Young players will make 'rookie' mistakes

Myers ties Petco Park home run record

Young players will make 'rookie' mistakes

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

There is a reason why they are called "rookie mistakes."

In any sport, players learn by experience the nuances of the game.

Baseball is no different. In fact, it probably leads the sporting world in moving parts of the game.

We mention that as a way of discussing what Padres manager Andy Green is trying to do these days.

Green wants to win every game. No manager anywhere is happy with losing. But Green is now playing with a cast that is learning while on the job. He is training and teaching while his players are playing. No matter how well a player might be playing, mistakes are going to be made.

Case in point - Padres center fielder Travis Jankowski.

Jankowski extended his season-best hitting streak to five straight games Friday night. He is 9-for-19 during the streak with a double, six stolen bases (he now leads all Major League rookies with 23 steals) and seven runs scored.

Jankowski has served to be a trigger in the Padres' lead-off spot. But he made two costly mistakes Friday night. This is not to single out Jankowski, just to show what can happen to young players in a pressure-packed situation.

The most notable mistake came in the seventh inning when he apparently reached second with the tying run on a two-out double. But he was tagged out at second when he took his hand off the bag (before his foot was on second) while trying to signal "time out."

"I doubt he'll ever do that again," said Green, who said he didn't plan to discuss that play with Jankowski.

However, an earlier play was likely discussed.

With the Padres leading 2-0 and Phillies on first and second with no one out in the top of the fourth, Jankowski caught a line drive deep in left center. As the runner on second headed to third, Jankowski threw in the direction of third - although Jankowski had absolutely no play at third.

That allowed the runner on first to advance to second.

That gaffe not only allowed the tying run to move into scoring position, it took away the possibility of an inning-ending doubleplay. As Green said later, the new situation altered the way pitcher Christian Friedrich would attack the next hitter - Cameron Rupp, who wound up hitting a three-run homer.

"We're making improvements daily," said Green. "But there are a number of things that we can do better, that we have to do better. We're not in a position where we can make mistakes and win. We have to do all the little things right."

Little things that don't show up in the boxscore.

NOTES FROM THE SCOREBOOK

-- First baseman Wil Myers ended a 17-game homer drought Friday night with his 21st of the season. The homer was also his 15th at Petco Park, tying the single-season record for the Padres downtown ballpark set by outfielder Wil Venable in 2013 and tied by outfielder Justin Upton last season. Myers was 3-for-4 Friday and is 12-for-33 over his last nine games with four doubles, a homer, four steals, six runs scored and four RBIs.

-- Shortstop Alexei Ramirez hit the first pinch-hit home run of his career Friday night off Jeremy Hellickson. Ramirez has given way to rookie Jose Rondon as the Padres starting shortstop. It was Ramirez's fourth homer of the season.