SAN DIEGO: The home clubhouse at Petco Park was somber, if not funereal, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). Just hours earlier, the San Diego Padres had traded perhaps their foremost veteran presence, right-hander James Shields, to the Chicago White Sox for a pair of prospects.
Although reports of a potential deal had circulated for a week, the early-June exchange reinforced what had been a mostly unspoken notion: The 2016 Padres could look quite different at the end of the season than they did at the beginning.
Meantime, the team’s remnants would be best-served to soldier on. The cliche dictates that they can control only what transpires on the field, but in this case, it is especially true.
In Saturday night’s (Sunday in Manila) 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies, the Padres glimpsed images of their future and those that could soon become memories of the past.
For the second time this homestand, first baseman Wil Myers finished a triple shy of the cycle. The 25-year-old showed he still has room to learn; he was twice thrown out at third for the first out of an inning.
Myers, for whom the Padres (23-34) gave up elite prospects Joe Ross and Trea Turner, could be the club’s cornerstone going forward. Aside from a couple stretches in which he was sidelined by forearm tightness, he has remained on the field this season.
It has been an educational, if largely positive, experience. Myers drilled his ninth home run of the season in the first inning and finished 3-for-4, raising his average to .279. Over his last 14 games, he is hitting .339 (19-for-56).
After the Rockies (25-30) took the lead with two runs in the second, catcher Derek Norris smashed a two-run homer, retaking the lead for the Padres.
Norris, who made an All-Star bid in the first half of last season, has seen his value crater in 2016. The 27-year-old is a logical trade candidate—what with two other catchers on the roster and Austin Hedges recovering from hamate-bone surgery—but his overall lack of offense has been unmistakable. His second-inning blast pushed his average above .200 for the first time all season.
That, of course, implies he has been moving in the right direction. Saturday’s 2-for-4 showing made Norris 11-for-31 (.355) over his last 10 games.
The man Norris caught has been an enigma for even longer. Right-hander Andrew Cashner, the Padres’ longest-tenured player, turned in his latest mixed effort amid a contract year: 5 2/3 innings, eight hits, three runs, three walks, three strikeouts.
It was enough for the win. Fernando Rodney recorded his first four-out save in a Padres uniform and has not allowed an earned run in his first 21 1/3 innings this season.