Balsley impressed with pitchers' fastball command

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The organizational edict the Padres have accentuated in recent years about the value of fastball command from pitchers has apparently taken hold.

Pitching coach Darren Balsley, who will lay eyes on the 37 pitchers in big league camp, said that he has noticed something familiar among the many Minor League pitchers in camp.

"What's been pounded down from our organization [fastball command] is sinking in," Balsley said. "I haven't had to say a word about it so far. That's the goal and it's obviously been relayed through the Minor Leagues."

That's not all, though.

"The arms from our Minor Leaguers keeps getting better and better," Balsley said. "There are a lot of kids throwing 90 mph."

Balsley was talking specifically about non-roster invitees Matt Stites, Kevin Quackenbush and Adys Portillo, who is on the 40-man roster. All three will begin the season in the Minor Leagues.

For these first few days of workouts, Balsley is observing. He'll add instruction as camp rolls on, though he feels he needs to see each pitcher in his own element first.

"It's a lot of guys to watch and to individually instruct right now is difficult. You don't really want to do that in the beginning of the spring anyway. You want to let them do their thing and get their arms in shape," Balsley said.

"I don't like the fact we have 38 games, that's a lot of games. But the one thing it will allow us to do is look at a lot of guys and perhaps what they need to work on. It's not ideal, but it works."