The Coast News Group
ColumnsSports Talk

Sports Talk: Fowler’s full of Padres optimism

When seated for lunch next to Rancho Santa Fe’s biggest Padres fan, one pays attention.

“You want my shrimp?” Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler asked. “I like garlic but garlic doesn’t like me.”

Fowler is fond of his Padres, of course, but his affection comes with some heartburn.

He mentions outfielder Wil Myers being out until June with a sore oblique.

“We were hoping we could pair him with Eric Hosmer,” Fowler said. “We need to get him healthy.”

He laments the fact starter Dinelson Lamet is out for the year.

Then there’s catcher Austin Hedges and his sore elbow. Fowler said he’s close to returning.

How about someone sticking around? Is manager Andy Green on solid footing?

Fowler nodded, while stressing how much faith he has in his skipper and the front office.

“I like the guys we have,” he said.

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe is another favorite. But his elbow is hotter than the shrimp Fowler was avoiding. The arm hurts, and until it doesn’t, Renfroe remains idle.

Mix all that up and it’s a heaping of Padres gumbo. But when stirring the pot, it’s fair to mention the Padres and Dodgers have roughly the same amount of wins, and there was buzz in Petco Park on Monday night.

Solana Beach’s Bud Black had his Rockies in town and that’s worth a mention. Plus on Tuesday he started catcher Tony Wolters, the former Rancho Buena Vista High standout.

The real excitement came from what was in the Padres outfield. He wasn’t hard to miss, the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Franmil Reyes.

Reyes made his major-league debut and that’s cool. His hot bat in the minors can’t be discounted either.

Before landing in San Diego he was directing baseballs well beyond the fences. His 14 home runs led all of baseball (Majors and minors leagues). And unlike many sluggers, Reyes, 22, puts the ball in play and when he does so, it comes with a loud noise.

Still, no one swats the ball with more authority among the Padres than outfielder Franchy Cordero.

“Franmil hits it harder,” he told

Cordero should know. He and Reyes are both Dominican Republic natives and signed by the Padres on Nov. 1, 2011.

Franmil can hit the ball hard and far and how long have Padres fans waited for this?

“I just remember all the bombs he was hitting and how big an arm he had,” Cordero added.

He didn’t have an impact in his debut. Reyes was hitless in four at-bats, although he reached on an error.

But make no mistake Reyes is an athletic, powerfully built player who could be a surprise summer hit. The Padres continue building for the future and they’ve received a present in Reyes.

Nothing wrong with another entree on the prospect plate, right Mr. Fowler? Just don’t pass the garlic.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected]. Follow him @jparis_sports