Last month, Antonelli was at PETCO Park in San Diego along with another top prospect -- Chase Headley -- to see how they looked in the outfield. Antonelli took balls in the infield but the Padres also wanted to see him catch fly balls.
"I've never played outfield regularly," Antonelli told reporters last month. "I have taken more balls in the outfield in the last two days than I've taken in my life. They just called me and said we'd like to get a look at you in center."
The Padres traded for eight-time Gold Glove winner Jim Edmonds during the offseason to play center field. But down the road, Antonelli could get another look there.
"If we wanted to go that route, it could happen," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Everyday center fielders don't come around every year."
It's been suggested that this might be the last chance for outfielder Paul McAnulty to stick in San Diego.
McAnulty, who has played in 58 games for the Padres over the last three seasons, is out of Minor League options. The left-handed-hitting McAnulty had trouble with a nagging knee injury last season at Triple-A Portland, where he hit .262.
But McAnulty showed up in Peoria early to continue a rigorous offseason conditioning program that saw him drop 20 pounds thanks in large part to a three-a-day workout plan for six days a week.
"It's going to show," said McAnulty, a career .301 hitter in the Minor Leagues, of his hard work. "My main goal was to get back to 100 percent. I feel I can help this club tremendously."
One good pitch:
Apparently, left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc has just that -- and possibly even more, which is why Black has mentioned his name as a potential candidate for the No. 5 starter spot in the rotation.
News and features:
Spring Training info:
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Chances are LeBlanc will end up back in the Minor Leagues for more seasoning, possibly with Triple-A Portland, though the Padres are encouraged by his success thus far in the Minor Leagues (18-9, 2.97 ERA) as well as his command of his changeup, a pitch that the organization prefers.
"He's got a big league pitch already," Black said.
LeBlanc was the team's second-round pick out of the University of Alabama in 2006.
Not ready yet:
It looks like pitcher Cesar Carrillo -- the Padres' No. 1 pick (18th overall) in 2005 -- won't be ready to assume a spot on a Minor League team next month when the Padres break camp, as the right elbow that needed reconstructive surgery last April still is not completely healed.
Carrillo will pitch in extended Spring Training before eventually joining a Minor League team in July or possibly August. Carrillo had an 8.62 ERA in five games with Triple-A Portland a year ago before needing surgery.
They're No. 1:
Pitcher Nick Schmidt, the Padres' No. 1 pick in 2007, will miss the entire 2008 season after having reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in October.
Schmidt first experienced discomfort after throwing just seven innings for Class A Fort Wayne before being shut down for the season and eventually needing the surgery. Two former No. 1 Draft picks -- Carrillo and converted shortstop Matt Bush (2004) -- have undergone similar surgery.
Class of '07:
The Padres had eight picks before the third round, thanks mostly to getting compensatory picks for free agents that signed elsewhere. One of those picks was used on outfielder Kellen Kulbacki, who hit .301 with eight homers and 39 RBIs in 226 Northwest League at-bats.
Another compensation pick, catcher Mitch Canham, from two-time NCAA champion Oregon State, hit .276 for short-season Eugene and threw out 10 of the 32 runners attempting to steal on him.
What they're saying:
"It's worth taking a look at. He has good hands. I think the baseball instincts are there. His foot speed is average. We think that just the baseball instincts, being able to get a jump on a ball, knowing the game, he'll be a quick learner on knowing hitters, picking up the trajectory of the baseball. He could be a quick study." -- Black, on Headley's conversion from third base to outfield