Lollis Has A Big Arrival
Righthander joins big league camp
PEORIA, Ariz.—Matt Lollis made such a favorable impression at the Padres' prospect camp at Petco Park in January, club officials just had to see more of the 20-year-old righthander.
So just days after the mini-camp concluded, Lollis—who went 7-4, 2.12 in 15 starts for short-season Eugene and low Class A Fort Wayne last season—was invited to big league camp as a non-roster player.
"It was a big surprise," Lollis said of the invitation. "It's an awesome thing that I'm getting to be with all these big league guys and share the experience of working out with them all spring. I had a big smile on my face when I got the call. I'm one of the guys, but I don't want to be noticed."
That's going to be hard.
Depending on who you believe, Lollis is somewhere between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-9, and 250-280 pounds. There is no denying his other numbers on the field, a fastball that is consistently 92-93 mph and tops at 95 and a 12-to-6 knuckle-curveball.
A 15th-round pick in 2009 out of Riverside (Calif.) CC, he signed for $100,000. Lollis worked extensively with Padres minor league pitching coordinator Mike Couchee at the prospect camp and came away with better command of his fastball.
"Lollis earned his invitation here," said Padres manager Bud Black, who got a good look at him in the prospect game. "He's a big guy with a lot of moving parts. So we'll need to keep an eye on him, make sure he continues to listen to the instructors and coaches. But he has come on fast and opened some eyes."
Black likes to see as much of the organization's young talent in the spring as possible. The manager was pleased with the way Lollis threw in his first bullpen session. And while he couldn't guarantee Lollis a specific number of innings in the spring, Black said he wants to see the young righthander under fire.
"This last year has been awesome," Lollis said. "And this is just another part of it."
• The Padres have 62 players in big league camp, including 31 pitchers.
• Lefthander Randy Flores was signed to a minor league deal and invited to join the big club in camp. Infielder Gregorio Petit, who signed a minor league deal in January, was released after sustaining a knee injury in winter ball that could keep him out for the entire season.