Padres' Patience Paying Off

Tate showing signs of good health





SAN DIEGO—Patience is a virtue. And through his first two professional seasons, the Padres have shown enormous patience with Donavan Tate, the third overall pick in the 2009 draft.

The reason for the patience with the 20-year-old outfielder? He has shown flashes of his enormous talent. Injuries, however, have derailed most of his first two seasons. First there were torn tendons in his pubic bone, an injury that was first diagnosed as a sports hernia and cost him the 2009 season.

In the offseason, he broke his jaw in an ATV accident. Then, in his first spring training in March, he hurt his shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield and was beaned in a game. Both injuries cost him significant time. Then, just when he was starting to get his professional legs in the Rookie-level Arizona League, he was felled twice by a stomach virus.

Tate appeared in just 25 games in 2010, hitting .222/.336/.344 with five doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs. He struck out 41 times, or 38 percent of his plate appearances. At the start of instructional league, the Padres were hoping to see something from the young man they had given $6.1 million. And Tate delivered.

"It has been a real positive camp for Donavan," farm director Randy Smith said. "We've seen progress defensively. We've seen progress with his swing.

"And the biggest thing is that he's healthy and has been on the field every day. He has been working real hard, every day, in center field with Glen Barker. He has been coming in every day looking at video. We have really seen the maturity that we wanted to see. It was been a real good, real positive camp for Donavan."

FATHER FIGURES

• Outfielder Dan Robertson, who hit .300/.375/.418 and scored 95 runs at high Class A Lake Elsinore, was playing second base in instructional league. "Daniel isn't very big (5-foot-8, 175-pounds), so we're trying to look ahead little bit," Smith said. "He's a scrappy player, a good, hard-nosed player, so if he can play second and all three outfield positions, it will increase his value to the organization."

• Smith said shortstop Brian Guinn, an 11th-round pick out of California in June, also was having a good camp in Arizona. California recently announced it was dropping baseball after the 2011 season.