By Joe Naiman
Ramona’s Nick Vincent has posted quality statistics during his professional baseball career, and his continued ability to pitch well has given Vincent another call-up to the San Diego Padres.
“It’s always good to be back up here,” Vincent said.
“He deserved a shot in the major leagues,” said Padres Manager Bud Black.
Vincent’s 2013 season with San Diego’s Class AAA Tucson farm club included a 4-3 record in 20 appearances with a 4.15 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 21-2/3 innings. Opposing batters were batting .264 against Vincent prior to his call-up. The statistics might not match some of Vincent’s past minor league figures or even those from his 27 appearances with the Padres during 2012, but the Tucson Padres’ team ERA was 4.58 while the team opposing batting average was .286.
“You look at how they’re throwing the ball in AAA and you get reports,” Black said. “In comparison to some of the other guys Nick has pitched well.”
On May 30 the Padres sent pitcher Anthony Bass to Tucson while calling up Vincent.
“I was just throwing well the last couple of weeks, and baseball’s big on numbers,” Vincent said.
Vincent finished the Padres’ May 30 game against the Seattle Mariners, retiring all three batters he faced during San Diego’s 7-1 loss. He survived four two-strike fouls from Brendan Ryan before striking out Ryan on a full count to end the 10-pitch at-bat. Alex Liddi then grounded out to shortstop on a 1-0 count before Endy Chavez’s first-pitch flyout to center ended the inning.
Vincent, who was optioned to Tucson on March 24, was hurt during spring training. Black believes that Vincent might have made San Diego’s Opening Day roster had he been healthy.
“He was in the mix,” Black said.
Vincent made one spring training appearance and retired all three batters he faced.
Black plans to use Vincent as a situational reliever.
“I think Nick kind of knows when he’s going to pitch a lot of times,” Black said. “He won’t be asked to give us a lot of length. (Dale) Thayer can do that. (Tim) Stauffer can do that.”
Petco Park is about 40 miles from Ramona, although Vincent will likely be seeing his family at the ballpark rather than in Ramona.
“I don’t know how much I’ll be going home,” he said. “I always see them over here.”
Vincent graduated from Ramona High School in 2004 and then played collegiate baseball at Palomar College and Long Beach State. The Padres selected him in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, and he spent most of the rest of that year with the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. He made eight starts and eight relief appearances for Eugene in 2008, and also had a five-inning start at Class AAA Portland that year.
Vincent spent 2009 and 2010 with the Lake Elsinore Storm, where he was converted to a full-time relief pitcher. In 2009 his 59 appearances produced a 4-2 record with a 3.08 ERA and two saves. Vincent made one start and 47 relief appearances for the 2010 Storm; he had a 4-0 record and an ERA of 1.87.