Greetings from Provo, UT, where the USD Toreros will face BYU tomorrow night. More on that later.
Hope you are enjoying the blogs I've posted lately. Trying to keep a balance between, news, rants, fun and opinion, so there will be a little of everything to look forward to.
Let's get some news out of the way here....
The Padres have avoided arbitration with a few key players, wrapping up pitcher Edinson Volquez earlier today. He went 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA in his first year with the Padres after coming over from Cincinnati. Volquez will make 5.725 million next season, more than doubling his salary from 2012. Volquez has nasty stuff. His curveball is above average, his fastball is above average but so were his walks from a year ago. Volquez is always smiling and is a great person to be around.
Joe Thatcher avoided arbitration as well, signing a 1.35 million dollar contract. Thatcher has become one of the most reliable left handed relievers in baseball. He went 1-4 last year with a 3.41. He's one of the longest tenured Padres players, coming over from the Brewers (for Scott Linebrink) back in the 2007 season.
Earlier the Padres signed catcher John Baker, SS Everth Cabrera and RF Will Venable to avoid arbitration.
Now, there are a few guys left that are key components to the Padres 2013 plans. That includes, Chase Headley, Luke Gregerson and Clayton Richard.
In Headley's case, he is going to get his money. The third baseman had a bust out season, winning the NL RBI title, with 115 batted in, hitting a career best 31 homers and winning a gold glove award. I'm sure the Padres would like to work out a long term deal with Headley but for now they'll probably settle on a one year deal while discussing other terms. Pretty amazing how Headley was a trade candidate nearing the deadline, just proving the baseball adage, sometimes the best trade is one you don't make.
Gregerson is on the Team USA roster for the WBC and has been a valuable member of the Padres bullpen over the last 4 seasons. Richard won a career high tying 14 games last year and also launched his first career home run in his final start of 2012.
Toreros at BYU
Well the Toreros arrived in Provo earlier this afternoon, greeted by a temperature of 16 degrees and snow on the ground and on the mountain tops. Many of the guys on the team are very unfamiliar with the concept of snow, and cold weather. It was fun to watch their reactions as we got off the bus and headed into the hotel.
The Toreros have not been cold by any stretch. USD enters this game with a 4-0 conference record for the first time since 2009. The Toreros have won five in a row overall. BYU is 4-1 and lost a heartbreaker to St Mary's College on Wednesday night. Thinking Tyler Haws had won the game with a jumper with 2.5 seconds to go, Matthew Dellavedova hoisted a desperation 3 from just beyond half court and hit it for the SMC victory.
BYU won all three meetings last year including a close one in the 2nd round of the WCC Tourney. The Toreros have never beaten the Cougars in 5 all time meetings. I'll have the pre game show for you at 5:45 tomorrow and then the tip at 6pm on The Mighty 1090!
I may do this from time to time as well, relay a good or bad experience at a local restaurant. I recently had lunch with Corey Brock of MLB.com fame at the Brooklyn Girl Eatery in Mission Hills. I really enjoyed the restaurant. The ambience is really nice, high ceilings and a great bar situated in the center of the restaurant. I had the open faced pulled chicken with barbecue sauce on a big piece of white cheddar corn bread. Really really tasty. A good deal for 12 bucks as well.
Of course when you're with Corey, you need to sample a beer and of course we did. Check with them for their selection of fine "Craft Beers".
Service was great and friendly and oh yeah, don't forget to check out the assortment of desserts in the bakery attached to the restaurant. Everything looked tremendous.
They are located at Goldfinch and Fort Stockton in Mission Hills. Check it out.
Ok, that's it gotta go!