Tucson Padres: Plenty to think about on final road trip

2012-08-27T00:00:00Z 2014-07-25T12:07:09Z Tucson Padres: Plenty to think about on final road tripBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 27, 2012 12:00 am  • 

With his bags and boxes packed before the Tucson Padres' home finale Sunday, first baseman Matt Clark only has to return to Tucson next week to pick up his car and drive home.

If he can't, that's probably a good sign.

Clark and fellow Tucson slugger Jedd Gyorko may not receive September call-ups to San Diego because they aren't on San Diego's overloaded 40-man roster, but Clark is ready just in case he's sent there or anywhere.

"When I get back from the road trip I'll either head home or go where I'm told to go," Clark said. "You just pack up everything. You never know what will happen."

Some of the Padres, especially those without cars, will disperse immediately on Sept. 3 after their final game in Reno. Since it's a day game, some may hop a flight out that night and head directly home.

But while they have packed up, the Padres may not have packed it in.

Yet.

The Padres will play four games at Salt Lake starting today, then finish up the season with four games in Reno.

Here are some things they have to look forward to:

No matter what happens to Gyorko, he's probably going to keep hitting.

The Padres infield prospect had 29 home runs and 96 RBIs entering Sunday's game between his stops in Double A and Triple A this season. He entered Sunday's game with five home runs in his previous seven games, too.

"I'm just putting good swings on the ball and getting some good lift on it," Gyorko said. "Fortunately, I've been able to carry it out lately."

Of course, it's not quite that simple. Gyorko's Tucson numbers are even better than his production at San Antonio, which tells Padres manager Terry Kennedy something.

"Good hitters hit better the higher up they go," Kennedy said. "It's easier, not in that it's a piece of cake, but (pitches) are more around the plate. You don't have to worry about the wildness.

"You have to have clear thinking. But he has great prep, and he understands what they're trying to do to him."

They have a chance to pad their stats.

Both Salt Lake and Reno have hitter-friendly parks, meaning the Padres might be able to add a notch or two to their offensive stats before they go into the 2012 books for good.

"Two good places to finish the year," Clark said. "I like both ballparks. They have good fans. Should be a lot of fun."

They may not give up.

Not only do the Padres have individual goals to keep chasing this week, even though they are far out of the Pacific Coast League's Pacific South Division race, but Kennedy says they've stayed focused all season long despite injuries, heavy turnover and struggles on the field.

"It hasn't been the greatest of years for us because we were the victim of the same things (hurting the organization) in the big leagues," Kennedy said. "But I'm very proud of this club and the fact that they've never quit. When they go out there, they've been very professional."

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