Timeout with Tambo: Nick Vincent recalls year’s highlights with the Padres
The 2012 season started with Vincent being named to the 40-man roster of the San Diego Padres. If he had not been put on the roster he would have been a free agent and could have gone to another team. It also meant that his pay would significantly increase.
“I often wonder what would have happened if I wasn’t protected by the Padres,” he said. “I am very glad about the way things turned out.” That was an up.
Vincent had a very good spring and appeared to be winning an opening day roster spot when he stepped on a ball and sprained his ankle late in spring training. He was sent to Arizona to rehabilitate his injury instead of going to Petco Park.
“It took six or seven weeks to get the ankle back in shape to pitch and I was still favoring it when I started pitching in Tucson,” he said. That was a down.
In late May, Vincent got called up to the Padres for a series against the Angels in a cross league series at Petco Park.
“My dad organized quite a fan club in left field near the bull pen. He bought about 50 tickets and all of my friends were there. I didn’t get to pitch in the series but I got a taste of what the big leagues are all about,” said Vincent. That was an up.
Vincent was sent down to Tucson and then to San Antonio.
“I wasn’t throwing well and I needed to pitch my way back,” he said. That was a down.
“I was sent to San Antonio so that I could get more work,” he said. “I quit favoring my ankle and started pitching well and got my confidence back.” That was an up.
Vincent was called up by the Padres for nine games and got his first action on the mound and his first major league win. That was an up.
After pitching in back to back games Vincent was sent back down to Tucson. That was a down.
“I had my confidence back and did well when I was called on. I knew that I would get another chance and that I could pitch in the bigs,” he said. That was an up.
Vincent was called up for good and led the Padres in ERA for the season. He finished with a 1.71 ERA, and two wins with 28 strikeouts and five walks in 26.1 innings in 27 games. The only down after that was a good down—after the All Star Game, Vincent’s ERA went down to a microscopic .42 in 23 games. He held opposing hitters to a .171 batting average in 21.2 innings.
Most people do not realize the time that players put in on a game day. On the road, Vincent says that after breakfast he takes a taxi to the ball park at 11 a.m. The younger players are the first to get treatment. After lunch he hangs out in the clubhouse until he goes out to stretch and throw before 4:00 batting practice. At home games he arrives at the park at 1:30 p.m. for the same routine. After games the team eats in the clubhouse and leaves about an hour and a half after the game.
“The food is very good. You can order anything that you want. We try to eat healthy,” Vincent said.
Vincent is starting his off season weight program. He wants to gain about 10 pounds of muscle. One loses weight during the season. He also plays as much golf as possible. He is a regular at San Vicente.
When asked what his biggest highlight of the season, Vincent thought and said, “The last guy I faced was Ryan Braun. He was the reigning MVP and had won a batting title. That was something.” Vincent got him out.
Vincent’s biggest surprise was, “The guys on the team are so nice and humble. There are a lot of young guys on the team and they work very hard and we improved in the second half. Mark Kotsay is not so young but he is a lot of fun and he keeps us loose and gives us good advice. The veterans are good and insist on picking up the taxi cost on the road. Little things like that are really nice and build good team chemistry.”
When asked about the new ownership, Vincent answered, “The guys on the team who have been around a while say that these owners not only want to win; they know how to win. Everything will be first class.”
Nick Vincent had a very good year with a lot more ups than downs.
- Nick Vincent pitches major league games
- Vincent makes Padres roster
- Timeout with Tambo: Former Bulldog is on his way to living every young baseball player’s dream
- Vincent gets a taste of major league baseball
- Vincent, Jamison suit up at Petco Park
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