The Tucson Padres returned to Kino Stadium on Thursday after a short four-game road trip, and there was plenty happening at the park when they got back.
Some of the day's hot topics included:
• Padres general manager Mike Feder said he's "confident we'll get it worked out to return next season." Feder said he's talking to the Pacific Coast League and Tucson Padres owner Jeff Moorad to get final confirmation and hopes to have an announcement in the next two to three weeks.
• The club announced the Vamos a Tucson Mexican Baseball Fiesta is coming back to Kino Stadium on Oct. 5-7 for a second straight year. Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon, Mazatlan and Culiacan are the four teams competing.
• Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew was in the lineup for the Reno Aces, Tucson's opponent, on a rehab assignment. He's recovering from an ankle injury he suffered last season and recently came under fire from D-backs owner Ken Kendrick for not coming back quickly enough.
But, the biggest story of all could come today.
Trevor Bauer, the Diamondbacks top prospect and seventh-best prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com, will be on the mound for the Aces tonight against the Padres.
It will be the former UCLA standout's first appearance in Tucson since he tossed a complete game, 13-strikeout win against the Arizona Wildcats in 2010 at Kindall/Sancet Stadium.
"That was a pretty good one," Bauer said with a smile before Tucson's 4-2 loss to the Aces in 12 innings Thursday.
Local Diamondbacks fans and baseball fans, in general, will get a look at one of baseball's most gifted minor-league pitchers. Bauer is 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 12 starts between Double-A Mobile and Reno. He has 91 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings and opposing hitters are batting just .202 against him this season.
"He's got special talent, and you will be seeing him up in the big leagues," said Reno manager and former major-leaguer Brett Butler. "When people recognize talent, they are drawn to it, and he definitely has it. His work ethic is second to none, and that's probably why he's so good."
His success in the minor leagues is a continuation of his dominance at UCLA. He was the Golden Spikes Award winner in 2011, given to the best amateur player in the country, and went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA his last year as a Bruin. He also threw an eye-popping nine complete games to finish the season.
He's picked up right where he left off and get this: He still thinks he can be better.
"I'm enjoying it and trying to improve every time out," Bauer said. "I go out there and look to work on the things I didn't do well in the previous outing."
Butler said Bauer throws four pitches - fastball, curveball, changeup and what Bauer calls a "reverse slider." The only knock on Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft, is his pitch count can get high during starts because he uses all those pitches.
What Butler and others in the D-back organization would like to see is Bauer not always cycle through all his pitches and instead use his dominant fastball to get lesser hitters in the lineup out.
"I'm trying to limit the pitches I throw," Bauer said. "I'm 21 years old, and I'm not as good as I'll be in another year or two. It will take me a while to be as efficient as I want to be."
It's a fun wait in the meantime.
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