder Alonso Not Thinking About Opponent's Defensive Shifts

PHOENIX — Yonder Alonso breaks out into a wide grin at the mere mention of “defensive shift.”

“I don’t really think about it,” the Padres first baseman said Saturday afternoon when asked about the shift some teams are deploying against him.

The shift against Alonso has been deployed by the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Mets and Brewers this season.

The second baseman moves to his left as well as backing up into short right field. The shortstop moves behind second base. The only infielder on the left side of the infield is the third baseman.

Alonso on Friday night beat Arizona’s shift by hitting a sharp grounder through the hole typically manned by the shortstop, driving in Carlos Quentin with the Padres’ first run. Earlier this season, Alonso dropped a bunt single when the Dodgers shifted against him.

“I don’t make adjustments to what I’m doing when they shift,” said Alonso. “I’m not a dead pull hitter. I hope they keep doing it.”

Alonso has power to both alleys. Several of the teams that shift the infield to the right, actually shade the outfield toward the left side against Alonso.

“Shifting is more a function of the pitcher,” said Padres manager Bud Black. “Defenses shift a lot based on what type of pitcher is working and how he wants to pitch a certain hitter. Some teams shift on Chase (Headley) at times.

“I do know this, Yonder has the ability to beat the shift.”

Padres hitting coach Phil Plantier said he is not surprised that teams use a shift against Alonso.

“Nothing surprises me,” Plantier said of defensive shifts. “There are thousands of charts out there. Every team has charts and graphs outlining player tendencies in great detail.

“Shifts take into consideration both the hitter and the pitcher. As a manager, you’re thinking ‘how are we going to pitch this guy ... what does the pitcher want to do ... where might he hit this pitch or that pitch.’

“And sometimes a shift is just mental to try to put a piece of doubt in the hitter’s head, take him out of the comfort zone.”

Plantier’s advice to Padres hitters facing a shift:

“Stay in your swing,” said Plantier. “Don’t change your approach for a shift. That is playing into the other team’s strategy. Yes, if you get an outside pitch that you would normally take the other way, take it the other way. But don’t change the approach just to beat the shift.”

“When I’m hitting, I’m not looking at where the infielders are playing,” said Alonso. “You notice, but you can’t focus on that. But I knew when I hit that pitch Friday night that it was a hit ... there was no shortstop where the shortstop usually is.”

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Yonder Alonso Slow Motion Home Run Baseball Swing Hitting Mechanics

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Yonder Alonso far ahead of 2012 HR, RBI pace

As a rookie in 2012, Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso hit his fourth homer in the season’s 92nd game on July 17 and drove in his 19th run in the season’s 81st game on July second.

He reached both those totals Friday in the Padres 29th game while going 2-for-4 with a decisive two-run homer off Wade Miley..

Alonso is on pace to hit 22 homers and drive in 106 runs this season after finishing with nine homers and 62 RBI last season.

Alonso, 25, has also hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, hitting .341 (14-for-41) with three doubles, two homers and 11 RBI. He has reached base safely in 11 of his last 12 games.

He is also hitting .375 (18-for-48) at Petco Park this season with four doubles, two homers and 11 RBI. He has hit safely in 12 of the 13 home games he’s played.

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Yonder Alonso finds "peace" in better numbers

After 30 games, Yonder Alonso leads the Padres in both home runs (four) and RBIs (19).

Last year, the then rookie Alonso didn’t hit his fourth homer until the Padres 92nd game on July 17. And he didn’t drive in his 19th run until the final game of the first half on July 2.

The difference between the seasons for the 26-year-old first baseman?

“I’m just more at peace,” Alonso said Saturday afternoon. “I’m just trying to make things simple. Last year guys didn’t know me. Now they know they can count on me. That feels good. There’s a comfort level with that.

“It also makes it easier when everyone (meaning Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin) are here. Everyone in the lineup is stronger.”

Alonso is on pace to hit 21 homers and drive in 103 runs this season after finishing with nine homers and 62 RBI last season while batting .273 and setting a Padres rookie record with 39 doubles.

So far this season, Alonso is hitting .353 (18-for-51) at Petco Park with four doubles, two homers and 11 RBI. He had hit safely in 12 of the first 13 home games before going 0-for-3 with a walk Saturday night.

Of course, fans continue to compare the careers of Alonso and Anthony Rizzo. Shortly after Alonso came to the Padres in the 4-for-1, 2012 trade that sent Mat Latos to the Reds, the Padres traded Rizzo to the Cubs.

It turns out that is far from the only link between Alonso and Rizzo.

“Rizzo and I go way back,” said Alonso. “We’re both south Florida kids. My high school coach scouted Rizzo for Boston. After we met, Anthony wanted to hit with me.

“I think he’s one of the up-and-coming players in the major leagues. He can hit, hit with power, play defense and run.

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Padres ride Yonder Alonso's HR to win over Arizona

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The new Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 deck atop the reconfigured right field wall at Petco Park provides an inviting target.

"It's nice," said Alonso, who hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Wade Miley in the fifth inning to help the Padres to a 7-6 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night, San Diego's seventh win in nine games. It was Arizona's fourth straight loss.

Alsono's homer was one of 14 hits for the Padres, the second time they've had that many in three home games. Rookie Jedd Gyorko had his first three-hit game, including two doubles.

"I've sensed us starting to swing the bats better the last couple weeks," manager Bud Black said. "We've broken out a couple different times on a couple different games and it showed tonight again with double-digit hits, some good at-bats, some good walks, some hard contact along the way, a big home run, a couple big swings. I've sensed that."

With the Padres trailing 3-2, Alonso drove a 2-2 pitch from Miley (2-1) into the Jack Daniel's deck in right-center, his fourth. It probably would have been a home run even in Petco Park's old configuration. The fences were moved in 11 feet from the home run porch in the right-field corner to the gap in an attempt to make the downtown ballpark play fairer. Jesus Guzman was aboard on a grounder.

Miley was "locating pretty well early in the game," Alonso said. "I got a good fastball elevated middle in. He got me to foul some pitches inside. I wasn't catching up to it, but then I made a little adjustment."

Miley said he left a pitch up.

"I was trying to get it away and I overthrew it and it stayed middle and he did a good job of hitting it," Miley said. "I was battling a bit. You don't always feel your best every time. But I had some opportunities to get out of it."

The homer made a winner of Jason Marquis (3-2). Marquis allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, struck out five and walked five.

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Yonder Alonso scores game-winner for Padres

Yonder Alonso scored the winning run on a Marco Scutaro error as the Padres beat the Giants 8-7 in 12 innings Saturday.

Alonso doubled for the third time to reach base in the 12th. He came around to score when Scutaro failed to handle Nick Hundley's grounder. The three doubles matches Alonso's season total for his previous 79 at-bats. He went eight straight games without collecting an extra-base hit or scoring a run before coming through tonight.

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Yonder Alonso reluctantly gets break from lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Let's get this straight: Yonder Alonso doesn't like getting a start off. Not in April and not in September. He wants to play. Period.

"I don't want a day off. There's no need at all to take a day off," Alonso said. "I hate days off."

Alonso wasn't in the starting lineup Sunday against the Giants, who started a left-handed pitcher -- Barry Zito -- as the right-handed-hitting Jesus Guzman got the start at first base. It's the second time in 2013 that Alonso hasn't started a game, though he entered in the sixth inning to replace Guzman, who moved to left field after Kyle Blanks was shaken up colliding with the outfield wall. Alonso has played in all 18 of the Padres' games this season.

"It's not even a day off, it's just not starting," said Padres manager Bud Black. "I thought it gave him an opportunity to exhale. He's going to play a lot and get a lot of at-bats."

Alonso said not to put much stock into his three-game funk that has seen him go 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts against some good pitchers -- Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and, in this series, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum.

"Sometimes, those guys are tough," Alonso said.

Prior to those three games, Alonso was hitting .419 in his eight previous games with at least one hit in all eight games.

"I think you have to put it in perspective," Alonso said Sunday. "We have faced a stretch of three or four guys who have thrown the ball well. You're going to go through a tough stretch of pitchers sometimes."

In 2012, Alonso appeared in 155 games in his first full Major League season. Only Chase Headley (161) played in more games for the Padres.

"I take care of myself in the offseason because I want to play in 162 games," he said.

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Yonder Alonso seeks leading role with Padres

It might seem an odd image, Yonder Alonso working out alongside Alex Rodriguez, these days a fading baseball player who stars only in tabloids.

But there’s an explanation that goes as far back as Miami, where both men spent their formative years.

Back then, Alonso was simply awestruck. The pros walking through the doors at the preteen’s Boys and Girls Club weren’t just any pros.

Marco Scutaro. Derek Jeter. Rafael Palmeiro.

And then there was Rodriguez, who took a particular liking to the aspiring pro.

“After I met him, we really got to talk about baseball,” Alonso said recently. “It was really cool.”

In his own way, the Padres first baseman would like to be that version of his former offseason training partner. Alonso certainly devoted last winter to changing his swing — incorporating more of his legs and torso in hopes of increasing his power while retaining his contact rate — but back home in Miami, he still found the time to stop by his old after-school haunt.

Just about every afternoon, Alonso hoisted jump shots and shared advice with the youngsters at the Boys and Girls Club.

“Those are just things I want to do here in San Diego, since I’m gonna be here for a while,” Alonso said, “kinda do a little bit of what they did for me and help out as much as possible.”

They being the pros Alonso admired. They being the leaders he’d like to emulate, and not just in the community.

Partly by necessity, partly by innate ambition, Alonso has become the Padres hitter saddled, at the moment, with the greatest expectations. In a lineup without projected heart-of-the-order staples Chase Headley and Yasmani Grandal, the first baseman hit the team’s only home run on Opening Day in New York. It would stand as the Padres’ lone home run until they belted two against the Dodgers Monday.

Alonso hit his second home run of the season in Friday's loss to the Rockies, which dropped the Padres to 2-8.

“I gotta do my part,” Alonso said, “but there’s obviously other guys who have to do their part also. This is a team thing here, and you can’t rely on one guy or two guys. You gotta rely on all 25 guys so we can get the job done.”

While those words may sound a bit advanced for someone coming off his first full season in the majors, there’s an unmistakable humility there too, honed by nights cleaning offices in Miami with his father, even during a college career as one of the ACC’s best.

“He’s a very confident player,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He’s got a lot of pride in his game.”

Which can make it easy to forget Alonso turned 26 Monday. The left-handed hitter is likely to show more power this year than last (nine home runs, 39 doubles), especially given the cozier confines at Petco Park, but he’s still seen barely more than 700 major-league at-bats.

“I told him in San Antonio he doesn’t need to carry the load,” Black said. “He doesn’t need to pick up any production with Chase out or if (Carlos Quentin’s) not in the lineup. He doesn’t have to put everything on his shoulders.

“There have been a couple swings where I thought he was trying to do too much, but he’s gotta get back to using the whole field. We’ve talked about where he is in his career, he doesn’t need to have that pressure to produce offensively.”

But there’s still the sense that Alonso remains perhaps the most crucial piece in the early going, what with the Padres trying to salvage another slow start. On April 3 you could almost hear the collective gasp of a fan base in lieu of a frightening play against the Mets.

Coming off the first-base bag to field a wide throw, Alonso made a swipe tag on Collin Cowgill, only to immediately dangle his left arm in considerable pain.
Much to the team’s relief, Alonso stayed in the game and singled twice the next day, having escaped with nothing more than minor hyperextension in his elbow, ready to resume what he hopes will be a career year.

“We need Yonder to play his game, which is steady defense, which is collect hits, hit his doubles,” Black said. “If a homer’s in there, great. But hit for average, get on base, score runs, knock in runs.

“Pressure’s a good thing, but he doesn’t need to put more on himself.”

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Around the horn: Yonder Alonso shows infield range

SAN DIEGO -- It was a wild ninth inning Wednesday for Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, as he was constantly on the move, bouncing around the infield while the team was on defense.

After Padres manager Bud Black emptied his bench -- with the exception of reserve catcher John Baker, who would hit in the bottom of the inning -- he asked Alonso to play second base to start the inning as Mark Kotsay occupied first base.

Alonso later moved to third base in the inning and then back to second base. He didn't have a ball hit at him, though Adrian Gonzalez singled to right field, just out of the reach of a diving Alonso.

Alonso became the first player in club history to play those three positions -- first, second and third base -- in a game. He's also one of 20 players in Major League history to do so. The last was Ben Zobrist of the Rays on Sept. 23, 2010, against the Yankees.

Alonso didn't see what the big deal was.

"Buddy gave me a warning that it might happen," Alonso said. " ... It wasn't so far out of the ordinary. It's not like I was playing center field."

But it was still unusual for Alonso, who had played one game at third base before Wednesday and that was in 2011, when he was with the Reds.

"Actually, Yonder said that he had played second base before," Black said. "He said, 'I have just got to move over 25 feet [from first base].'"

The Padres were shorthanded after Carlos Quentin was essentially unavailable due to a sore right wrist. Black also used Cody Ransom in the bottom of the fifth inning to pinch-hit for starting pitcher Eric Stults.

Jesus Guzman struck out for pitcher Anthony Bass in the seventh inning. Kotsay was used in the eighth inning, flying out for Alexi Amarista. That left Baker, who hit in the bottom of the ninth.

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Yonder Alonso plays second, third

Yonder Alonso made appearances at second base and third base in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game. That wacky Bud Black had Mark Kotsay pinch-hit for Alexi Amarista tonight even though the rest of his bench was used up. As a result, Alonso moved to second base, then slid to third with a left-hander up and then moved back to second. He had an attempt while at second base, coming up short on a diving stab. Anyway, if this gives him some extra eligibility in your league, he's now a whole lot more valuable.

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Yonder Alonso's arm injury minor, according to trainer

NEW YORK -- The Padres, who had their share of injury-related news in Spring Training, got a big scare during Wednesday's loss to the Mets.

First baseman Yonder Alonso appeared to have hurt his left arm when he came off the bag to make a swipe tag on Collin Cowgill in the fifth inning on what wound up being a throwing error by third baseman Jedd Gyorko.

Alonso immediately clutched his arm.

"Not good," said Padres manager Bud Black. "You think worst-case scenario. It looked like it might be a shoulder issue. But when I went out there, he said it was his elbow."

After working for a few minutes with trainer Paul Navarro, who quickly put Alonso through a handful of strength tests to determine if there was an injury, Alonso's pain started to subside. He ended up staying in the game and was in the starting lineup on Thursday.

"I woke up today and it was good," Alonso said. "I was a little scared for a second. But when Paulie went out and started playing with it, I knew it would be fine."

The Padres are already without third baseman Chase Headley for what will likely be most of April, if not longer, while infielder Logan Forsythe is sidelined indefinitely with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Two other players -- pitcher Casey Kelly and Minor League outfielder Rymer Liriano -- needed reconstructive elbow surgery in Spring Training.

The last thing the Padres needed was another significant injury. That's why Black felt the team dodged a bullet Wednesday.

"Those things don't look good when they happen," Black said.

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Yonder Alonso's homer builds case for breakout

Yonder Alonso's sixth-inning home run against the Mets on opening day went to deep right field -- where six of his nine 2012 home runs landed. 

Why is this a big deal? Because Alonso, who will turn 26 next week, now has a tasty target in San Diego, with the Padres moving the right field fences in almost 20 feet. Granted, this home run was hit in Queens, but it may just signal an overall philosophical shift for 2013 -- hit the home runs to right, without the fear of those fences at PETCO forcing adjustments back in San Diego. Additionally, Alonso may have been due to turn some of his 39 doubles last year into some home runs, just through a natural progression of his career. 

A former top prospect who showed decent power potential in the minors, Alonso is owned in just 65 percent of leagues. I could see that going to about 75 percent by the end of the week. 

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Yonder Alonso hit on hand

San Diego Padres 1B Yonder Alonso (hand) was hit on the hand by a pitch in the Cactus League spring game Tuesday, March 26, and his hand was swollen.

Fantasy Tip: After the game, Alonso said he could grip a bat, so it appears he dodged a more serious injury. He remains a decent low-end 1B or CI in deeper NL-only fantasy leagues heading into the regular season.

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Yonder Alonso hits 5th HR in 9 games

PEORIA, Ariz. - Yonder Alonso spent part of the offseason looking for more power in his swing. It turns out he just needed to wait a bit longer.

Alonso hit his fifth home run in his last nine games and the San Diego Padres beat a split squad of Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 on Sunday.

Alonso had two hits, scored twice and drove in three runs in another solid performance in his late spring surge.

It's a positive sign for the 25-year-old first baseman, who hit.273 with 62 RBIs in his first full major league season, but had just nine home runs at a position where power is a job requirement.

Following his offseason work, Alonso felt he didn't have to overhaul his swing. He thought his natural gap power would lift balls over the fence with better choices.

"I did a lot of video work, and really dissected my swing to understand it better," he said. "I saw that I didn't have to change what I was doing. The power will come as I mature as a hitter and make better and better decisions at the plate. So far this spring, it's been working."

Alonso has picked it up after he was 4 for 29 in his first nine spring games. On Sunday, he drove a 1-2 pitch from Wily Peralta in the fifth inning over the wall in right.

"Yonder has taken good swings over the last two weeks," Padres manager Buddy Black said. "The home run was nice, but I really like that it came with two strikes. He wasn't doing a good job of making two-strike contact early in spring, so this was an important at bat in that regard.

"I also like that he wasn't trying to hit a home run in that at-bat. It's tough to try and generate home runs with his swing, and we're comfortable with where it is right now. If he makes good contact, the home runs will come on their own."

With star third baseman Chase Headley out with a broken left thumb and left fielder Carlos Quentin recovering from knee soreness, Alonso is the Padres' only middle-of-the-order hitter with a full spring under his belt.

That doesn't mean Alonso will try to carry San Diego's offense on his own.

"I'm just one piece of a larger puzzle," Alonso said. "When you try and take on too much or assume more responsibility, you end up hindering your own progress. I'm just going to be me, and try to drive in runs whenever possible."

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Padres need breakout year from Yonder Alonso

The news coming out of the Padres' camp has seemingly been all gloom and doom of late. Which makes Yonder Alonso's recent resurgence at the plate all the more refreshing, even if these are still exhibitions.

Over the last seven games, the Padres first baseman is 6-for-19 with three home runs and six RBIs. This after he started the spring 3-for-22 and struggled to make contact, much less hard contact.

When the games do start to count, Alonso, soon to be 26, may remain the Padres' best bet at a ray of sunshine.

With Chase Headley out, Carlos Quentin coming back from a balky knee and Yasmani Grandal suspended, Alonso for now is the preeminent power bat in the lineup (not counting an unproven Jedd Gyorko), even if he did hit only nine home runs in 2012.

The evidence suggests he's capable of more.

He hit a team-high 39 doubles last season (eighth in the NL), he posted good power numbers in the minors and, tossing aside less meaningful spring trends, he consistently makes contact.

The next and needed step for the Padres: He breaks out in 2013.

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Yonder Alonso, Eddy Rodriguez Have Madness For Miami

PEORIA, Ariz. — The alma mater of Padres catcher Eddy Rodriguez and first baseman Yonder Alonso has appeared in 23 College World Series, of which they have won four. However, in men’s basketball, the University of Miami is seeking its first NCAA championship, something Rodriguez and Alonso are confident will happen in just a few weeks.

The Hurricanes are the second seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s East Region. They open play on Thursday against the University of the Pacific.

“It’s unbelievable. Normally we’re a baseball and football school and now our basketball team is getting close to maybe achieving that prize of winning the championship,” said Rodriguez, who was the starting catcher for the University of Miami before being drafted in 2006 to the Cincinnati Reds.

Despite Rodriguez’s devotion to his alma mater, he says he won’t be filling out a bracket this year. “I personally don’t [have a bracket]. I know that Yonder does and he’s a big Miami guy too, but if I was doing mine I’d be pulling for the home team all the way throughout.”

Alonso did fill out a bracket, and he’s definitely behind his former team. He picked the Canes to go all the way, predicting an 88-82 win against Gonzaga.
Alonso played baseball at Miami for three seasons, leading the team to the College World Series in 2008 as the No. 1 seed. That year Alonso was drafted seventh overall by the Cincinnati Reds, and was traded to the Padres in 2011.

“They’re getting better and better and finally they put it all together. I’m definitely pulling for them in March Madness,” said Alonso.

Luckily for Rodriguez and Alonso, the Padres have Thursday, the first full day of the NCAA Tournament, off. They plan to take advantage of that and watch Miami take on the fifteenth seeded Pacific Tigers.

Alonso is going to have teammates over to watch the game, while Rodriguez will watch the Hurricanes before attending a Phoenix Coyotes hockey game Thursday night.

Padres’ outfielder Will Venable shares March Madness from a different perspective. He played basketball at Princeton University and competed in the NCAA Tournament in 2004.

“Playing in the Ivy League you only get to play really big games when you go outside of the conference, but even some of the games we were able to play didn’t amount to half of what it meant to play in the NCAA Tournament,” Venable recalls about playing in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Tournament as a junior.

“You realize how important it is not to just your team but to everyone around the country. It’s really something special to be a part of.”

With Princeton not making the tournament this year, Venable will be rooting for Georgetown, home to his former coach at Princeton, John Thompson III.

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Yonder Alonso makes changes to stance

San Diego Padres 1B Yonder Alonso made changes to his stance this offseason with the help of hitting coach Phil Plantier, balancing his body and putting more of his legs and torso into his swing, which he hopes will add more power. "To me, the changes are dramatic," Alonso said. "When Plantier and I started working, I opened myself up to any ideas. I want to add some power to my swing. What he did was make me more balanced at the plate so I could move quicker to the ball. We changed my swing a lot and worked on my lower body." Knee surgery affected Alonso's lower half before the start of last season.

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Manny Machado engaged to Yonder Alonso's sister

Item! (that was for you, Jackie Harvey): Orioles infielder/phenom Manny Machado tells Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun that, yes, he is indeed engaged to be married to the sister of Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso. A wedding date has not yet been set.

Machado is still just 20 years of age. As for big brother's approval, it seems that they have it. Schmuck, after noting that Machado and Alonso are close friends, writes:

Machado said Yonder is almost as excited about the engagement as the happy couple.

"We're already like brothers,'" he said.

Yes, it so happens that the Orioles and Padres will meet in interleague play this season -- twice, in fact: in Baltimore on May 14-15 and in San Diego on Aug. 6-7.

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Yonder Alonso envisions big things for Padres

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- With just 69 games of big league experience heading into 2012, Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso received an education on the full-season grind, complete with slumps, streaks and adjustments.

He, along with then-rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal and right-hander Edison Volquez, had to adjust to a new organization. All three were traded in December 2011 from the Cincinnati Reds.

Though San Diego entered last year's All-Star break 34-53 -- never reaching above .500 -- the Padres went 42-33 in the second half, finishing fourth in the National League West.

"I honestly think it was just the fact that we had experience with the first half," said Alonso, who spoke at the University of Miami's preseason baseball banquet Thursday night. "Certainly we had a lot of younger guys like myself -- a lot of rookies -- where we didn't know the system, the teams. The more we played the more familiar we got. We felt more confident with ourselves and got comfortable in our surroundings and started playing like we know how to play."

Yet, this offseason, San Diego's biggest transaction was recently avoiding arbitration with All-Star third baseman Chase Headley by agreeing to a one-year, $8.575 million contract.

Headley provided a steady presence in the middle of the lineup and at the hot corner for the Padres, hitting for a career-high .286 average with 31 homers and a league-leading 115 RBIs. The 28-year-old finished fifth in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting and received a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger.

Much like the surging Padres, Headley's success came after the Midsummer Classic, with 23 homers and 73 RBIs. Alonso, 25, still marvels at Headley's season, comparing his value to the likes of Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera.

"He was out of control," said Alonso, who batted .273 with nine homers and 62 RBIs in 155 games. "There were two or three months there that were unreal. He always plays every day, and that's one of the things that I thrived on this year -- to play as many games as I can."

San Diego also agreed to Minor League deals with starting pitchers Tim Stauffer, Arturo Lopez and two-time All-Star Freddy Garcia. Right-hander Jason Marquis, 34, re-signed with the Padres, but the organization missed out on free agents Dan Haren and Joe Blanton.

The Padres will be without Grandal (.297, eight homers, 36 RBIs) -- a former collegiate teammate of Alonso's at the University of Miami -- for 50 games as he serves a suspension for testing positive for testosterone.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers spent more money, the Arizona Diamondbacks worked trades and the San Francisco Giants kept most of their World Series championship squad intact.

Still, Alonso believes the team will compete, and that it hasn't lost its momentum from the second half of last season. In 2012, San Diego dropped five games to the Dodgers by one run and six to the Giants by two runs or fewer.

"We play fine with those guys," said Alonso, who leaves for Spring Training in Peoria, Ariz., on Sunday. "It doesn't scare us one bit. We just have to execute, make our game plan work and go from there. I think our team is fine, I think our team is great. We have the pieces we need to challenge other teams and play good baseball.

"We have the No. 1 prospects in the country. We have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, and I think that's how you're going to win. You're going to win with young guys, guys who want it really bad, and that's just how it is in San Diego. We're going to win."

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proCanes Jon Jay, Yonder Alonso remember coach Fraser

MIAMI -- The passing of Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Earl Weaver saddened baseball fans across the world last week.

In Miami, baseball fans also mourned the death of legendary University of Miami head coach Ron Fraser. The "Wizard of College Baseball" passed away last Sunday at the age of 79 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Fraser, who won two national championships at Miami, revolutionized college baseball and had a huge impact on the lives of young men growing up in Miami who dreamed of one day becoming Hurricanes.

"I have pictures of myself at Ron Fraser Baseball Camp on the old turf field," said Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay. "That's really where I started to fall in love with UM. Ever since then, I always wore my UM cap everywhere I went."

Jay is one of several Miami natives in the big leagues who grew up watching Fraser's Canes dominate college baseball. The 27-year-old remembers meeting Fraser as a child and spending time with him in his three years playing at Miami.

"Ron Fraser reinvented the college game," Jay said. "He's somebody that really made his mark and changed college baseball forever. It's a big loss."

Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, who was a teammate with Jay at Miami, remembers the moments he spent with Fraser fondly.

"I got to hear a lot of stories," Alonso said. "He would come around and talk to us. Obviously, it's a sad moment for us as Hurricanes and for baseball in general. He was a great coach, one of the greatest ever in the NCAA. As a player and a fan, you feel very sorry for his passing. He was such a great inspiration for the Hurricanes, and he's in a better place now."

Alonso was one of several big leaguers who attended the second annual Jon Jay Celebrity Bowling Challenge at Lucky Strike Lanes in Miami Beach on Saturday. Cardinals infielders David Freese and Daniel Descalso, Astros infielder Tyler Greene, Phillies outfielder John Mayberry, White Sox outfielder Blake Tekotte, Orioles catcher Luis Exposito and Nationals first baseman Chris Marrero were just some of the nearly 30 baseball players who came out to support Jay as he raised more than $30,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade.

"All those people are good people," Jay said. "I try to surround myself with good people. I can't thank them enough because without them, this event wouldn't be possible."

Jay often takes the opportunity to give back in his hometown. Last year, Jay's Bowling Challenge raised more than $25,000 for Chapman Partnership, a local group that helps Miami's homeless. This year, Jay decided to give back to a place that is very special to him.

"The Boys' Club is really where I grew up," Jay said. "It's where I played ball and went after school. That's a place that had a big impact on me, and I just want to provide the same opportunity for other kids."

Jay, who hit .305 and played stellar defense for the Cardinals last season, is pleased with how the Celebrity Bowling Challenge has grown and hopes to continue his charitable efforts for years to come.

"We're excited about it," Jay said. "Last year, it was kind of put together quickly, but this year, we were able to plan it with a little more time and it's been successful. I'm so happy for the support the community has given me. This is where I was born and raised. I wouldn't be where I am without a lot of people that are here today. It's nice to get everyone together and have a good time for a good cause."

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Yonder Alonso To Benefit From Changes To Petco Park

By altering the dimensions of Petco Park, the Padres could be playing a very different brand of baseball in these coming years. Long thought of as one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in all of baseball, Petco Park might have a new identity in the future. Due to their decision to move the fences in, the Padres will have to build their team in a different way. For players like Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko, the new dimensions could be extremely beneficial to their success at the plate. However, for pitchers like Edinson Volquez and Eric Stults, they are going to have to learn to keep the ball on the ground more in 2013.

The new dimensions at Petco Park are drastically different from the old. In Right Field, the wall is moving in 11 Feet. In Right-Center and left-center, the walls will be moved in 12 Feet. Also, the visiting bullpen down the Right Fieldline is being relocated to Center Field behind the home bullpen. Padres president Tom Garfinkel told ESPN, “Players know what’s fair and what’s not. When they crush a ball that would be out in 29 other parks, and it’s not out here, they know that it’s not fair. We wanted to make it more fair from that standpoint.” This is the way a lot of baseball feels about extreme pitcher’s parks, so not too many people seemed unhappy with the Padres decision.

Just looking at Yonder Alonso’s 2012 hit chart, if he had played at Petco with its new dimensions, he could have had anywhere from 6-8 more Home Runs in 2012. For someone who only hit nine all season, that makes a pretty big difference. The fantasy baseball implications of the Petco Park dimension change are enormous. Now, Chase Headley looks a lot more likely to repeat his tremendous 2012 season and Cameron Maybin looks like a good bet to break 10 HRs in 2013, something he’s never done before in his Major League career.  I wouldn’t be surprised if more Padres pitchers started throwing more sinkers and trying to keep the ball down more because of the new fences.  Overall, statistics for Padres hitters and pitchers are going to change greatly over the next couple years.

San Diego is no longer going to have a ballpark where hitters find it nearly impossible to hit it out. With these changes, Petco Park will become more of a fair environment for hitters and pitchers. Not to mention, it should be easier for the Padres to draw Free Agent sluggers in the future. Even though teams have proven that it is possible to be very successful playing in a pitcher’s park, the Padres organization realized it wasn’t going to work for them. It will be extremely intriguing to see what kind of effect the new dimensions has on the Padres next season.

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All Canes Radio With Yonder Alonso

Every Thursday Night proCanes.com joins All Canes Radio to bring the latest news on not only current Hurricane football but also proCane news and exclusive interviews with current and former proCanes live from Shake Shack in Coral Gables. Click here to listen to this week’s show and hear our exclusive interviews with proCane Yonder Alonso. Alonso talks about being called up to the Major Leagues last year by the San Diego Padres, his friendship with other proCane Padres, the state of the current UM Baseball team, and much more!

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Yonder Alonso Loses Out On NL Rookie Of The Year Award

Screw you Baseball Writers’ Association of America for not picking Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso for National League Rookie of the Year.

Instead, you picked the just turned 20-year-old, Bryce Harper. The same Bryce Harper who the media portrayed as “cocky” but soon fell in love with. Who knows why? maybe it’s his boyish smile, or the fact that he isn’t even old enough to drink.

What does Harper have on Alonso? All Alonso did was go out and lead the league in doubles, and most importantly, he’s a player on my favorite team, so that should be a good enough reason as to why Alonso should have been Rookie of Year.

In all seriousness, congratulations to Bryce Harper for winning this year’s National League Rookie of the Year. I’m sure Alonso would have liked to win the award but he has his eye on a bigger prize. I’m not talking about an award but maybe a ring?

Also, congrats to Mike Trout for being named the American League Rookie of the Year.

Other candidates for National Rookie of the Year were: Wade Miley of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wilin Rosario of the Coloardo Rockies, and Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds.

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Is Yonder Alonso next season's Chase Headley?

Chase Headley was a revelation this season. Will Yonder Alonso open our eyes wide next season?

Both players took four seasons to move from Single-A to everyday major leaguer.

Both players displayed a solid power stroke in Triple-A ball only to watch those homers turn into doubles in the Big Leagues.

It took Headley a while to figure out Petco Park, but he's always been productive on the road. Entering 2012, he was a career .303 hitter away from home. He hit .300 on the road this season -- with a respectable .272 at home -- with five more homers (18-to-13), 13 more RBI (64-to-51) and seven more steals (12-to-5).
In Alonso's first season in San Diego, he actually performed slightly better at the behemoth ballpark. He hit .276 at home, compared to .271 away. He homered more on the road (6-to-3), but actually had the same amount of RBI (31) and doubled more (23-to-16) at Petco.

Even though Headley accrued 55 more at-bats, Alonso led the Padres in doubles with 39. Headley had 31.

Like Headley, Alonso has had success on the road his entire career. He was a career .291 hitter before this season.

Is it a stretch to believe with another season of experience, Alonso will continue to mature as an offensive force? His trajectory is 20-25 home runs, 80-90 RBI and a .290-.300 hitter.

Outside of steals, the main difference between Alonso and Headley next season is where you can draft them. Headley will undoubtedly be a Top 25 pick because of his production and position. Alonso will likely be a late round flier if fantasy owners don't buy him making a jump in power.

As of now, most won't.

I believe he will be a steal.

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Yonder Alonso leads Padres past Giants 6-4

SAN FRANCISCO — Yonder Alonso's two-run single in the seventh inning snapped a tie and helped the San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 6-4 on Sunday.

Mark Kotsay hit a home run and Yasmani Grandal also drove in a run for the Padres, who had lost four of their previous five games. Everth Cabrera had four hits, walked and stole three bases in five plate appearances.

Xavier Nady, who had two hits, Eli Whiteside, Emmanuel Burriss and Buster Posey each drove in runs for the Giants, who rested their regulars a day after clinching the NL West Division title.

Eric Stults (7-3) worked six-plus innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, to win his sixth in seven decisions. He struck out four and walked one.

Yusmeiro Petit made his Giants' debut, allowing two runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out one.

Clay Hensley (4-4) took the loss after giving up Alonso's hit.

Huston Street pitched the ninth for his first save since Aug. 10, his 22nd of the season and 200th of his career. His scoreless streak ended at 21 2/3 innings.
It wasn't easy.

Pinch hitter Aubrey Huff singled to lead off the ninth. Street got pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval to fly out to right but then walked pinch hitter Hunter Pence and Hector Sanchez to load the bases. Posey grounded out, driving in his 98th run of the season before Ryan Theriot lined out to center field to end it.

Petit made his first major league since Sept. 6, 2009 when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks as the Giants had their six-game win streak and seven-game home win streak stopped.

The Padres scored their first run in the second when Theriot threw the ball into left field trying to catch Alexi Amarista off second base following a sacrifice fly.
Nady doubled home a run and Whiteside hit a sacrifice fly to put the Giants up 2-1 in the fourth.

Grandal's single tied it in the fifth and Alonso's hit put San Diego ahead in the seventh.

Burriss hit an infield grounder to score a run in the seventh.

Kotsay hit his pinch hit home run in the eighth. Cabrera followed with a walk, stole second and third and jogged home when Hector Sanchez's throw went into left field.

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Yonder Alonso reflects on "long, tough" rookie season

PHOENIX — Yonder Alonso says nothing he learned in the minor leagues prepared him for the day-to-day grind of a major league baseball season.

“The biggest thing you don’t know about before you get here is the everyday pressure of the game,” the Padres' 25-year-old, rookie first baseman said recently.
“You can’t take days off mentally in the major leagues. You can’t hide. If you do, a 1-for-4 becomes a 1-for-27. You have to prepare yourself every day. And I don’t think that’s something you recognize right away.

“I was about half way through this season before I fully understood what I needed to do . . . how I needed to prepare myself mentally. And that’s what it’s all about, mental preparation.

“Nothing in the minors gets you ready for that part. In the minors, no one has a book on you. Here everyone has a book. Eventually, you create a book. About a month into the season, I realized I had to gear up, but I still didn’t realize what that totally meant.”

Although Alonso’s name hasn’t drawn much attention in regards to the National League Rookie of the Year award – Phoenix left-handed starting pitcher Wade Miley, Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario and the Cincinnati infield duo of Todd Frazier and Zach Cozart – Alonso has had a solid season.

Two hits Thursday afternoon gave him a rookie-leading 140 on the season and raised his batting average to .278. He also leads all National League rookies in doubles (35) and walks (58), ranks third in RBI (56) and on-base percentage (.352) and is fifth in extra-base hits (43) and total bases (199).

“Talent only gets you so far,” Alonso said looking back on his first full season.

“This is the most games I’ve ever played. And it’s day after day. I’ve learned you have to separate things. Not dwell on the things that go wrong, stay balanced, even keel. You can’t panic when things aren’t going your way. Eventually good times will come.

“The whole year was tough as a learning experience. But that first month, it was really rough, handling that losing. You can hide things better when you are winning. Things were really going bad early.

“We overcame a lot of things. We’re going to be good. It’s just a matter of time. There’s a lot of good young talent.”

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Yonder Alonso plates lone run in loss to D’Backs

Yonder Alonso had a nice night at the plate in a losing effort against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, going 2-for-3 and driving home the Padres’ lone run.

His sacrifice fly off Ian Kennedy in the first inning gave the Padres the early lead, but that would be the extent of their offense in the game. Alonso has really picked it up as of late, hitting .444 (11-for-25) with a homer and 10 RBI in his last seven games.

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Yonder Alonso singles home winning run in 9th inning

His fourth hit of Sunday's game scored Everth Cabrera from second, giving San Diego a 12-11 walk-off win. San Diego had led Colorado 5-2 and 11-5 before giving up those leads. Alonso reached base a total of five times, adding a walk to his double and three singles.

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Yonder Alonso finds consistency offensively

Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso managed two hits for the third straight game Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Alonso has nine multi-hit games in August. He is batting .316 with two homers, four doubles, nine runs and nine RBI in 22 games this month.

Alonso has finally figured it out offensively. He has begun to hit with more consistency since late June. He is batting .311 with a .374 OBP, .468 slugging percentage and .843 OPS in his last 54 games. He is still lacking home run power, which is a huge drawback for a Fantasy first baseman. Alonso is not a must-start option because of his lack of power, but he can be use in deep mixed leagues.

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Against lefties, Yonder Alonso has the right stuff

ATLANTA -- If the Padres ever had designs on sitting first baseman Yonder Alonso more often than not against left-handed pitching, it passed early.

Alonso, a left-handed hitter, has shown that he's more than just proficient against southpaws. Going into Wednesday's game against the Braves -- and against left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm -- Alonso is hitting .274 in 110 at-bats with a .352 on-base percentage against lefties.

The Padres have used Jesus Guzman on occasion at first base against a tough left-handed pitcher. But more often than not, it's Alonso.

"It's crazy, but my whole life I've hit lefties well," Alonso said. "So I think for me, it's not that much of a shock. Even in college, I hit lefties well. I think you have to be patient and aggressive with lefties. You know that you're going to have to hit their pitch."

Overall, Alonso is hitting .276 with 31 doubles, six home runs and 42 RBIs this season, which is his first full Major League season. His average is as high as it's been since June 2, when he was hitting .280. And in the month of August, he's hitting .349 in 43 at-bats.

On Monday against Braves' left-hander Mike Minor, Alonso was able to hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield to allow Chris Denorfia to advance to third base. Cameron Maybin then hit a sacrifice fly to give the Padres an early lead.

Later in the game, and with Minor still on the mound, Alonso was able to shorten his swing and single up the middle through a drawn-in infield to score Denorfia from third base.

"I feel comfortable with him in there," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Black didn't just laud Alonso for his success against lefties, but for what he sees as a young hitter who is faring better in terms of situational hitting with runners in scoring position.

"It's become a focus with him," Black said. "He's learning how to drive in runs [different ways]. I think his situational hitting has been much better."

Alonso has knocked in 24 runs in his last 136 at-bats dating back to July 1. Prior to that, he had 18 RBIs in his first 266 at-bats in April, May and June combined.

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Yonder Alonso settling in defensively

SAN DIEGO -- Padres rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso is having a strong debut campaign at the plate, settling into the heart of the San Diego order and leading all Major League rookies with 29 doubles. But his defense starred alongside his bat in Friday's 3-1 win over the Mets, as the 25-year-old dug out several tough throws in crucial situations.

One of those situations came in the ninth inning, when another pretty good corner infielder, third baseman Chase Headley, barehanded a slow roller off the bat of Jason Bay and fired low to Alonso. Alonso picked it on a short hop to change the complexion of the inning entirely, something manager Bud Black definitely noticed.

"Chase had to make a very good play on Bay's ball in the ninth, but Yonder, if he doesn't pick it, here comes the tying run to the plate," Black said.

That play, and others like it in recent weeks, show just how much the youngster has grown in his first 100 games: The success he's had recently is a far cry from a shaky first couple months in which he accumulated the lion's share of his eight errors.

"You wipe out the first six weeks, he's played really solid defense," Black said. "I think in April and early May there are some things he would definitely want to do over. ... He's been much more fundamentally sound around the bag. ... He is much improved."

Alonso has worked with third-base coach Glenn Hoffman on picking those short hops, and has also shown significant improvement in his awareness around the bag, as evidenced by his quick retreat to first prior to a Chris Denorfia throw from right field Friday night. Improvements like those, Blacks says, are just as important as Alonso's continuing development as a big league hitter.

"Defense at first base is, for me, underrated. It is a crucial position defensively," Black said. "If you have a defensive first baseman, it is a huge advantage. And if he can hit and play defense? Boy, is that a bonanza."

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Yonder Alonso breaks out of slump back home in Miami as San Diego loses to Marlins

MIAMI — Miami native Yonder Alonso was in an 0-for-19 slump heading into the series against the Marlins. As family and friends watched, he broke out of the slide.

Alonso hit a tying, two-run homer in the eighth Sunday for the San Diego Padres, who went on to los to the Miami Marlins 5-4 in 10 innings.

“It’s always a good thing when a player goes back to his hometown,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “A lot of players enjoy that situation more than not.”
Alonso was 5 for 13 with five RBIs in the series as the Padres lost two of three.

“It was good,” Alonso said of the series. “Obviously I wish we had more wins, but for me personally it was pretty good. It was fun. I enjoyed it a lot. It was everything that I was hoping for.”

Alonso’ homer against Edward Mujica was a 410-foot drive to right.

“It was a sinker that stayed middle over the plate,” Alonso said. “I was just trying to drive it.”


Yonder Alonso Yasmani Grandal, Padres rout Astros

Yonder Alonso tallied two hits, including a two-run homer, to go with three RBI and two runs scored as the San Diego Padres downed the Houston Astros, 8-2, in the second installment of a four- game set.

Cameron Maybin registered three hits, two RBI and a run scored, while Yasmani Grandal added a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored for San Diego, which has won three of its last four on the heels of a four-game skid.

Ross Ohlendorf (3-0) fanned six and surrendered two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and one walk in six innings.

Jordan Lyles (2-6) was charged with five runs on 11 hits and two walks in six innings for Houston, which has dropped 14 of its last 16 contests. Marwin Gonzalez recorded three hits and scored a run.

With the game tied 2-2 after four, the Padres plated six unanswered runs -- two in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh -- to seize control of the contest.

Logan Forsythe slapped a one-out single to right-center and scored when Chase Headley hammered a double to left in the sixth. Headley came home two batters later on Grandal's base hit up the middle to make it 4-2 in favor of San Diego.

Alexi Amarista smacked an RBI single to left in the sixth, while Alonso's RBI double to deep center and Maybin's two-run ground-rule double to left made it 8-2 in the seventh.

Earlier, Houston struck first in the second on Carlos Corporan's RBI groundout, but San Diego retaliated and took the lead in the bottom half on Alonso's two-run blast to left.

The Astros got the run back in the third on J.D. Martinez's run-scoring base hit to left.

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Yonder Alonso's 3 RBIs lift Padres to 8-4 victory over Astros

SAN DIEGO — Yonder Alonso's propensity for hitting doubles helped his team to another win.

Alonso went 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs and the San Diego Padres used a five-run fourth inning to beat the Houston Astros 8-4 on Wednesday.

With two more doubles on Wednesday, Alonso has 23 this year and has hit two or more in a game seven times this season, which is a franchise record. Adrian Gonzalez and Tony Gwynn held the previous mark with six each.

"That's pretty unique," Alonso said. "It feels good when you're in the company of those guys. I knew what was going on and the guys on the team were making jokes about it. It's a cool moment for myself."

Clayton Richard (7-10) allowed four runs in 8 1-3 innings to snap a two-game losing streak. The left-hander gave up nine hits, including two home runs by Matt Downs and struck out two.

"It's so nice to have that type of padding in the game," Richard said. "You know you can make a couple of mistakes."

Richard fell short of his first career complete game and added an RBI double in the sixth.

"When you come to the ballpark as a starting pitcher, that's what you want to do," Richard said. "It's disappointing not making a few pitches at the end there to go through with it."

The Padres won for the fourth time in five games.

"It was a good performance today with contributions all around the lineup," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It's like we've talked about that it's going to take all of our guys to get it done, and today was a good example of a lineup contributing top to bottom."

After Carlos Corporan singled to chase Richard in the ninth, Nick Vincent got one out, but walked Jordan Schafer to put the tying run on deck. Huston Street entered and struck out Scott Moore to convert his 15th save.

"We've talked about Clayton's work ethic and what he does between starts, and he's equipped for a complete game," Black said. "I was pulling hard for him."

Downs' three-run home run in the sixth landed in the first deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field. He hit a solo shot off Richard in the ninth, also to left and has three home runs against Richard this season. Houston has lost 14 of 15 games on the road.

"He's very good," Downs said of Richard. "I think it's just he made two mistakes and I think they were both to me."

After Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez retired the first nine batters, the Padres broke through in the fourth.

The first six batters reached base, highlighted by Alonso's and Chris Denorfia's run-scoring hits. Rodriguez also walked two in the inning and threw a wild pitch as San Diego built a 5-0 lead.

"It's kind of tough to put your full finger on," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "That's kind of been his Achilles' heel, being able to stop those from getting started."

Rodriguez (7-8) allowed five runs and four hits over four innings, snapping a streak of 48 games in which the left-hander had lasted at least five innings.

"He didn't want to come out of the game, but we had to try to get a run on the board," Mills said.

Alonso's double in the seventh scored Denorfia and gave San Diego an 8-3 lead. Chase Headley scored on a Houston defensive breakdown in the fifth as Enerio Del Rosario threw wide of first base on an attempted pickoff. Headley ran to third and Downs skipped the ball past Chris Johnson as Headley scored.

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Yonder Alonso blasts Padres to victory over Astros

Yonder Alonso went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, a home run and three RBI during Tuesday's 8-2 victory against Houston.

Celebration is in order for Alonso owners every time he displays power. It hasn't happened often this season. In fact, Tuesday's pair of extra base hits were his first since July 5. After a terrible opening month to the season and a solid bounce back in May, Alonso posted an abysmal .541 OPS in June. Although he hasn't hit for a ton of power in July, Alonso has posted a great 9/6 BB/K ratio in just 39 at-bats for an encouraging .417 OBP and .853 OPS. Perhaps improved plate discipline will unleash the immense potential of his bat.

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Yonder Alonso blasts Padres to victory over Snakes

Yonder Alonso went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI during Tuesday's 9-5 victory against Arizona.
Alonso began San Diego's offensive explosion by taking fellow top prospect Trevor Bauer deep in the second inning to stake the Friars to a 2-0 lead. He continued to lead the offensive onslaught throughout the evening. Alonso desperately needed a big night. After a terrible opening month to the season and a solid bounce back in May, Alonso posted an abysmal .541 OPS in June and hadn't recorded a hit in July prior to Tuesday. He's probably not ownable in 12-14 team mixed leagues, but a batter of his talent is always worth monitoring.

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Yonder Alonso returns to Padres starting lineup

HOUSTON -- First baseman Yonder Alonso was back in the fifth spot of the order for Wednesday's game against the Astros after not starting the last three games with a sore knee.

Manager Bud Black said it was good to see Alonso in the lineup. He singled in his first at-bat.

"He's a rookie player trying to establish himself in this league," Black said. "He wants to be out there. He wants to play. This guy has been a guy who plays every day."

Alonso made his 66th start of the season on Wednesday in the Padres' 76th game. He pinch-hit in Tuesday's game, striking out in his only at-bat in the ninth inning.

Entering Wednesday, Alonso was batting .253 with two homers and 18 RBIs. After a solid May, he struggled a little in his first 21 games in June, hitting .181 with 15 strikeouts and three walks.

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Yonder Alonso to take a few days off to rest knee

SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Yonder Alonso will not start Sunday against the Mariners, nor Monday in Houston, due to a sore left knee. Alonso said he tweaked the knee sliding on the last road trip, though the pain is more the result of accumulated wear and tear.

"Alonso has a little bit of a cranky knee that we're gonna rest for a day or two ... this is not a situation where he's gonna be on the DL," Padres Manager Bud Black said. "Like all players, once you start the season and get into it, there's always something that's been nagging you. You go in that locker room, there's just something that doesn't quite feel 100 percent ... he got an injection last night to help the soreness, doctors think this will be what he needs to get over the hump."

The 25-year-old Alonso is currently second among Major League rookies with 17 doubles, and is tied for the fourth-most hits (64) in that group. He is hitting .254 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 70 games this season.

"It's sore, but I'll be ready in Houston," Alonso said. "I'll be fine."

Veteran left-handed bat Mark Kotsay will start in Alonso's place at first base on Sunday against right-hander Hector Neosi, and Black said he expects Jesus Guzman to handle first tomorrow night against Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

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Yonder Alonso's homer gives Padres 1-0 win over Mariners

SEATTLE (AP) — Yonder Alonso homered in the seventh inning and Jason Marquis and three relievers combined on an eight-hitter as the San Diego Padres beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Alonso hit his second homer of the season — and seventh of his career — on the first pitch of the seventh inning from starter Hector Noesi.

Marquis (1-1) gave up six hits and four walks and struck out four over 6 1-3 innings. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Noesi (2-7) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. He had allowed 12 earned runs in his previous two outings combined.

Marquis left with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh after a walk to John Jaso, a single by Casper Wells and an error by Alonso at first base. Joe Thatcher, who came in specifically to face left-handed hitters Tuesday and allowed a home run and double before being removed, was called on again.

He got Ichiro Suzuki to ground into a fielder's choice and struck out Dustin Ackley looking to survive the inning.

Padres reliever Luke Gregerson worked out of an eighth-inning jam. Justin Smoak flied out to center after an eight-pitch at-bat with a runner on first. Michael Saunders singled to left, advancing pinch-runner Chone Figgins to third with two outs. But Gregerson struck out Jaso to keep Seattle off the board.

The Padres loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Brandon League. He struck out Cameron Maybin on three pitches and then got Nick Hundley to ground into a 5-2-3 double play.

Noesi temporarily lost command in the fourth, walking consecutive hitters before getting a groundout from Alonso. He struck out the side in the first and got an unassisted double play from Ackley in the third.

The Padres didn't get their second hit of the game until there were two outs in the fifth. Alexi Amarista singled, but was thrown out by Jesus Montero trying to steal second.

Wednesday was the second time Marquis has faced Seattle this year in as many uniforms. He started against the Mariners for the Minnesota Twins on May 5, allowing four runs over six innings 5 at Safeco Field.

The Mariners put at least one runner on base against Marquis in every inning, but could not score.

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Yonder Alonso Welcomes NY's Spotlight

NEW YORK — The team plane from St. Louis got into JFK at 3 a.m. EDT, the team bus arriving at a Manhattan hotel at 4:15 a.m. A car awaited Yonder Alonso a little after noon, taking him to Secaucus, N.J., where he was interviewed by the MLB Network tag-team of Larry Bowa and Matt Yallof for a national baseball-talk show.

Only a few hours later, Padres pitcher Clayton Richard walked into the visiting clubhouse at Citi Field, pointed at the nearest of several televisions in the room and shouted “Whoa!!!” Just about the only person in the room not watching the replay of the aforementioned interview, featuring several close-ups of Alonso, was Alonso himself. Fact is, everyone was impressed with how comfortable their young first baseman looked fielding questions and handling the spotlight

Indeed, it’s New York, and this could be the start of something big.

“I think it’s a little early, real early, but yes,” said Padres manager Bud Black. “The last three weeks or so — I can’t point to a certain day, but it coincided with him getting a few hits and started playing better defense — but whatever it was, it seemed to I think it triggered a better feeling of who he is as a player. He’s been able to hit his entire life, and when that’s the case, I think it gives you a certain confidence.

“I get the sense about him now that now we’re seeing who he truly is. But, again, it’s really, really early.”

So much about the current Padres club is in the “really, really early stages,” as evidenced by a wretched record and last-place status and the makeshift roster with call-ups throughout the clubhouse. But it’s also quite evident that Alonso is asserting himself as not only a player — batting an even .300 as he arrived in the Big Apple — but as a budding leader who stands out and stands up in desperate times.

“It’s important that you have those guys,” said Black, “ those guys who, even when they’re not playing well, they stand up and speak on behalf of the team and represent the organization on a daily basis. Guys who don’t walk away from it. Every day. Good or bad.”

Alonso is only 24 years old, barely more than a rookie in terms of big-league experience, having played 69 games over two call-ups with the Cincinnati Reds before this season. He said he quietly studied the veteran ways of Scott Rolen, Joey Votto and Ramon Hernandez and learned much about how to carry yourself, but he also feels that his exposure to big-time ball at the college level with the University of Miami program prepared him for the attention that comes in the majors.

Thursday was Alonso’s first appearance in a major league game in New York. He busts into a huge smile when he someone says that there are those who take to New York — and the bigness of it — and those who don’t.

“I like it,” said Alonso. “I like New York. I like Chicago. I like Miami. I just like places like this. It brings the best out in you. You’ve gotta bring it. Of course, you’re going to have bad series wherever you are, because that’s baseball. But I welcome it.”

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Yonder Alonso riding hot streak in May

ST. LOUIS - Like any new kid on the block, San Diego first baseman Yonder Alonso tried hard to fit in.

Maybe a little too hard.

On April 24, after an 0-for-3 performance against Washington, the highly-touted Alonso was hitting .196 in his first season for the Padres.

"I was probably trying to do too much up there," Alonso said. "I was having good at bats, but things weren't falling for me."

Rather than panic, Alonso simply stayed the course. The former University of Miami standout stuck with his original game plan and did not change a thing.

That attitude has paid big dividends.

Alonso is currently one of the hottest players in the National League. He is 32-for-87 (.368) since the dismal start and has hit safely in 20 of his last 23 games. He leads all NL rookies in batting average (.301), hits (43), and doubles (14).

A native of Havana, Cuba, Alonso has raised his average .105 points in the last 28 days.

"He was trying to impress too early," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "In the last few weeks, he's become the hitter we all knew he could be."

The 25-year-old says he knew things would eventually fall into place after the rough start.

"You're going to have days like that, you're going to have weeks like that," Alonso said. "You can't over-think or go crazy over it. You have to keep grinding and come to the park every day thinking things are going to change."

Alonso has developed into a doubles hitter with five two-double games already this season. He is tied for second with David Wright of the Mets for most doubles behind Joey Votto (17).

"My game plan is to keep studying and just try and learn from the past and the mistakes I've made," Alinso said. "Watch and pick up things."

Alonso was acquired from the Reds along Edinson Volquez and two others players in exchange for Mat Latos on Dec. 17.

Now, after overcoming a few early-season obstacles, Alonso feels good about his future in San Diego.

"I'm fitting in with the guys and I've got a normal routine going," Alonso said.

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No longer playing to impress, Yonder Alonso thrives

SAN DIEGO -- In describing how first baseman Yonder Alonso has settled in during his first season with the Padres, manager Bud Black compared him to an employee adjusting to a new job.

The 25-year-old first baseman has adjusted, and the Padres are seeing positive results.

Alonso doubled in a run during a 2-for-4 day in the Padres' 6-2 loss to the Rockies on Wednesday, giving him hits in 12 of the past 13 games, batting .400 (20-for-50) with eight two-baggers over the stretch. He finished the day hitting .292 and had a seven-game hitting streak.

"We've seen a guy that has settled in," Black said before the game. "When you're part of a significant trade, I think there are some internal pressures [you] put on yourself. When we get new jobs, we want to impress. You're not quite yourself, because you're trying to really make an impression. I think that was the case with Yonder."

Alonso joined the Padres along with hurlers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger and catcher Yasmani Grandal in a December trade with the Reds, who received right-hander Mat Latos.

Black said Alonso's progress is reflected in his overall game.

"Even a couple of the errors he made early in the year were made out of haste and trying to make plays, really trying to do some things defensively, because he wasn't doing them offensively," Black said. "He's relaxed. He's swinging the bat like all our scouts thought he would. He's using the whole field and he's hitting line drives."

Alonso agreed he's more relaxed.

"I think the beginning of the season was a little bit fast," Alonso said. "It was a little hectic at times, but lately, I've been slowing the game down. I've been trying to focus better. I focus a lot better, and my preparation has been a little better. And just trusting myself."

Four of Alonso's eight RBIs arrived in his last three games.

"It shows the team is grinding and getting on base and getting in scoring position," Alonso said. "It's always a plus when it's a whole team thing, so it's been good."

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Yonder Alonso misses collision

Yonder Alonso is not too happy with the Phillie Phanatic.

The first baseman was running onto the field Saturday for pregame warm-ups when the Phanatic’s ATV came within a foot of hitting Alonso.

“I didn’t see him coming and he was driving way too fast,” said Alonso. “I was moving around the kids’ choir getting ready to sing the National Anthem when he flew past me on his ATV. I would have sued him.

Alonso’s career-best, nine-game hitting streak ended Sunday. He was 15-for-36 during the streak. He has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games (23-for-60).

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Yonder Alonso honored for chance to use pink bats

PHILADELPHIA -- First baseman Yonder Alonso spent his first Mother's Day in the Major Leagues and had the chance to swing a pink bat for the first time against the Phillies on Sunday.

"It's awesome," Alonso said before the game. "I grew up watching guys swing pink bats and wanted to do that. It's an honor. It's for a good cause."
Alonso was one of three players to use the bats Sunday, as outfielder Chris Denorfia and shortstop Jason Bartlett did as well. Mark Kotsay would have, but he was sidelined with a lower-back injury that he suffered Saturday.

Since 2006, Major League Baseball has celebrated Mother's Day at home ballparks as a platform to raise awareness of breast cancer in the interest of prevention, treatment and a cure. Hundreds of players were expected to use pink Louisville Sluggers, stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo.

"When I got the bats, the first thing I did was take a picture of them and sent it to my mom and dad," Alonso said. "I told them how proud I was to use them."

Reliever Andrew Cashner even got into the act Sunday, not with a pink bat but by wearing pink cleats from Under Armour.

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Yonder Alonso has 2 RBIs to help Padres defeat Rockies 3-2

SAN DIEGO — Finally, Edinson Volquez got his first win with San Diego, and the Padres became the last NL team to get to 10 victories.
Volquez got some help from the bullpen to earn his first victory in seven starts and Yonder Alonso drove in two runs to lead the Padres to a 3-2 victory against the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

“About time,” said Volquez, acquired from Cincinnati in the offseason. “It feels good. I don’t care how I win the game, but I want to win.”

Volquez (1-2) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked four. His ERA went up slightly, to 2.98.

“Tonight I wasn’t sharp like my last three games,” Volquez said. “It happens sometimes. Sometimes you feel like you have nothing and tonight was one of those days. The bullpen came on and did a pretty good job.”

He allowed a run in the sixth on two singles and a walk before being relieved by Joe Thatcher with runners on first and second and one out. Thatcher struck out Todd Helton before Brad Brach came on and caught Michael Cuddyer looking at strike three. Carlos Gonzalez singled in a run that inning to pull the Rockies to 3-2.

“Good ‘W’ for Eddie. He deserved it. He pitched well,” manager Bud Black said. “He battled his tail off today. Found a little bit of a groove in the middle of the game ... then it sort of left him again. But he battled. He really couldn’t find the consistency of any of his pitches. It just goes to show you how this game it. He ended up getting the win on probably one of those starts where he wasn’t his sharpest.

“That was a typical Petco Game where it comes down at the end to relief work or a big hit, and today was relief work and the Rockies didn’t get the big hit,” Black said.

The Rockies were held to five hits.

“That’s not enough to win a game here,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said, “especially when you have two guys that have two hits each.”

The Rockies lost their fourth straight game and their shaky rotation took another hit. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz left with a bruised right quad in the fourth, two innings after he was hit by a line drive by Volquez.

Pomeranz stuck around long enough to hit his first career homer, driving a ball off the facade of the second-deck in left field off Volquez with one out in the third.

Pomeranz was hit on the right leg by Volquez’s liner with one out in the second. He fielded the ball and threw out Volquez. He was checked by the trainer and stayed in the game.

Tracy said he doesn’t think Pomeranz will miss his next start.

Pomeranz (0-2) was the fourth straight Rockies starter who failed to reach the sixth inning. He allowed three runs and five hits in three innings, walked three and struck out two.

Alonso singled in runs in the first and third innings. Another run scored in the second on a wild pitch.

Dale Thayer pitched the ninth for his second career save and first since his major league debut on May 22, 2009, at Florida while with Tampa Bay.

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Yonder Alonso Improving At The Plate For The Padres

At 9-20, the Padres appear to be heading for a 100+ loss season.  Injuries, Rookies playing at the Big League level before they should, and poor performances put on display by most on the roster at inopportune times have made this almost 30 game start a bit of a disaster.  The start to this 2012 campaign has kind of reminded me at times of the terrific flick “Major League,” only the beginning of the movie, where the team appears hapless and cannot seem to find its bearings, not the end where the team ends up on a hot streak.  Parallels to arguably the best sports movie of all time aside, things on the whole have not gone well, and do not appear to improve for a while for our beloved Friars throughout the 2012 campaign.  “Negative Nancy” sentiments about the team’s fortunes in the immediate future aside, it is always better to make the best out of a bad situation.  With that in mind, there have still been some Padres in particular like Rookie First Baseman Yonder Alonso which have showed some improvement over the recent weeks.

As I am sure all of you remember, hopes were pretty high for the then-newly acquired Alonso to succeed as the Padres entered the 2012 season.  The First Base job was open for Alonso to seize in San Diego, and he was expected to hit 5th in a lineup which needed immense production from said spot.  Unfortunately for Alonso, the season’s first 17 games did not treat him well, and things looked bleak for the centerpiece of the “Latos Deal.”

Alonso was 11 for 53 (.196), had a .292 On Base Percentage, and a .250 Slugging Percentage.  Not exactly the production a team expected from a player with such high expectations, and I know some fans that were a tad restless with his lack of productivity at the time.

Undeterred by an early lack of success, Alonso appeared to have got things back on the right track on April 25th.  It was in that game where Alonso went 2 for 4 with 2 Doubles in a 7-2 Loss to Washington where he appeared to started his current streak of solid production at the plate.  Over his last 10 games, Alonso has gone 15 for 40 (.375), and emerged as one of San Diego’s most improved hitters.

During the aforementioned period, Alonso has raised his Batting Average from the paltry .196 mark to a team-leading (for a starter) .271, improved his On Base Percentage from .292 to .336, and best of all, upped his Slugging Percentage from .250 to .375.  Not outstanding numbers by any means, but it still has been nice to have watched his improvement over the last couple of weeks.

As of right now, Alonso is currently tied for the team lead in Hits (26), ranked second in Total Bases (36), and has hit the most Doubles (10) so far this season by any Padres player.  Trumpeted by management as a solid gap hitter, Alonso has done just that over the course of his last 10 games.  Yonder has hit 7 Doubles over said span and illustrated why his swing is very conducive to Petco’s cavernous dimensions and favor gap and opposite field power.

Despite his improvement, Alonso’s stat line which currently reads “0 Home Runs and 4 RBI’s” is a bit distressing to some.  To me however, I’m not overly worried about either statistic and feel like these are not causes for concern, at least in the short-term.  Alonso plays half his games at Petco, and some of those Doubles he has laced would have been easy Home Runs in other ballparks around the league.  As for his RBI total, Alonso and his other teammates cannot drive in runs, if there is nobody in scoring position, let alone on base.  If these numbers stay the same at the end of this month then I will begin to worry a bit, but for right now, they are simply numbers which he can easily improve (at least the RBI’s).

This article is by no means me saying that Alonso is a finished product, and we should forget what we had in Adrian Gonzalez and all his awesomeness.  In fact, Alonso still has a long way to go as a player, and the season is not even 1/5th of the way over.  It still would be nice to see Alonso develop a little bit more pop in his swing, he could use a bit more discipline at the plate (9 Walks to 18 Strikeouts is by no means bad but can be improved), and his Defense (4 Errors so far) could use some work.

Before the season began, I discussed how Alonso could be a possible Rookie of the Year candidate at the end of the season and why.  Granted, Alonso will probably have to increase his power and RBI numbers to force his way into the conversation by year’s end.  Still, if Alonso could put up a season of .280 15 HRs’s, 20 Doubles, and 80 RBI’s, he would turn some heads and have a nice foundation to build on after his first full season in the majors.  It is at least comforting to know now that shipping Latos out of town as well as Anthony Rizzo has not been a total loss.  Thus, let’s hope Alonso keeps improving at the plate and with the glove, because the Padres are going to need all they help they can get this season.

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Yonder Alonso having double fun at Petco Park

SAN FRANCISCO -- First baseman Yonder Alonso went into Friday's game coming off a stretch where he had two doubles in each of his last two games, Wednesday and Thursday against the Nationals.

It marked the 13th time a Padres player has hit two or more doubles in consecutive games and the fourth time a Padre has done so in successive home games.

The last player to do so was Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn in 1998. Not only that, Alonso, who is in his first season with the Padres, became the first player to accomplish the feat at Petco Park, which opened in 2004.

Is Alonso's line-to-line approach to hitting the perfect fit for Petco Park?

"I don't think about the field. But I think it's a field where I can hit a lot of doubles," he said. "But if you look at it, at a smaller ballpark, I might be able to hit more home runs. But if it's going to be a doubles-type field ... then bring it on."

Alonso, who leads the team with seven doubles, hit 24 doubles in 358 at-bats in Triple-A last season in the Reds' farm system. He hit five more in 98 at-bats with the Reds. The previous season, Alonso hit a combined 38 doubles in 536 at-bats.

Alonso had 17 home runs last season, two more than he did in 2010. He doesn't have a home run yet in 2012, though he's come close a few times.
"I hit more home runs, which was a good sign that I was getting stronger," Alonso said. "I think it's going to be a process where I get stronger and maybe some of those doubles turn into home runs. But now ... doubles are the thing for me."

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Meet The Padres: Yonder Alonso

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Yonder Alonso Struggling A Little at Petco

Yonder Alonso, 1B, SDP: Alonso’s first three games at PETCO Park? 2-for-12 without an extra base hit. San Diego is an exceptionally difficult place to hit, and it’s doubly so for left-handed batters. It took a special one with insane opposite-field power to do so in Adrian Gonzalez; no other left-hander has really sustained success in San Diego since the Padres’ move. Even if Alonso’s power develops, it probably won’t play well as a Padre.

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Ten questions with Yonder Alonso

Q: Your dad was a baseball coach in Cuba, so you grew up with a bat in your hand. What was baseball like in Cuba?
A: It was a little bit different than here. A little bit more fire. It’s such a different game when it comes to the aggressiveness of the game. You don’t play as many games as you do here, so every day is pretty much do or die.

Q: You came to the United States when you were 9, moved to Miami. What was the biggest culture shock for you?
A: You know what, everything was a shock. You kind of appreciate things a little bit more, things that people here maybe don’t appreciate, like even a moving car, or air conditioning, or a microwave. Those are little things that you appreciate when you get here.

Q: You had to learn the language, you and your family lived in a small apartment, and you worked during high school and college. At a time when all your friends were going out on Friday nights, you’re this baseball star and you were helping your family clean offices. What was that like?
A: Sacrificing, you know. It was something I had to do for my parents. They needed the help and you can’t really say no when it comes to family stuff.

Q: Did you hate it at the time?
A: Yeah. It was awful. You wanted to go out with your buddies, you wanted to hang out and kinda live your college and high school life a little bit, but it’s things that I don’t take for granted at all. Now that I look back, it made me the person that I am today and I’m stronger for it.

Q: You were traded to the Padres from the Reds. What did you take from your time with the Reds?
A: So many things. Great friends, good teammates. They showed me the way to play the game the right way. Not just on the field but outside the field. All the preparation it takes to play the game and learning how to be a Big Leaguer.

Q: What do you love most about first base?
A: If I had to go with one thing, it’s probably talking smack to the other team when they get on first base. Sometimes they’re in a bad mood and that’s when I really get after it with them. Just trying to get in their heads a little so they don’t steal.

Q: I’ve always wondered what you guys talk about. Are you catching up on family? What?
A: Depends on the guy. If I know the guy well, we talk a little bit about family, but once that’s over, I start telling them, “Hey, he might pick over this time, he’s got a really good move, just be careful, this guy is really good.” Just trying to blow up our pitcher, blow up our catcher, our defense, so that way he’s kinda tentative to go to second base.

Q: So you’re getting psychological?
A: I’m trying to get in their heads as much as possible. Even when they’re getting the signs I’m talking to them so they kinda get confused a little bit.

Q: If you weren’t a major-league baseball player, you would be a ...
A: Firefighter. Seems pretty cool. And girls like them, so why not.
Q: One thing you want to do in San Diego?
A: So many things. Go to the beach, of course. Sea World. And I really want to hit up all the breakfast spots, so hit me up on Twitter (@YonderAlonsoU) and tell me all the breakfast spots.

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Yonder Alonso finding his stroke, shakes off slow start

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There wasn't a tangible moment this spring when Yonder Alonso's swing came together for him, though the Padres first baseman is quite certain that moment has passed.

He's glad that it has.

After scuffling early, hitting .194 in his first 31 at-bats in Cactus League play, Alonso hit .452 over his next 31 at-bats, with his first home run of the spring in Wednesday's victory over the White Sox.

So what gives?

It's nothing specific that he and hitting coaches Phil Plantier and Alonzo Powell have worked on in those morning hitting sessions in the cage. It has nothing really to do with the mental side of hitting, approach and such.

Instead, Alonso said, it's his body telling him that it's time to hit.

"Your body will let you know when it's time to go," Alonso said. "Your body will let you know when it's time to put good swings on the ball, that it's time to have good at-bats. You can sense it coming ... like your golf swing or your basketball shot. You sense that everything is smoother.

"You hope that at some point it will turn."

It certainly has for Alonso, who is pegged to be the Padres' Opening Day starting first baseman. He went into Thursday's game against the Cubs with a team-leading 20 hits and 62 at-bats, tying him for the 10th most this spring among Major League players.

The Padres have wanted him to play a lot this spring, especially against teams from the National League West -- as San Diego will face its divisional foes 18 times each in 2012. Alonso, who spent parts of last season with the Reds, wanted to see as much divisional pitching as possible.
"I think that it's natural for a guy who comes to a new team in a trade that was pretty high-profile trade in our industry to maybe try too hard to impress," Padres manager Bud Black said. "That might have been part of it. He's smoothed some things out now and as each day goes on, he's more comfortable with our environment."

That he was hitting .194 on March 15 didn't faze Alonzo. That he's hitting .452 since then hasn't either.

"I think you can get too caught up in the first 25 at-bats or first 100 at-bats. The bigger picture is the 500 at-bats you get during the season," he said. "For me, I worry about the three, four at-bats I'm getting that day.

"I have high standards, higher goals. It's a long year, man. If I'm hitting .320, I want to be hitting .360."

Alonso said he spent the first part of games in Arizona trying to track the fastball and recognize pitches. Since then he's moved into attack mode, where he's trying to do damage each at-bat.

In doing so, he has shown the Padres what they expected when they traded for him as part of the five-player deal with the Reds in December -- a player who will use the entire field.

"That's what we have seen," Black said. "I do think there are more hits to left field coming. A lot of his hits have been up the middle, to the right side, the right-field line. I do think in time you'll see the opposite-field hit, the ball down the left-field line."

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Yonder Alonso homers as San Diego Padres beat Chicago White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Once Edinson Volquez settled down, he sure looked ready for the regular season.

Volquez pitched seven solid innings to help the San Diego Padres beat a Chicago White Sox split-squad 13-2 on Wednesday.

Yonder Alonso, Chase Headley and Andy Parrino homered for San Diego, which had 18 hits.

Headley hit a two-run drive for his third homer of the spring. He also had a two-run double.

Parrino’s two-run shot was his fourth homer, and Alonso’s solo drive was his first of the spring.

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Yonder Alonso triples, scores twice in win over Reds

Yonder Alonso went 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored Friday against the Reds.

Playing against his former team, Alonso reached on a single in the bottom of the first inning and hit a leadoff triple in the third. The 24-year-old is hitting .260 (13-for-50) with eight RBI this spring and will get the chance to sink-or-swim as the Padres' starting first baseman this season. PETCO Park is death for left-handed hitters, so the odds are against him being useful in mixed leagues initially.

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Yonder Alonso busts loose as Padres beat Royals

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jedd Gyorko's eighth-inning RBI forceout broke a 5-5 tie and the Padres went on to beat the Royals, 8-5, on Saturday night in Peoria, Ariz.

The Padres jumped out to a five-run lead in the first frame, batting around the order with five hits and a hit batsman. Yonder Alonso belted a three-run double off the fence in right, and Jonathan Galvez drove a two-run homer onto the left-field berm to cap the early scoring.

The Royals got a pair back in the third, though the Padres nearly stifled the rally when Brayan Pena and Alcides Escobar were both heading to third base from different directions. Pena ended up being thrown out in a rundown between third and home. After a walk to load the bases with one out, the Padres tried to turn two on an Eric Hosmer grounder to second, but Hosmer was called safe in a close play and Escobar scored. Billy Butler followed with an RBI single up the middle to close the gap to 5-2.

Padres starter Cory Luebke pitched well in his third Cactus League outing, holding the Royals to a pair of runs on six hits and a walk over four innings. Luebke struck out four, throwing 63 pitches, 44 for strikes. He lost some command in the third inning, giving up three hits and a walk before retiring anyone, but he managed to lower his spring ERA to 2.00.

"The inning they got the runs, the 0-2 pitch to [Pena], I got to make a better pitch there," said Luebke. "He started things off. They battled, they put the ball in play, and some balls bounced in holes. The last inning, I got to work on some offspeed pitches."

Bruce Chen, the Royals' No. 2 starter, had another rough outing, allowing five runs on eight hits in three innings. He allowed no walks and struck out two, while throwing 66 pitches, 46 for strikes. His stuff wasn't fooling the Padres, as they teed off and pushed Chen's Cactus League ERA to 11.74 after three starts.

"I'm taking it one step at a time," Chen said. "Obviously, this is not the way I want to be pitching. After the first inning, I made some adjustments. I think I was a little more aggressive. I'm very happy with the way I threw the ball after the first inning."

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Yonder Alonso will help change the dynamic in San Diego in a positive way

New mix. GM Josh Byrnes made seven trades during his first three months on the job after replacing Jed Hoyer, and most of his work should benefit the Padres. As good as the mix was in winning 90 games in 2010, it was just as bad in losing 91 games in 2011. A team that did all the so-called little things properly -- throwing to the right bad, hitting cutoff men, making plays consistently in the field, heads-up baserunning -- did precious few of them properly last year. Outfielder Carlos Quentin, first baseman Yonder Alonso and veteran extra outfielder Mark Kotsay in particular will help change the dynamic, surely for the positive.

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Padres' 'Hurricanes' keep bond strong with alma mater

PEORIA, Ariz. — They all wear midnight blue and white, but some bleed green and orange.

The San Diego Padres have five players in camp -- including two non-roster invitees -- that attended the University of Miami: first baseman Yonder Alonso, center fielder Blake Tekotte and catchers Yasmani Grandal, Jason Hagerty and Eddy Rodriguez.

“Every time we play with a fellow teammate or someone that played at Miami, it’s really like a family,” Grandal said. “Even if you didn’t play with them, we all know each other.”

Grandal and Alonso came from the Cincinnati Reds in a five-player deal for pitcher Mat Latos. Both players speak passionately about “the U,” as Miami is commonly referred to. Although the school is mostly known for football, its baseball program is just as rich in history.

They’re just two of 38 former Hurricanes on professional baseball rosters from a program that in baseball circles is widely known as one of the best in the country.

“The only reason they talk about the football team is because the publicity they get, but we’ve had almost the same history as they have,” Grandal said. “We’re a good program as well. I think both programs are known nationwide. It’s just a good system they got there whether it’s for football or baseball. We’ve both been successful.”

Grandal spent three seasons as a Hurricane. He played with Alonso during his freshman year. He said Alonso taught him a lot, including how to lead the team.

“That’s the thing about Miami, once you learn the system -- once you learn how to play Hurricane baseball – you try to pass that on,” Grandal said.
Grandal always saw former Hurricanes like Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell and John Jay in the batting cages in the offseason. They always gave him tips to help him improve. The 53rd-ranked prospect by Baseball America said he always wanted to be listed with those players in the school’s media guide.

“More and more you see guys getting up and doing big things,” Grandal said. “Those big things go all the way back to the University of Miami.”
Grandal has a tattoo of the school’s logo inked inside of a baseball with a cross surrounding it. Alonso has a tattoo of the logo as well -- a big orange and green “U” on his shoulder.

“That says enough right there,” Alonso said when asked what the university means to him.

Alonso spent three seasons in Coral Gables, Fla. He still spends his offseason working out at the school’s facilities. Alonso grew up idolizing the program because he appreciated the way Miami played the game.

“A lot of swag,” Alonso said. “They knew they belonged, which is something big. You grow up watching them, imitating them and playing like them.”
At Miami, Alonso became good friends with Alex Rodriguez, who originally had committed to the Hurricanes in high school before he signed his first professional contract with the Seattle Mariners.

Their relationship started when Alonso asked Rodriguez if he could hit with him. Rodriguez thought it was funny Alonso wanted to compare himself to a professional baseball player, but agreed to Alonso’s request.

They went on to hit together for two months straight.

“Even to this day, I just talked to him a couple days ago and we were talking about how it was going with camp and (Padres manager) Bud Black,” Alonso said. “It’s just nice to have someone that knows the game that has been around the game for several years.”

Grandal and Alonso make sure to help current players on the team. It can become a difficult task now that they don’t reside on the East Coast for the majority of the year, but they understand how much the interaction with professional players benefited their play on the field.

“It’s a tradition, it’s an honor,” Alonso said. “With all of that said, you got to make sure you fit that role very well. If you don’t, it doesn’t sit very well with the people around there. You got to make sure that you not only carry it on the field but carry it outside the field, too.”

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Yasmani Grandal's two-run double keys comeback

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jason Vargas pitched a perfect four innings in his Cactus League opener on Sunday, as the Mariners topped the Padres, 5-4, in the annual Charity Game at Peoria Stadium.

Third baseman Kyle Seager went 3-for-3 with a home run for the Mariners and also made a nice diving stop in the second inning to help keep Vargas' slate clean, as Seattle improved to 2-1 in Cactus League play.

The Padres managed just three hits in the first eight innings of their spring opener and committed three errors. First baseman Yonder Alonso, making his Padres' debut after being obtained from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade, got San Diego's first hit with a single off of Brandon League in the fifth inning.

In the ninth, San Diego would double that hit total and tie the game. After a run-scoring single by Edinson Rincon, prospect Yasmani Grandal ripped a two-run double to center, and then the Padres tied the game when Seattle shortstop Nick Franklin lost a pop-up in the sun, allowing pinch-runner Cory Spangenberg to score the tying run. Franklin was charged with an error, giving Seattle three errors of its own.

The Mariners left no doubt in the home half of the ninth, as Mike Wilson singled leading off the inning, and Johermyn Chavez doubled him home immediately after to give the Mariners the walk-off win.

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Yonder Alonso will have to earn 1B job

Padres manager Bud Black said Yonder Alonso will not be handed the first base job and will have to earn it with a strong camp.

Alonso's chief competition should come from Jesus Guzman. The reality, though, is that it would be very surprising if Alonso isn't at first base on Opening Day. Black added that if the youngster does win the job, he'll probably bat fifth or sixth in the lineup. Playing in Petco and having a questionable power ceiling, Alonso isn't a terribly exciting fantasy prospect for 2012.

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5 proCanes on the San Diego Padres

Five of the 60 Padres in the major league camp have common roots in the University of Miami.

And the common link between the five is first baseman Yonder Alonso, who played with the other four University of Miami products in the Padres camp.

Alonso played for the Hurricanes from 2006 to 2008 and has a “U” tattoo in the appropriate colors.

Eddy Rodriguez was the first of three current Padres catchers to play at Miami from 2004 to 2006. Jason Hagerty caught for Miami from 2007 to 2009. And Yasmani Grandal caught for Miami from 2008 to 2010.

Blake Tekotte was Miami’s center fielder from 2006 to 2008.

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Yonder Alonso feels at home among Hurricanes

SAN DIEGO -- There can be something disrupting and halting about being traded from the only organization you've ever known, but Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso felt right at home after he was traded to San Diego from Cincinnati in December.

Alonso, who played at the University of Miami from 2006-08, joined a Padres organization that had four former Hurricanes teammates: outfielder Blake Tekotte, who made his Major League debut in 2011 and catchers Eddy Rodriguez, Jason Hagerty and Yasmani Grandal.

"It feels like I'm home because all of those guys are already here," Alonso said Saturday during FanFest. "For me, it feels like college all over again except that we're all now more mature and wiser."

Adding to the family feel is that Alonso and Rodriguez were best friends at Coral Gables High, which is located a handful of miles from the University of Miami campus.

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Yonder Alonso tops list of San Diego's up-and-comers

Yonder Alonso has been one of the top prospects in baseball for the last couple of years. So it's not surprising that when he was traded to the Padres in the pre-Christmas blockbuster that sent young ace Mat Latos to Cincinnati for Alonso, pitcher Edinson Volquez and highly touted Minor Leaguers Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger, he immediately became his new team's top prospect.

But the deal didn't just clear first base for Alonso, who had been blocked by Joey Votto in Cincinnati. It also sent a message that the already-stout San Diego farm system has gotten burlier, and is now teeming with talent and players on the cusp of Major League readiness.

"Cincinnati drafted me, and I thank them for that. But I feel like we have elite players in the game, right now, when it comes to prospects in San Diego," Alonso said. "Only positive things are happening for the Padres.

"For myself, it's something I've been waiting for. I feel like I can contribute tremendously, and it's something I'm definitely looking forward to. This team is not only getting ready to win now, but in the future, too."

Just take a look at the top names and it's easy to see why. Alonso has been considered ready for the big leagues for a while, and his five home runs and 15 RBIs in 88 at-bats in the Major Leagues last year indicated that the Padres had good reason to say goodbye to their other first-base prospect, Anthony Rizzo, whom they obtained in the 2010 Adrian Gonzalez deal with Boston and dealt to the Cubs this winter.

Catcher Grandal immediately checks in at No. 4 on the Padres' MLB.com list, and reliever Boxberger, who is at No. 12, has a chance to impact the big club's bullpen at some point in 2012.

"Any time you're building the foundation for sustainable success, it starts with scouting, player development -- and there always seem to be those key trades that are tough to swallow sometimes and difficult to take. But they mean change in the organization," said Padres vice president of professional scouting A.J. Hinch.

"When you do a four-for-one and you're trading a talented pitcher like Latos, you'd hope the return is significant. One thing is that we hope to see the fruits of that trade pretty quickly. If the talent and timing matches up and everybody's happy, it's a pretty good success."

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Yonder isn't as important as hits to Alonso

Yonder, as in “off we go into the wild blue . . .,” would seemingly be the perfect name for a slugger.

But when new Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso speaks of hitting, he doesn’t talk in terms of home runs.

“I am not thinking 40 or 50 home runs when I’m thinking about hitting,” Alonso said earlier this week at Petco Park.

“A lot of left-handed hitters and first basemen are thinking home runs,” Alonso continued. “That’s not the type of left-handed hitter I am.

“When I look at Petco Park, I don’t see how far away the fences are. I see a lot of grass. I feel like this ballpark likes the kind of hitter I am.”
A line-drive hitter. A foul line-to-foul line, line-drive hitter.

“First thing with me is put the ball in play,” Alonso continued. “Hit it hard. Level it. I want good at-bats.”

Thinking like that is much of the reason why the Padres preferred Alonso over Anthony Rizzo when deciding their first baseman of the future.

The 22-year-old Rizzo probably has more power in his swing than Alonso as displayed by Rizzo’s 26 homers in 93 games with Triple-A Tucson last season. But Rizzo also struck out 89 times in 356 at-bats with Tucson and 46 times in 128 at-bats with the Padres while hitting .141.
That’s one strikeout every 2 ¾ at-bats as a Padre and once every four at-bats in Triple-A.

Alonzo has struck out only once every 6.3 at-bats during 192 games over the past two years at Triple-A and once every 4.1 at-bats in 127 at-bats over the past two seasons with the Reds. As a major leaguer, Alonso has hit .299 with five homers and 18 RBI and hit .330 with five homers in 88 at-bats last season with a .398 on-base percentage.

The final grade is still out. On MLB.com’s list of 100 top prospects, Rizzo was judged to be No. 37 while the 6-foor-2, 240-pound Alonso, who turns 25 on April 8, is rated No. 39.

But the Padres like Alonso.

“I really like the approach,” manager Bud Black said of Alonso during the Padres three-day, voluntary introduction program for recently acquired players and top prospects.

“He looks good, just as advertised,” continued Black. “Everything I’ve seen validates the reports that he’s a line-to-line hitter. The ball comes off his bat.”

Alonso believes he will be a better hitter at Petco Park than he was at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

“The fences are closer in Cincinnati,” reasoned Alonso. “The outfielders are packed into a smaller space. A lot of balls in the gaps get caught. There isn’t nearly as much grass in Cincinnati as there is here.

“I believe my style will play well here. You can get just as many RBI with a high average with runners in scoring position. And I love hitting in RBI situations.

“I’d rather be at a field where I can get my hits than get a homer. Coming here doesn’t change my game.”

Like Rizzo with the Padres, Alonso was considered the No. 1 prospect in the Reds organization in 2010. But Alonso had a problem that Rizzo wasn’t facing.

Alonso was backed up behind 2010 National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto in Cincinnati. Because of that, the Reds were talking about playing Alonso in left this season just to get his bat in the lineup, although his defensive debut in left last season was less than impressive.

Still, Alonso was a bit surprised when he came to the Padres along with right-handed starter Edinson Volquez, catching prospect Yasmani Grandal and bullpen candidate Brad Boxberger in a trade for Padres ace Mat Latos.

“I knew about Rizzo,” said Alonso. “We’re both out of Florida. But let’s put this in perspective. I had an MVP in front of me in Cincinnati.”

Although the Padres said Alonso was the front-runner at first as soon as he was acquired, Yonder was ready to compete with Rizzo for the first base job when the Padres completely cleared Alonso’s path to the starting lineup by trading Rizzo to the Cubs for right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner.

“I guess that put me at ease,” said Alonso. “Obviously it’s good to know you are being counted upon.”

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Yonder Alonso's big move

After spending most of 2010 at Triple-A, Yonder Alonso returned to Louisville to begin the 2011 season. The former first-round Draft pick caught fire after a slow start and never posted an OPS lower than .871 over the final four months.

Called up to Cincinnati at the end of July, Alonso flashed some of the talent that made him a top-50 prospect entering the 2011 campaign. The University of Miami product batted .330 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 47 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter.

A first baseman by trade, Alonso had his path to the Majors blocked by 2010 National League MVP Joey Votto, so he spent a lot of time in left field. He'll get a chance to return to his natural position in 2012, thanks to the offseason trade that sent him, catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez to San Diego for right-hander Mat Latos. Alonso talked about the trade and the door it figures to open for him.

MiLB.com: How did you find out about the trade?
Yonder Alonso: Well, I was on vacation with my friends and family and I was getting ready to go to a soccer game and I got a call from [Reds general manager] Walt Jocketty, basically telling me that I had been traded to San Diego.

MiLB.com: What was your reaction?
Alonso: It was a couple of reactions. At first, I was a little surprised and I didn't know much about San Diego. And as I started talking to the general manager and some buddies who played for San Diego, it was nothing but good things and I was grateful for the opportunity. I got a couple of friends, one is Eddy Rodriguez, Blake Tekotte, and the other one is Jason Hagerty.

MiLB.com: Do you feel like the trade will be good for you, given that you were blocked at your natural position in Cincinnati?
Alonso: Definitely, I think it's a great trade. I think everyone knows that I was blocked by an MVP. Everyone knows it was tough on my part playing a different position, but I was happy with the outcome. I had to change my ways in the offseason, and now I have a chance to play my natural position and it's something I'm looking forward to.

MiLB.com: Are you concerned that you're moving to a stadium with a reputation as a pitcher's park in Petco Park.
Alonso: No, I think that it will be a good learning experience. I'm a line-drive hitter; I don't consider myself a power hitter. I think it will be a good experience -- I think you become a better hitter. If I can become more polished, that will be good for my career.

MiLB.com: What have you done during the offseason to get ready for the 2012 season?
Alonso: Working a lot and doing everything that I have to do to get better. Training, training, training. That is pretty much how my days go. I catch ground balls, I do a little bit of rehab to get a little strong. People think that [in] the offseason you don't do much, but I feel like I do more in the offseason than during the season.

MiLB.com: You got off to a slow start last season. What happened and how did you turn things around?
Alonso: I think that the slow start was just something that I don't really ... it happens a lot. All my years playing the game, I have started off a little slow. I think it has to do with a little bit of timing and not playing games. After that, it picks up for me and I calm down and not try to do too much. I learned a lot from it. When I got to the bigs [last] year, I let things come to me.

MiLB.com: What was your favorite Minor League park to play in as a visitor?
Alonso: That's [Huntington Park] in Columbus, Ohio. That was definitely one of my favorites. It's a great hitters' park, and the fans are great there.

MiLB.com: How exciting was it to play in two All-Star Futures Games?
Alonso: That was awesome. It felt pretty cool the first time I was there. The second time, it was very unique. I knew what to expect. It was a great experience. I feel like every prospect should go through that experience, just enjoy it and take it all in.

MiLB.com: You saw some time in the big leagues in 2011 and played well. What's the biggest thing you can take away from that?
Alonso: Just letting the game come to me and work hard every day. It's just the same game with better players, and it's a littler faster. Obviously, you have to stay even-keeled. This game is so hard that you can not do well, but you can't feel bad. I learned a lot from [last] year -- definitely just letting the game come to you and not force things.

MiLB.com: What are some of the things you like to do on a day off?
Alonso: Definitely go to the movies. I'm a big movie guy. I usually try to spend as much time as I can hanging out at my house or at the movies. I just saw War Horse, and that was a pretty interesting movie. That was a good movie, it was a touching movie.

MiLB.com: What are some of your favorite movies?
I'd have to go with Scarface. I like Troy and, obviously, Major League is by far the best baseball movie.

MiLB.com: What are some of the songs on your iPod?
Alonso: I have a little of everything, I'm a big Jay-Z fan. I like all the old-school stuff from the '80s. I like a little bit of Latin music as well; it depends on the mood I'm in. In the morning, I listen to Jay-Z. It gets me going. I like that new song -- it's called "Glory" -- and "Ham".

MiLB.com: If you weren't playing baseball, what would you be doing?
Alonso: I'd probably be in school still, definitely getting my degree. My major was sociology and my minor was psychology. I'd probably do something in the field like a firefighter or a teacher. But definitely something with sports on top of that.

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