© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
06/30/07 11:12 PM ET
Notes: Barrett getting acclimated
Newly acquired catcher adjusting to pitching staff
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- If San Diego pitcher Chris Young had any trepidation over throwing to catcher Michael Barrett for the first time on Friday, it certainly wore off quickly. "Last night was a very easy, smooth transition," Young said. "We were on the same page. He's a smart guy. He's going to do a good job." Barrett, who was acquired on June 20 from the Cubs, has caught every member of the starting rotation -- including Greg Maddux twice -- as well as every reliever. And while Barrett's still relatively new to the staff, he's making progress "It's gone great," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think that it's going to take a couple starts by every starter, a number of appearances from guys in the 'pen to go along with the daily conversations with [pitching coach Darren Balsley] for Michael to feel really comfortable. From what I've gathered from him, he likes what's happening here with the pitchers." Barrett said it helped that he wasn't walking into the clubhouse completely blind to the Padres pitching staff. He had caught Maddux in Chicago and had played with Jake Peavy in the World Baseball Classic last year. "It's a great group of guys, no doubt," Barrett said. "I feel fortunate to have guys that I've played with in the past here. Before coming over here, I didn't really realize there were so many guys over here that I knew. I guess it was easier than I expected." Barrett was talking about his on-field experiences as well as the vibe in the clubhouse, where it's not always easy for a newcomer to come in cold at this point in the season. "I believe in good chemistry and good clubhouses," Barrett said. "It was easy to see that coming from afar and not being a part of it. One of the things that I learned from [former Cubs manager Dusty Baker] was how important it was to have a good clubhouse. Here, we have that. I feel fortunate to be a part of this team. From there ... the rest takes care of itself." Young was certainly impressed. There were a few instances Friday where Barrett made trips to the mound to talk with Young. That wasn't a sign of miscommunication, but an example of Barrett wanting to "make sure he was going to put down the right number," Black said. "It takes several games at least for a pitcher and catcher to get a feel for each other and it builds over time," Young said. "That's what you have Spring Training for. With guys coming in during the season, there's going to be a learning curve there. "It's harder for him, he's got to learn 12 new pitchers and get a feel for their personalities and tendencies for each guy. For me, it's just adjusting to one guy. He's going to do a great job." Still no Sledge: There's no definitive date set for Terrmel Sledge's return to the lineup, though the outfielder said on Saturday that his sprained right thumb is "doing better" than it was when he jammed it on Wednesday in San Francisco. "It's good. ... I will probably swing tomorrow and will play in the next couple of days," Sledge said. "Just trying to take dry hacks, it was just pinching my thumb. It's a nagging part of the body." Sledge said he would like to try to take batting practice before Sunday's game against the Dodgers, though Black felt it might be too soon for that. So long, June: You might have read in April how Mike Cameron -- who hit just .192 in the season's opening month -- was a notorious slow-starter who tends to get hot offensively as the weather does. Heading into Saturday's game against the Dodgers, Cameron was hitting .319 with five doubles, five home runs, 14 RBIs and 17 runs scored in the month of June. That's certainly a far cry from a slow start when he hit .192 with no home runs and just four RBIs in April. Cameron followed that month with a .288 batting average and five home runs in May. Cameron's best month with the Padres last season came in June when he hit .300 and had eight home runs and 15 RBIs. Waiting on Bradley: The Padres aren't completely certain that newly acquired outfielder Milton Bradley will show up before Sunday's game. Bradley isn't expected to play, as he'll get looked over by the Padres' training staff. A roster move will likely be made on Sunday to accommodate Bradley on the 25-man roster. The odd man out is likely reserve outfielder Hiram Bocachica, who is hitting .176 with two home runs in 19 games. If Bradley checks out fine physically, he could be in the lineup as early as Monday, when the Padres open a four-game series at PETCO Park against the Florida Marlins. Friars notes: Black celebrated his 50th birthday on Saturday. ... Black, Cameron, coaches Darren Balsley, Bobby Meacham, Craig Colbert and players Sledge, Cla Meredith, Justin Hampson and Kevin Kouzmanoff joined Hall of Famer outfielder Dave Winfield and Padres CEO Sandy Alderson on Saturday in conducting a clinic at the Major League Baseball Urban Academy in Compton, near Los Angeles. "Got a little tour, met a lot of the kid and parents ... good stuff," Black said. ... The All-Star Game selections will be announced on Sunday. Black feels like the pitching staff is deserving of getting three members in the game -- Peavy, Young and Trevor Hoffman. On deck: The Padres finish their three-game series against the Dodgers at 1:10 p.m. PT on Sunday. Rookie Justin Germano (5-1, 2.67 ERA) gets the start for San Diego, while Los Angeles will counter with Chad Billingsley (4-0, 4.01).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.