Thursday, May 24, 2012

Decker, Sampson, others

Nag, nag, nag.

(UPDATED)

The injury gods started up with their pestering in April. The Padres didn't complain but now that you inquire, yes, ailments and their related tolls hindered several of the farm system's better prospects even if their names didn't all dot a disabled list.

"Nagging stuff," said farm director Randy Smith, be it outfielder Jaff Decker's foot, catcher Jason Hagerty's back, pitcher Keyvius Sampson's quad or left fielder Edinson Rincon's wrist and knee.

Take the 21-year-olds, Rincon and Sampson. Each wasn't whole when confronted by Double-A, the Himalayas of minor league terrain, and neither entered late May with a statistical line that shouted "prospect."

Rincon, a sixth-year pro, batted .222  with six doubles and three home runs even after a recent warming tend. Smith said Rincon missed the second half of last season to recover from wrist surgery and had knee surgery before this season.

Sampson is averaging a strikeout per inning, yet five walks per nine innings. His ERA is 5.61 after nine starts. "He has been really good followed by not so good," Smith said of the righty, who struck out 10.9 per nine in low Single-A last year and then skipped the Cal League. "That's not unexpected with the age."

Decker, 22, gained some favor in the Pink Pony Scouts Chat on the eve of this season. He is repeating Double-A after batting .236 with 19 home runs and 92 RBI.. If a foot bothered him in recent weeks, that may be good news given his .184 batting average in the 39 games, with two doubles, a triple and three home runs. He had as many walks as strikeouts, though.

"All of these kids are still very young," said Smith.

Another member of the San Antonio Missions, the catcher Hagerty, 24, is batting .200 with three home runs in 30 games.

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