07/28/10 7:37 PM ET
Padilla, Cabrera carry pride of Nicaragua
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Padilla's record is one game over the .500 mark and Cabrera's batting average is hovering around .200.
But Thursday's matchup between the Padres and the Dodgers is more than just another National League West game. For Nicaragua, the game is about national pride. Padilla, who is from the Pacific coast town of Chinandega, and Cabrera, who is from the southeastern town of Nandaime, were the only two players from Nicaragua to start the season on Opening Day rosters. Houston reliever Wilton Lopez, who was promoted by the Astros in April, is the only other player from Nicaragua currently in the big leagues.
Former big league pitcher Dennis Martinez is the most famous player from Nicaragua, but Cabrera and Padilla are competing for the title of the most popular.
Last year, Cabrera edged Padilla for the Nicaragua's Athlete of the Year award. This year's award is still up for grabs.
Or is it?
Padilla missed almost two months with an inflamed nerve in his throwing arm but has had a productive return. He's 3-2 with 1.30 ERA in his last six starts and 1-1 with a 0.43 ERA in his last three starts.
Cabrera, who missed 41 games this season because of a hamstring injury, went 0-for-2 in Wednesday's 6-1 victory against the Dodgers and has eight hits in his last 33 at-bats. The stretch includes a 3-for-18 slump on the recent road trip to Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
Overall, Cabrera is hitting .201 for the year and there's talk that the Padres might promote an infielder to make up for his offensive and defensive play lapses.
However, it could be a Virginian and not a Nicaraguan that steals the show Thursday. San Diego starter Mat Latos allowed two runs in six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts in his last start in Pittsburgh. It was his first start in 16 days because of a strained left oblique.
Dodgers: Carroll hot vs. NL West
Jamey Carroll is hitting .346 in 31 games against NL West opponents this season. ... The club acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik on Wednesday for Minor Leaguers Lucas May and Elisaul Pimentel and is rumored to be after a handful of pitchers, including Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook, David Aardsma and Scott Downs. ... Outfielder Reed Johnson, on the 15-day disabled list, moved closer to a Minor League rehab assignment Wednesday. ... Reliever Justin Miller cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday.
Padres: Denorfia on tear at plate
Chris Denorfia is hitting .342 with nine RBIs and 10 runs scored over his last nine games. ... Yorvit Torrealba is riding an 11-game hitting streak. ... Duanel Jones, the highly regarded 17-year-old third-base prospect from the Dominican Republic, is set to make his organizational debut in the next week. ... Outfielder Kyle Blanks will have reconstruction of the collateral ligament in his right elbow. ... Ernesto Frieri has not allowed a run in 6 2/3 innings to start his career.
The Padres and the Yankees are the only teams to have winning records in each of the first six months of play this season. ... Dodgers starters are 4-2 with a 0.73 ERA in their last seven games and 4-4 with a 1.38 ERA in their last 11 games. ... Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .392 with runners in scoring position this season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.