Tucson Padres: New approach benefits Anna's offense

2013-05-31T00:00:00Z Tucson Padres: New approach benefits Anna's offenseDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 31, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Dean Anna has made 47 starts at three positions for the Tucson Padres this year.

Where his next start will be is not a concern.

Anna has emerged as an offensive workhorse in his first season at the Triple-A level, and the only way he'll be able to keep it going is by continuing to get at-bats, regardless of whether he's playing shortstop, second or third, where he has started this season.

"He's a grinder," Tucson manager Pat Murphy said. "He goes after it every day, and that makes him special.

"He's an intricate part of whatever small success we've had."

Before Thursday's 10-2 loss to Fresno, Anna, 26, led the Padres with 28 RBIs and six home runs and was tied for the most doubles in the Pacific Coast League with 18. He was also second on the team with 61 hits and third with 32 runs.

"One thing I've been doing is being a little more aggressive at the plate than the years I've been going up in the minors," said Anna, who was drafted by the Padres organization in 2008. "I was a little more passive and would take a few pitches early in at-bats and would get myself in a bad count.

"This year if I see anything that I like, I'm going to attack. That's kind of been one of the big differences why my doubles are up and why my home runs are up."

Anna, who is batting .332 and riding a six-game hitting streak, was not in the lineup Thursday because of a minor right hand injury but Murphy knows he'll be getting plenty of playing time even with infielder Logan Forsythe around on a rehab assignment that started Wednesday.

Forsythe started at second on Wednesday and short Thursday. Anna has combined for 47 starts this season at those two spots.

He grew up as a shortstop and said that has given him the ability to play other positions, too. He has played at six positions (first, second, short, third, left field and right field) in his professional career but still loves short the most because of all the activity.

"I feel like growing up playing shortstop, you just become a real good infielder," Anna said. "If you become a good infielder at shortstop, second base and third base are a piece of cake."

Murphy believes Anna will be a great utility player in the majors, and Murphy also considers Anna's bat to be invaluable to the team.

"He's a tremendous offensive player," Murphy said. "He's got pop, and he can hit lefties. He brings a lot to the table offensively."

Anna is not on San Diego's 40-man roster, but Murphy believes he is capable of getting his first trip to the majors with the numbers he has put up this year.

Inside pitch

• San Diego recalled RHP Nick Vincent and optioned RHP Anthony Bass to Tucson on Thursday. Vincent, who made his major-league debut last June, struck out one in one scoreless inning of relief for the Padres in a 7-1 loss to the Mariners on Thursday. Bass will join Tucson's rotation today.

¡Tus Padres!

• Highlight: Shortstop Logan Forsythe went 3 for 3 and finished a home run short of hitting for the cycle before being pulled in the sixth inning in his second start of a rehab assignment. Cameron Maybin, also on a rehab assignment, hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, but the Padres (28-26) were unable to bounce back after falling behind 6-1, and had their three-game win streak snapped.

• Big number: 9: Fresno out-hit Tucson 16-7 overall and registered nine extra-base hits with five doubles, three home runs and one triple as it won for only the second time in the last seven games.

• Tonight's starters: RHP Chris Heston, Fresno (5-3, 5.63 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Kloess, Tucson (1-0, 3.82 ERA)

Daniel Gaona

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