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 mlb.com.
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@example.com. Follow him @jparis_sports
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports