Black sees defensive improvement in second half

Black sees defensive improvement in second half

SAN DIEGO -- April certainly wasn't kind to the Padres for several reasons -- seven players landed on the disabled list, the team went 7-17 and the defense was nothing short of atrocious.

And it wasn't just the sheer volume of errors (28) that bothered manager Bud Black.

"We made fundamental errors, we had outfielders bobble balls, pitchers not fielding their position and some dropped fly balls," Black said.

"We haven't seen that in the second half. I do think we're playing better overall defense."

Going into Thursday's game against the Dodgers, the Padres ranked 15th in the National League with a .980 fielding percentage, ahead of only the Rockies (.979).

The Padres have committed 21 errors in September, the most since April, though it's the type of errors that rate differently for Black.

"The outfield defense has tightened up and the infield defense has gotten a lot better," said Black, who singled out rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso for his improved play.

Alonso made five errors in the first 35 games of the season but has just five since and none since Aug. 28. He's also saved the other infielders on numerous occasions by digging balls out of the dirt.