and Kyle Turris hung up their skates and picked up a baseball bat on March 23 at the Peoria Sports Complex while visiting the San Diego Padres. Ideal weather created a perfect day to take some batting practice, tour the facilities, and take in nine innings of exciting spring training baseball.
Yandle and Turris, both baseball fans, arrived at the complex and headed straight to the field to watch a few of the Padres taking batting practice up close. Padres infielders David Eckstein and Cliff Floyd were taking some warm-up swings and were able to stop and chat with the Coyotes in between swings. They joked about missing teeth, number of home runs hit, and how badly it hurts getting hit against the boards. San Diego Manager Bud Black spoke with the guys as the Padres finished batting practice, and insisted that Yandle and Turris take some swings.
First the guys needed bats, which were supplied by Padres outfielders Jody Gerut and Brian Giles. Yandle batted first and looked like a pro taking pitches from Padres coach Glenn Hoffman, a brother of ex-Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman. Both Turris and Yandle went through a few rounds of pitches and sailed balls to the outfield with ease. After they finished, Giles and Gerut signed their bats and let the guys keep them as souvenirs.
With bats in hand, Yandle and Turris were led on a tour of the facility through the weight room, laundry room, treatment rooms and the lunch room. While eating lunch, Turris got a visit from Padres pitcher Heath Bell, who was on the Team USA roster in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Bell had just returned from Los Angeles after playing Team Japan on Sunday. Bell sat down and spoke with Turris about his experience at the WBC and shared his hopes of visiting a Coyotes practice to take a spot between the pipes as a goalie sometime.
After lunch it was time to head to the main stadium and take in the game from the front row. The Padres and Kansas City Royals supplied a great game, which San Diego won in the bottom of the ninth inning thanks to a three-run, walk-off home run by Chase Headley.