Renfroe, Guerrero get wide-eyed at Futures Game
Outfielder goes 1-for-2 with a single while righty K's lone batter faced
MINNEAPOLIS -- Hunter Renfroe and Tayron Guerrero, both prospects in the Padres organization, couldn't believe their eyes on Sunday as they gawked at the multiple decks of Target Field.
Renfroe is an outfielder playing at Double-A San Antonio, and Guerrero, a Colombian native, is at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Neither had much experience playing a game in a Major League ballpark. Guerrero has never even been to Petco Park, the home of the Padres, which is only about 90 minutes south of Lake Elsinore.
"This is amazing," said Guerrero, a member of the World Team in this year's annual SiriusXM Futures Game, who pitched to one U.S. batter and struck out Peter O'Brien to end the eighth as the Americans won, 3-2. "I was out there in the outfield during batting practice shagging fly balls. I do that every day. But doing it here is a big difference."
"I've been in big ballparks before, but this is going to be a packed house," said Renfroe, a member of the U.S. Team, who started the game in right field and went 1-for-2 with a third-inning single. "I played in Fenway a few times before, but never with this kind of crowd. It's incredible. A packed house. That's the biggest I've ever seen."
Renfroe has split his season between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio, playing in only 13 games for the Missions. He said he's had a little bit of trouble of late, missing a week because of an illness and then soreness in the back of his left hand.
Because of the hand injury, he couldn't swing a bat, he said.
"I really couldn't get a hold of the bat very well, I couldn't grip it," said the 22-year-old Renfroe, drafted in the first round and 13th overall by the Padres in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State. "They couldn't figure it out. It just went away. It was like a bone bruise. I just couldn't hold the bat and swing it."
Because of all that, Renfroe is hitting just .213 with three homers and seven RBIs for the Missions in the Texas League after hitting .295 with 17 homers and 52 RBIs in 69 games for Lake Elsinore in the California League.
"I'm doing all right, it's a little bit of an adjustment," Renfroe said. "It's not a hitters' league at all. The wind blows in most of the time. You have to take a line drive approach and just hit ground balls through the infield. But I'm hitting the ball hard right now. That's all you can ask for."
Guerrero is an international free agent who has been in the Padres system since 2010. At 6-foot-7 and only 23 years of age, Guerrero is an imposing presence with a jocular personality.
A native of Boca Chica, Casanare, Colombia, Guerrero has never pitched above Class A Advanced in the Padres system. He's split the season between Class A Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore, earning the promotion because of a 6-1 record, 1.00 ERA, three saves, 12 walks and 42 strikeouts in 36 innings across 25 relief appearances for Fort Wayne. So far he's allowed only two earned runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings at the higher level.
Guerrero said he's a three-pitch twirler, utilizing a fastball, slider and changeup, working mostly right now on the changeup.
"I had mixed results as a starter so now I'm a reliever," Guerrero said. "At least that's what I'm doing this year. I just try to do what I do every day and that's the best job I can. Just throw the ball and let it go."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.