Tucson Padres: Frustrations surface on the field

2012-08-14T00:00:00Z Tucson Padres: Frustrations surface on the fieldDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 14, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Tucson Padres manager Terry Kennedy is embarrassed. He's also angry, frustrated and annoyed.

For most of the 2012 season, the skipper, his staff and the players have been able to keep any frustration and anger inside the clubhouse. With a 46-75 record entering Monday, there's been plenty of it.

Sunday night, the frustration spilled over from the clubhouse to the field and Monday, Kennedy's emotions were still fresh.

"I was embarrassed and pissed," Kennedy said, "and I still am."

The issue began during the third inning of Omaha's 20-3 win over Tucson on Sunday. Each time the Storm Chasers scored a run, players in their dugout jumped on empty cups, creating a loud popping noise.

It's a recent tradition of Omaha's, and it annoyed Tucson pitching coach Steve Webber. Webber barked at the Omaha dugout, voicing his displeasure.

Omaha manager Mike Jirschele, who was coaching third base at the time, yelled back at Webber. Webber came out of the dugout to talk to his pitcher Alexis Lara, who was in the middle of being roughed up.

Webber and Jirschele exchanged more words before Webber reached the dugout and the umpire issued a warning to both sides.

Tucson's frustration and embarrassment then reached a new level.

Lara, acting on his own, threw a fastball that went right behind Omaha's Wil Myers' head. League rules prompted an instant ejection of Lara, 25, and Kennedy.

"I didn't want to throw at anybody," said Kennedy, who was suspended by the Pacific Coast League for Monday's game because of Lara's pitch. "He told (third baseman) Jesus (Merchan), he was going to do it and Jesus told him not to. He still did. I don't know why. I don't know if it's machismo or immaturity. You see that in rookie ball; you should not see it at the Triple-A level.

"He's been around long enough to know that's not how you handle something like that."

The cup controversy didn't stop there.

Kennedy's frustration continued and he "aired out" Lara for his antics as the two walked down the third base line into the home clubhouse. Kennedy continued to get after Lara in the clubhouse, and the relief pitcher eventually quit on the spot.

"He just said 'no more baseball,'" said Kennedy before Tucson's 5-2 loss to Omaha on Monday night at Kino Stadium. "I've had some guys threaten to quit, but I've always been able to talk them out of it. He wasn't going to be talked out of it."

Myers and the Storm Chasers never responded to Lara's pitch, something Kennedy was grateful for.

But, that didn't lessen the frustration of a last-place team.

"I think guys are frustrated, myself included," Padres outfielder Sawyer Carroll said. "It's been a rough year. For whatever reason, we haven't performed the way we should have this year and our record shows that.

"I don't think anyone has given up and taken that attitude, but it's been a rough year."

Kennedy obviously shares Carroll's frustration. Tucson went 65-79 last season, tied for last place, and this season's Padres (46-76) will likely finish in the cellar as well. In 2010, San Diego's Triple-A team, managed by Kennedy, in Portland, Ore., also finished last.

"Personally, I'm frustrated," Kennedy said. "I've been in Triple-A three years and haven't won. I think everyone is frustrated. Webbey is frustrated and that came out (Sunday) night. You try not to show it, but sometimes it comes out.

"Now, it's time to move on and try to win some ball games during this final stretch of the season."

¡Tus Padres

Omaha 5, Tucson 2

• Highlight: Omaha completed a four-game sweep of the Padres behind a strong performance from starting pitcher Ryan Verdugo. The lefty pitched six innings, giving up one earned run and striking out seven. The Padres didn't hit a home run in the series and had just three extra-base hits - all doubles - in the four games.

• Big number: 1: The Padres held a 2-1 lead after three innings Monday night - the one time in the four-game series the home team led. Omaha tied the game up the next half inning.

• Tonight's starters: RHP Ty'Relle Harris, Iowa (1-2, 3.63 ERA); LHP Andrew Werner, Tucson (1-1, 4.74 ERA).

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