Padres outfielder Chad Huffman already has smacked two home runs for Triple-A Portland, helping to erase the memory of spending a year and a half in San Antonio’s Wolff Stadium, a notoriously tough park for righthanded power hitters. The evidence: He clubbed only one homer at home last year, and eight on the road. But other Padres’ prospects have to wait for their opportunity to make a strong early impression.
Portland second baseman Matt Antonelli, 24, racked up 32 spring-training at-bats, showing his trademark selectivity (.351 OBP). But he came down with soreness in his right quad and began the year on the disabled list.
Double-A San Antonio outfielder Kellen Kulbacki, 23, is playing in extended spring training games now as he recovers from offseason surgery to repair a labrum tear in his right shoulder. The injury resulted from him crashing into the outfield wall during the California League playoffs. Kulbacki got a late start to last season, too, after pulling a hamstring in spring training. It didn’t seem to detract too much from his hitting . . . Missions lefty Steve Garrison, 22, is on track to return in late May or early June from offseason surgery to clean up his rotator cuff and labrum.
Optimistically, righthander Mat Latos, 21, had been ticketed for high Class A Lake Elsinore, but spring-training shoulder stiffness scuttled that plan. He’s building arm strength in extended spring and now appears to be headed to low Class A when he’s ready to begin the year . . . Elsewhere on the Storm roster, righty Drew Miller, 23, is dealing with a right elbow strain and could be out until June . . . Breakout candidate Lance Zawadzki, a 23-year-old switch-hitting shortstop, dealt with a right oblique strain but is set to join Lake Elsinore today.
Outfielder Jaff Decker, 19, excited observers last season with an MVP performance in the Arizona League. He’ll head to low Class A Fort Wayne once he’s fully recovered from the effects of a concussion he sustained at the tail end of spring training. He’s building up stamina in extended spring.
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