Venable finding power stroke at Petco Park

Venable finding power stroke at Petco Park

SAN DIEGO -- What's impressed manager Bud Black the most about Will Venable's recent power surge has been the pitches that the Padres' outfielder is hitting for home runs. Some have been high fastballs -- like the one to lead off the seventh inning on Monday -- others on breaking balls or changeups.

"That's what I like," Black said. "The ability to hit with power against all pitches."

Venable's seven home runs lead the team as he has homered in back-to-back games at Petco Park. At home this season, Venable is hitting .282 with six home runs and an OPS of .938.

"I have been able to square some balls up and my swing just kind of has that trajectory," Venable said. "When I am squaring them up, they're going out of the park instead of more line drives."

Black spoke highly of Venable's power and said he could hold his own with teammates if they had a competition to see who could hit the ball farthest.

Venable also has eight stolen bases on the year.

"That's a dangerous combination, when you have a guy with the ability to steal bases and also power," Black said. "The pitcher thinks about that."

For reasons he couldn't explain, Venable said he's been a slow starter during the first month of the season. He's hitting .278 this month after starting off at .206 in April.

"Hopefully I can continue to trend upward," Venable said.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.