Denorfia ready to return to Cactus League action

Denorfia ready to return to Cactus League action

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres manager Bud Black phoned outfielder Chris Denorfia earlier this week to tell him he could take a few days off after returning from his stint with Italy in the World Baseball Classic.

But by Saturday morning, Denorfia sounded as if he was ready to jump back into Cactus League action.

"I'm not quite sure how many more days I need off ... I'd rather just keep going," Denorfia said. "But I think it was good to step back for a couple of days and relax.

"That was very high-intensity baseball. I think that it almost surprises a lot of players who go for the first time."

Denorfia hit .381 in five games in the Classic for Italy, which lost a pair of one-run games this week -- 5-4 to the Dominican Republic and then a 4-3 setback in an elimination game against Puerto Rico. The team got to the second round by finishing second in Pool D in Phoenix.

This experience was far different than Denorfia's previous Classic stint in 2009, when Italy went 1-2 and didn't advance out of pool play.

"This year was different. It was definitely better," Denorfia said. "I feel the last time I was there, we were still not sure where we were in the World baseball-wise. This time, I not only felt like we like we belonged, but felt we were out to prove something. That's a fun way to play the game.

"I know there were some who took us lightly, but the teams across the way didn't."

Denorfia reported to camp in February ahead of the rest of the Padres position players, knowing that he would be pulled away when Italy competed in Pool D of the Classic in Phoenix. Italy and Team USA made it out of that pool, advancing to Miami.

Before leaving for the Classic, Denorfia amassed 16 at-bats in Cactus League games, hitting .375 with a double and two RBIs.

"I had my mindset to be ready earlier," Denorfia said. "I wanted to make sure I wasn't going there to get work in, but to perform."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.