SAN DIEGO — The Padres instructional league team played a relatively clean game through seven innings, with good pitching, solid defense and a few key hits. Then everything fell apart.
A Texas Rangers squad made up mostly of short-season players scored six runs in the eighth inning — which included an inside-the-park grand slam — and four more in the ninth to cruise to a 10-2 victory at the annual Don Welke On Deck Classic played at Petco Park, as the clubs wrapped up play for 2019.
San Diego sent RHP Reggie Lawson to the mound to start the game. It was Lawson’s third appearance in the annual showcase and Lawson was ready for the opportunity.
The 22-year-old righty, who didn’t pitch competitively after May 9 this season, looked strong as he tuned up for an assig.ment to the Arizona Fall League. His fastball looked lively, touching 95 mph in the first inning. He allowed a leadoff single, but Taylor Trammell cut the ball off in right-center and threw out the only ranked Rangers prospect in the contest, Osleivis Basabe, at second.
“Grade 80 arm,” laughed Trammell after the game. “That felt good. I’m glad I got to get an out for Lawson. Reggie pitched really, really well today. [Lawson] is something special and he did his thing today. I was very excited and very proud of him; the way he competed today and like I said, first play [of the game], I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy.”
Lawson cruised through the next two batters, freezing Texas outfielder Heriberto Hernandez with a fastball on the outer half of the plate.
“It feels good [to be out there],” said Lawson. “I feel amazing so that’s the main part I was focused on. Getting here and getting out of here healthy and head to the [Arizona] Fall League.”
Lawson continued to cruise through a very young Texas lineup and completed four innings, allowing just three hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Lawson threw a three-pitch mix, using his changeup as the main offering with his fastball while mixing in a curve.
Lawson, who underwent PRP therapy for a small tear in his UCL in June and got back on the mound in Arizona last month,will shelve the slider he developed last year as he looks to stay healthy heading into the off-season.
“I won’t be throwing the [slider] in the Fall League. I’ll probably introduce that back in the off-season. I don’t want to put too much stress on my elbow right now. I just want to make sure it’s fully good-to-go and then I’ll start throwing the slider again.”
The Padres put the first two runs of the game in the fourth. Xavier Edwards and CJ Abrams drew back-to-back walks to start the frame before Trammell lined a single into right field that brought Edwards around from second. Trammell finished the evening 1-for-2 with a walk, single and stolen base.
“I felt good. I can’t really complain about a 1-for-[two] game,” said Trammell. “At the same time, the competitor in me, the baseball player in me, I know that there were things I could have worked on and gotten better at. That’s just the name of the game; nobody’s perfect.
“Like I said, I’m very happy with how the game went today, personally. As [far] as team-wise, there were things we should have done better, obviously. Walks hurt; we gotta throw strikes. Also, we had a lot of times where guys were on second base and we didn’t get the job done, myself included. All around, there were things we could have worked on but all-in-all, it was a fun game. [Texas] made plays when they needed to.”
After Lawson exited the game, the Padres received two solid innings from Ryan Weathers, who allowed just one hit in two innings of work. The lefthander topped out at 93 mph and mostly sat at 92 mph. He punched out a pair of batters and showed a very good changeup.
Dauris Valdez came in the seventh and put on a show. The 6-foot-8 righthander pitched a clean inning and topped out at 101 mph with his fastball. He mixed in a slider and a new-found changeup that baffled Rangers hitters. He struck out a pair in a scoreless frame.
Notes: RHP Reggie Lawson told us that he will be participating in the Arizona Fall League and will remain there until the end of that season. Lawson should be able to pitch five innings per start. The season runs through October 25th, so Lawson should be able to make a handful of starts.
We’ve got more news and notes from the game here.
Key Statistics: INF Xavier Edwards, 1-for-2, BB, SB; CF Taylor Trammell, 1-for-2, BB, SB, RBI; INF Tucupita Marcano, 1-for-2, BB, SB; RHP Reggie Lawson, 4 IP, 3 H, 3 K; LHP Ryan Weathers, 2 IP, H, 2 K; RHP Adrian Martinez (L) 0.1 IP, H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, K; RHP Dauris Valdez, IP, 2 K.