YUMA, Ariz. — Now, Kevin McReynolds will be working on his defense.
Under Dick Williams, he didn't want to. Williams, not one to communicate, would tell his coaches to hit McReynolds fly balls in center field, but McReynolds rebelled, saying the manager ought to be the one to confront him.
It is no longer a problem.
Boros, in one of his frequent player meetings, told McReynolds that Amos Otis, a former Gold Glove center fielder for the Kansas City Royals and now a Padre minor league instructor, will help him his fielding next week. McReynolds thought this was fine.
"We told Kevin we won't revamp his style, but Amos can do him good," Boros said. "He can be a great player. All he needs is instruction."
Remember last year? Right before each pitch, McReynolds would stand up straight, rather than bending slightly as most center fielders do. Padre coaches said McReynolds wouldn't get a very quick jump on the ball.
Now, McReynolds will listen.
Boros sat his players down on the grass again Thursday for yet another lesson.
Thursday's topic: Aggressive baserunning.
- He told them never to stop after rounding first base. He said to give a "stutter step like they do in basketball and football." This way, if there's a bobble in the outfield or just laziness out there, they can take advantage.
- He told them to take a 15- to 18-foot lead off second base, but not to be "hot dogs." He said: "Why attract attention to yourself?" On ground balls to the right side when you're on second, he said it's a most important time to be cautious.
- Speaking about runners on third base, he said: "I like the squeeze play."
He went on for nearly 30 minutes.
"The great thing about aggressive baserunning is that it jacks everyone up when you score," he said. "I'm not saying we'll harp on it every day on this, but it's a key ingredient. And with everything else we do well, it will make us a darn good team."
Steve Garvey is the only Padre who uses an aluminum bat during spring training.
"I do it for the first week to 10 days because hitters are behind the pitchers early in spring training," he said. "It allows me to free swing without hurting my hands or breaking my bats. I break so many of those things usually."
In one of Boros' great experiments, left fielder Carmelo Martinez keeps taking grounders at third during batting practice. He has quick hands, looks agile, and, at times, has an accurate arm.
Other times, he has spectators near first base running for cover.
Shortstop Garry Templeton has been wearing a shin splint during batting practice.
"That's how I hurt my leg," said Templeton, who fractured his shin bone last September. "I hit one right on my shin."
The quote of the day comes from reserve catcher Bruce Bochy: "I've got to stop taking batting practice. It's ruining my golf game."