The first day that Kyle Blanks took batting practice after the Padres promoted him from Triple-A, he swatted four balls off an advertising board that fronts Petco Park's second deck beyond left field.
Padres staffers were giggling as Blanks made Petco look tiny.
"I thought he was going to break that yellow sign out there," said bench coach Ted Simmons.
Blanks looked lost in the games, but during the last roadtrip, the 22-year-old figured out something. He's hit six home runs in the last 14 games and now Adrian Gonzalez isn't feeling so lonely in the San Diego lineup.
Especially promising was the home run that Blanks hit against the Nationals on July 26 -- a pull-shot off a hot, inside fastball. For weeks, Blanks had done little with routine inside fastballs, but this time, the 6-foot-6, 285-pounder got his legs and hands in synch early, then showed easy power.
Will Venable also figured something out, and he'll ride a 10-for-21 streak into tonight's game against the Braves.
Blanks and Venable are athletic players, as is rookie shortstop Everth Cabrera, who continues to outpace expectations for a player who was in Single-A last year.
Bottom line, it's been an encouraging two weeks for the Padres.
Padres officials, some of them still in disbelief, celebrated once Jake Peavy accepted the trade to the White Sox on Friday.
Understand that the same Padres officials would love to see Peavy give GM Kenny Williams and the White Sox a World Series title.
But the whole franchise exhaled once Peavy accepted the trade, freeing up $56 million and removing a trade specter that had hovered since October.