PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pitcher Joe Wieland was surprised Wednesday when, after tossing three shutout innings against the D-backs, he was allowed to throw one more.
"I was definitely surprised," Wieland said. "I thought I was going three and everything I read said I was going three. But he said I was throwing the ball well and to go get another one. I was glad I got another [inning]."
Wieland allowed two baserunners in that last inning but struck out Aaron Hill on a curveball low and away to end the inning, capping a wildly successful day for one of the Padres' top pitching prospects.
Wieland allowed two hits over four scoreless innings with four strikeouts in the Padres' 8-0 victory over the D-backs at Salt River Fields. He threw 52 pitches, including 33 strikes.
"Throwing strikes is one of my strengths," said Wieland, who used his changeup and curveball at times as well as his fastball.
About the only thing that didn't go right was Wieland's at-bat to start the third inning when he struck out looking. Wieland estimates that he only had five at-bats all of last season after being traded from the Rangers to the Padres. Before that, his previous at-bats were in high school.
Arizona pitcher Patrick Corbin struck out Wieland looking on a big curveball.
"That wasn't fair," Wieland said, smiling.
Decker being aggressive, delivering results
PEORIA, Ariz. -- For someone who is used to being in the lineup every day, Padres outfielder Jaff Decker is still getting used to coming into games roughly at the halfway point when the older, more experienced players exit.
"It's a little bit of excitement, waiting to go in, especially if it's a close game," said Decker, who played all of last season with Double-A San Antonio.
"When we go into the game, it's almost a different mentality. Right when you go in, you have got to be ready to go. That first pitch, you've got to be ready to do damage with."
So far, Decker has handled the adjustment well, as he is hitting .364 in 22 at-bats with four doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and three walks. It may be a small sample size, but Decker's on-base percentage in 11 games is .440.
Whereas Decker has walked a lot in the past, he's working on being more aggressive at the plate. So far, the results have been good.
"He's a guy who will continue to be more aggressive. He's got a good eye and knowledge of the strike zone," said Padres manager Bud Black. "And there are a lot of balls thrown at the lower level. In the big leagues, if you take early pitches, you can be down 0-2. ... Now, he's getting ready to hit earlier in the count."
Decker impressed Black with his opposite-field double down the left-field line in the sixth inning of the Padres' 6-3 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday.
"I just need to trust myself, trust my hands," Decker said. "I know I can hit any pitch at any time. I don't want to be so selective."
Split squads allow Padres to mix lineups
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres played their second of six split-squad games on Wednesday, which gave San Diego manager Bud Black the opportunity to mix and match his lineup and pitching the way he sees fit.
So how did Black arrive at his decision as to who would go to Scottsdale to face the D-backs and who would head to Goodyear for a game against the Reds?
Draw names from a hat? Hardly.
Black said that in Wednesday's case, he wants newcomers Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso to see as many National League West Division teams as possible, which is why those two players were on the early bus to Salt River Fields to face the D-backs.
"I look at these two guys getting as much exposure to the National League West as possible," Black said.
As for the players who headed to Goodyear to face the Reds? Black sent a mostly right-handed group of position players because the Reds were, apparently, offering what Black said was "a heavy dose of left-handed pitching."
Black said that some players have a preference -- mostly pitchers in this case -- of not wanting to face division foes in Spring Training, especially later in March.
The Padres typically play a lot of early games in April against NL West foes and this season will play 16 such games, including 13 straight to start the month. So, later in Spring Training, you might not see too many projected starters getting too many looks in that last week against NL West teams here in Arizona.
"Early in spring, it's not that big of a deal. But you look at the last week to 10 days, when the pitch count is getting to 90, 100 pitches and you're playing teams early in the season, you want to make sure that doesn't happen. You want to keep a pitcher away from that," Black said.