Twenty things to know about Padilla

Twenty things to know about Vicente Padilla

Twenty things you need to know about Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla, who was acquired in the offseason from the Philadelphia Phillies:

1. Padilla does not talk to the media. Said catcher Rod Barajas, who was his teammate with the Arizona Diamondbacks, "He's basically a quiet guy who works hard, pitches and does his own thing. He wasn't a distraction. Everybody liked and respected him."

2. Padilla's best pitch is a hard sinker that comes in at 93-95 mph and can be rough on a catcher. The scouting report is sometimes he relies too much on his fastball and will give up on the breaking stuff early if he runs into trouble.

"I just remember my finger bleeding because he throws such a heavy ball," Barajas said. "He absolutely battered my hand. Not too many guys can do that much damage. My finger would just crack because the ball would just pound in there."

3. He is one of eight players from Nicaragua who have made it to the Major Leagues. His mentor was Dennis Martinez, who has tried to help him with his breaking and offspeed pitches.

4. While much has been made in camp of Kevin Millwood being a leader on the Rangers' pitching staff, Padilla too has been working with some of the younger pitchers, including Edison Volquez.

"He showed me his breaking ball and changeup, how he held it and threw it," Volquez said. "He has a lot of experience in the big leagues. I think he'll really help the Latino pitchers because he speaks the same language."

5. The Diamondbacks signed Padilla as a free agent out of Nicaragua on Aug. 28, 1998, after scout Junior Naboa watched him pitch in the World Cup. Nicaragua won a bronze medal and Padilla had a save against Italy in the medal round.

6. He also earned a win and a save while helping Nicaragua finish in second place in the Central American Games that year.

7. He is the oldest of five brothers and was so homesick his first season in the Dominican Republic Winter League that the Diamondbacks had to let him go back to Nicaragua.

8. Buck Showalter was Padilla's first manager with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"We brought up him, Erubiel Durazo and [Byung-Hyun] Kim from the Minors," Showalter said. "I grabbed the media guide and said, 'Wow! Who else do we have down there?"

9. Padilla was the Diamondbacks Rookie of the Year after posting a 2.31 ERA in 27 relief appearances in 2000.

10. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Padilla and three other players to the Phillies for Curt Schilling on July 26, 2000. Pitching coach Mark Connor said he and Showalter wanted to give up Kim instead.

"But we had given Kim a lot of money and he was dealing at the time," Connor said.

11. He made 55 relief appearances for Arizona and Philadelphia before the Phillies put him in their rotation in 2002. He has since made 111 starts without a relief appearance.

12. He pitched two scoreless innings in the 2002 All-Star Game but was the last pitcher used by the National League and his stiff back was one of the reasons why the game was called after 11 innings with the score tied at 7.

National League manager Bob Brenly was forced to explain afterward: "Vicente Padilla was warming up, was stiff, he had trouble getting loose in the bullpen. He did get loose and was OK to pitch; and he was on a short pitch count in his first inning of work, but one more was absolutely as far as we were willing to go, and return him to [then Phillies manager] Larry Bowa in the best possible condition that we could."

13. Over the past four years, Padilla has hit 49 batters. Only Victor Zambrano, Jeff Weaver and Kerry Wood have hit more. He hit 50 batters with the Phillies, the third most by a Philadelphia pitcher since 1930.

"He's a fiery competitor," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's not afraid."

14. He hates Philadelphia's Citizen's Bank Park. He had a 4.98 ERA in two years at the new park as opposed to a 2.97 ERA at the old Veterans Stadium.

15. Over the past two years, he has given up 28 home runs, including five in one game, at Citizen's Bank Park and 10 on the road.

16. His 6.27 ERA before the All-Star break last year was the fifth highest among pitchers with at least 60 innings. His 3.63 ERA after the break was the 26th best.

17. Opponents batted .205 off him with runners in scoring position last year and .238 combined over the past four seasons, 23rd best among Major League pitchers.

18. Padilla went 21 innings without issuing a walk in 2003, a career high. He's also had two other streaks of 16 innings without giving up a walk.

"This guy will pound the strike zone," Rangers scout Mel Didier said.

19. The Rangers tried to trade for him in the middle of last season with the idea of putting him back in the bullpen. But the Phillies wanted Volquez in return.

20. The Rangers acquired him this offseason by giving up pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez, who Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had in Cleveland.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.