PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's not at all uncommon for Minor League players to drive to Arizona for the beginning of Spring Training, though many of them -- especially from great distances -- opt to fly.
Maxx Tissenbaum, a second baseman who reported this week for prospect mini-camp, didn't just drive to Peoria, he made the trip an adventure.
Along with his mother, Lisa, and grandmother, Susan, the three put some 3,600 miles on Tissenbaum's Jeep Compass on a five-day trip from Toronto with stays in Cincinnati, Nashville, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque before pushing through to Arizona.
"Everyone volunteered to go, including my dad and grandpa," said Tissenbaum, an 11th-round Draft pick out of Stony Brook University. "My grandma is a history buff. She was sort of the tour guide. My mom is a foodie. I wanted to go to Nashville to hear some country music bands."
So off the three went, making one notable detour before arriving in Nashville.
"Once we were driving and on the way to Nashville, I saw signs for Louisville and wondered if we could go there," Tissenbaum said.
So on President's Day, the three stopped for a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum, where he was able to purchase two bats that he's already used here in Arizona for batting practice.
Tissenbaum's mother used the Guy Fieri show on Food Network -- Diners, Drive-ins and Dives -- as her guide for notable stops for food along the way.
Tissenbaum's mother and grandmother have since flown back to Toronto, leaving him and his well-traveled Jeep in Peoria for the duration of Spring Training.
Would Tissenbaum make the same trip against next spring?
"I would, but I'd make it so I would be in Nashville on the weekend to hear some music and maybe see a hockey game," he said.
Garcia loses matchup with former teammate Ibanez
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Freddy Garcia found a surefire way to avoid having to pitch to Raul Ibanez -- play on the same team.
But that was last season with the Yankees -- and 1999-2000 when both were with Seattle -- and on Sunday, Ibanez got Garcia again.
Ibanez hit a three-run home run off Garcia in his first start of the spring for the Padres, the biggest blow of a five-run first inning. All told, Garcia allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits in one inning.
"He's killing me, man," Garcia said of Ibanez.
Garcia struggled right out of the chute, allowing hits to the first five hitters of the game.
"It's definitely not how I wanted to start this spring," Garcia said. "It's the first day. I'll try to be better next time."
That Ibanez tormented Garcia on Saturday wasn't the least bit surprising. He's a career .559 hitter in 34 career at-bats against the 36-year-old Garcia. Garcia, in camp on a Minor League deal, knows he can't have many days like this if he's to earn a spot in the starting rotation.
"I need to pitch [well] to be on this team," he said.
• Manager Bud Black liked what he saw from right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross on Saturday, as Ross allowed two runs in two innings with two strikeouts. Ross topped out at 96 mph and offered a 90-mph changeup -- a pitch Black would like to see him ease up on in terms of velocity. Otherwise, there was a lot to like.
"It's a big arm," Black said. "Tyson, like every pitcher, has got to command the fastball."
• Black was asked Sunday if he was pleased with the depth of starting pitching candidates in camp -- a number that nearly reaches double digits. He nodded, with one caveat.
"That's how I felt last year," he said.
The Padres, of course, had numerous health issues with starting pitchers early last season. How bad was it? The team eventually cobbled together 59 starts out of pitchers who weren't on the 40-man roster on Opening Day.
• Freddy Garcia wasn't the only rotation hopeful who had a tough time on Sunday. Casey Kelly, who made his Major League debut last season, allowed three runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. Kelly walked one and struck out two.
"The first time out, he wasn't locating the ball," Black said.
• Black praised the work of reliever Fautino De Los Santos, who was claimed off waivers from the Brewers earlier this month. De Los Santos struck out three and allowed one hit over two scoreless innings. De Los Santos was around 92-93 mph with his fastball and showed a good slider at times. Relievers Luke Gregerson and Dale Thayer each tossed a scoreless inning, as well.