Tucson Padres

Last year at this time, Brad Boxberger was taking in his first big-league experience with the San Diego Padres.

Since then, it's only become better.

The 25-year-old, right-handed reliever has already been sent up from Triple-A Tucson to the majors twice this season and has pitched in five games.

"When Box is locked in, he's as good as there is in Triple-A," Tucson manager Pat Murphy said. "Going back and forth to the big leagues, he realizes he can get them out up there, and he has."

Boxberger's most recent trip to San Diego came June 2-8 and since his return to Tucson, he has struck out 14 and has given up one earned run in 6 1/3 innings.

The Star caught up with Boxberger before Tucson's 5-3 win over the Las Vegas 51s on Friday night. Here's a look at three highlights for him since last June:

The Debut: June 10, 2012

For any player, their big-league debut is going to be special, and Boxberger is no different. His came at Milwaukee, and he had his parents and then-fiancée and now wife, Anna, in attendance.

That was only the start of his season, however. Boxberger made several more trips to the majors and pitched in 24 games by the season's end. Over 27 2/3 innings, he struck out 33 and had a 2.60 ERA.

"Kind of just all about last year," Boxberger said. "There's not one particular moment after the debut," Boxberger said about his 2012 highlights.

Big Escapes: April 20-21, 2013

Murphy said Boxberger has been improving and gaining more confidence. A perfect example of that came when he fought his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning on April 20 at Fresno to earn his second save of the season.

One night later, he gave up a two-run triple with two outs and had the tying run on third before striking out the next batter to earn his third save.

"He was good that week," Murphy said. "He was real good."

First Save: June 6, 2013

Boxberger earned his first big-league save when he threw a scoreless 12th inning against the Colorado Rockies on June 6. One day later, he threw two scoreless innings for San Diego.

"It was my first big-league save opportunity, and I was able to convert it," Boxberger said. "The adrenaline is always there, but it's a little bit more in that situation."

Since his return to Tucson, Boxberger has been eager to get the call to come back up and said he's just been trying to stay consistent and strike everyone out.

Inside pitch

• San Diego acquired catcher Chris Robinson from the Baltimore Orioles organization Thursday for cash considerations and assigned him to Triple-A Tucson. Robinson, who is in his ninth season of professional baseball but has no major-league experience, is scheduled to join the team today in Reno.

• Tucson outfielder Travis Buck appears to be done for the season with injuries to his left foot and ankle, according to Murphy. Buck, who was batting .256 with 26 RBIs, last played on May 31 and has been on the DL since June 7.

¡Tus Padres!

• Highlight: Tucson left-hander Robbie Erlin struck out seven batters over six innings and drove in a run, and second baseman Jonathan Galvez hit a solo home run to help the Padres split the four-game series with the 51s. Las Vegas outfielder Ike Davis hit a pair of solo home runs for the second straight night.

• Big number: Nine. Tucson infielder Dean Anna hit a lead-off single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Anna is three games from matching Daniel Robertson's season-high 12-game streak.

• Tonight's starters: Tucson RHP Anthony Bass (1-1, 9.18 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Bolsinger (1-2, 5.17 ERA)

Daniel Gaona


• What: Padres at Reno

• When: 7:05 p.m.

• Radio: 1290-AM