Padres Midseason Report

Finally healthy, Cumberland shines





BEST PLAYER: After two injury-plagued seasons, shortstop Drew Cumberland was making up for lost time.

A supplemental first-round pick out of Pace (Fla.) High in 2007, Cumberland, 21, was limited to 53 games in 2008 because of a broken rib, a right oblique strain and dislocated finger. He played just 77 games in 2009 because of a concussion and fractures to his hand and finger.

But he's healthy now and putting up big numbers. Cumberland hit .365/.404/.542 in 249 at-bats with 20 steals high Class A Lake Elsinore. Those numbers earned him a promotion to Double-A San Antonio—where he was off to an 11-for-35 start—and a spot in the Futures Game.

Some question his ability to play shortstop as he climbs the ladder because of a flawed throwing motion that has led to 17 errors.

"But there is no doubt this kid can play," Lake Elsinore manager Carlos Lezcano said. "He's smart, he's athletic, he's quick, and he plays hard. Is he a shortstop at the big league level? That's not up to me. Is he a big league player? Yes."

BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: Lefthander Juan Oramas is 20 years old and in his fourth year in the organization, yet he is pitching in the U.S. for the first time.
The native of Mexico spent two years in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League before going 9-1, 2.31 in the Mexican League while on loan last year. He was 6-2, 2.15 with 79 strikeouts in 67 innings this year between low Class A Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore.

"He's the real deal," Lezcano said.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: David Eckstein can't play second base forever. Matt Antonelli, a first-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2006, has risen, then fallen off the prospect charts. But after back-to-back disastrous seasons, Antonelli, 25, put himself back on the prospect map with an outstanding spring. But a broken hand felled him before he could play a regular season game at Triple-A Portland, again slowing his progress.

FATHER FIGURES

• Third baseman James Darnell, a second-round pick out of South Carolina in 2008, has resumed play at San Antonio after missing 30 games with a right hand contusion. He was hitting .233/.313/.377 on the season but had steadily raised his line since returning.

• The Padres shifted righthander James Needy to the minor league 60-day disabled list with knee soreness before he had thrown a pitch this season. A sixth-round pick out of high school last year, he appeared in just five games after signing.