Bud Black: Hello everybody. Thanks for coming in. I look forward to talking baseball with everyone. Let's get started.
JanKatarn: Do you feel Jake Peavy will return to his old form?
Black: Yes, I do. My feel is that Jake is ready to combine everything in his game: his pitches, his overall stuff with his mind and if you add in his desire to compete, I think it makes for one big year for Jake. I think that the offense will pick up Jake this year more than it did last year.
willybilly247: Hey Bud, thanks for doing the chat. What is your philosophy on giving up outs to move base runners, i.e., sacrifice bunting with players other than pitchers?
Black: I think there is a time and place for the sacrifice bunt to move runners, as well as the hit and run. Each game is unique to itself, so as each game unfolds we will take all factors into play when we decide to put on the number of offensive plays that we might use.
josepria: Which players of your new staff were you familiar with before coming to the organization (watching them as opponents or as teammates)?
Black: I was part of the Cleveland organization when Brian Giles was a younger player and I did play with David Wells for a brief period of time in Toronto. As far as the coaching staff, I played with Craig Colbert, our bench coach, in San Francisco. I also played with Bobby Meacham in college at SDSU and also worked with Bobby with the Angels. I've obviously watched many games from the other dugout against players on our roster.
usinf: How do you see the impact of having Greg Maddux and David Wells on the team in regard to the younger pitchers?
Black: First and foremost, their major contribution will be on the field as pitchers winning games for the Padres. They will add to our pitching staff and our entire roster by their knowledge of the game, the way they go about their business, and as a great sounding board for all our players.
peavy4prez08: How much of a factor will PETCO Park be in many of your managerial decisions, or will you manage the same at home as on the road?
Black: I think that generally speaking you will see the Padres play the type of game we need to win on that certain day regardless of the park we're playing in. The short history of PETCO Park tells us that runs are tough to come by at times. There will be games where we play for one run and not the big inning. But here again, each game is unique unto itself.
FmrFresnan: Coach, from everything I've been reading on your other pitchers in camp, it sounds like you have another pitching coach in Trevor Hoffman. How much do you allow him to teach out there?
Black: In baseball, ideas are exchanged all the time between players. With Trevor, the things that he might say to a pitcher will be welcomed by me. I know that Trev will say the right things at the right time.
Black: Hey, I'm about to head into a meeting here in Peoria with some of the players, but I have time for a few final questions. Let's get to it.
PhillipGone: Now that you have had a week or so to see the pitchers on the Padres, how would you compare that to the staff you had in Anaheim over the last several years?
Black: There are quite a few similarities between the two staffs, namely the strength and depth of the bullpen, and a strong rotation filled with youth and experience.
brujis: Do you think Terrmel Sledge will be doing a good job in the field? Do we need some other player with more experience?
Black: Terrmel Sledge will get an opportunity to show us what he can do, as well as Paul McAnulty, Jose Cruz, Jr., Russell Branyan, and Jack Cust. We feel that out of this group of players, left field will be a position that has the ability to produce runs from doubles, home runs, and the ability to get on base.
PadreChick: How do you feel about our offense this year?
Black: I feel the strength of our lineup is in our depth from one through eight. I see our hitters, as a group, having tough at-bats each and every night. I think you'll see players with the ability to drive the ball in the gaps. You'll see the power show up through the whole lineup. We're not blessed with overall great team speed with the exception of Mike Cameron, but I believe we have good base runners who will take advantage of the extra base when it's there. Overall, I feel as though offensively we're going to be just fine.
Black: We're out of time today. I'd like to thank everyone for the great questions. Thanks for your support of Padres baseball. I look forward to seeing you out here in Peoria or back in San Diego this April.