Padres at home away from home for All-Star Game

Associated Press
Wil Myers of the Padres competes during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at PETCO Park in San Diego Monday.

San Diego — Wil Myers and Drew Pomeranz of the San Diego Padres will be in their comfort zone for the All-Star Game before their home fans at Petco Park tonight.

Well, for the most part.

Because the National League is hosting in four straight years, the American League gets to wear white uniforms and bat last. And that means San Diego’s players had to vacate their own clubhouse and move to the visitors’ locker room on the third-base side.

They’re totally OK with having to turn left instead of right when they come through the players’ entrance.

It’s been a crazy several weeks for Myers. He was named an All-Star ambassador, and then played his way into All-Star consideration by hitting 11 home runs in June. He was named to the NL team, and then named to the Home Run Derby.

On Tuesday morning, he found out via Twitter that he’ll be the NL’s designated hitter, batting fourth for manager Terry Collins’ club.

“It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity me, just being in the Home Run Derby and starting in the All-Star Game,” he said. “So I’m just going to soak up every minute of it. I’m not going to take any of it for granted. I’m going to enjoy every second of it and just enjoy it.”

Myers has 19 homers overall. His brother, Beau, was set to pitch to him in the Home Run Derby.

The first baseman has a full household for a few days. Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets was Myers’ Airbnb guest on Sunday night. Beau gets the couch, and Myers’ parents get the other bedroom.

Myers, the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year while with Tampa Bay, is having a big season for the otherwise struggling Padres. One of the big factors is that he’s comfortable at spacious Petco Park, which has bedeviled other Padres sluggers since it opened in 2004.

“I see the ball well here. I’ve always seen the ball well here, even last year,” said Myers, who was limited to 60 games in 2015, his first season with San Diego. “Everybody talks about it being a pitcher’s park. I think it’s a very fair ballpark. I’ve never hit a ball that I thought was getting out, that did not get out. If you hit it right it’s going to fly.”

Like Myers, Pomeranz played himself into the All-Star picture by going 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA and 115 strikeouts.

“It’s pretty awesome,” said Pomeranz, known for his curveball. “I think it’s best-case scenario for both of us being here at our home park. We kind of know the lay of the land. It’s probably less overwhelming for us because being both of our first times, we know where to go, we know a lot of people, we know the clubhouse. Even though it’s on the other side, I think we’ve both been in the visiting clubhouse. It’s really cool to be able to do it here.”

Myers and Pomeranz will be joined on the NL squad by reliever Fernando Rodney, who was traded from San Diego to Miami on June 30.

Rodney pretends to shoot an arrow after securing each save, and Myers would be his sidekick, acting like he was tracking down where the arrow landed.

“He asked me, ‘Rodney, where’s the arrow landing, where it’s going?’ ” Rodney said. “It goes a different way. I shoot it a different side of the ballpark. We’ve got good communication.”

Gwynn helped Sale quit

American League All-Star starter Chris Sale paid tribute to late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, saying he quit chewing tobacco when the Padres great died of salivary gland cancer in June 2014 at age 54.

The White Sox pitcher, who leads the major leagues with 14 wins, was picked to start tonight’s game at Petco Park.

He says “I chewed tobacco from 2007 until the day he passed away. I remember seeing that, and just being so shocked.”

Sale said, “I quit that day, and I haven’t touched it since,” adding “I owe him a huge thank you for not only myself but for my family.”

A 15-time All-Star, Gwynn spent his entire big league career with the Padres, hitting .338 with 3,141 hits from 1982-01.

Ozuna rebounds

A year ago Marcell Ozuna was a newly demoted minor leaguer, sent to Triple-A following a 1-for-36 slump that erased his perpetual smile and magnified doubts about his future with the Marlins.

All of which makes his first All-Star Game that much more momentous for Ozuna, who will start in center field Tuesday for the National League.

The smile is back as he reflects on his journey of the past 12 months.

“I dreamed of being an All-Star,” he said. “But a starter in one year? It’s impossible.”

Ozuna was promoted to the starting lineup because of injuries to other players, but his statistics are All-Star worthy, thanks in part to the mentoring of first-year Marlins batting coach Barry Bonds. Ozuna is hitting .307 with 17 homers and 47 RBIs, and ranks among NL leaders with 99 hits and five triples.

Ozuna concedes he was out of shape in 2015, so this year he reported for spring training lighter and fitter. He began to bond with Bonds, and the home run king began preaching strike zone discipline to the free-swinging Ozuna.

“He talked to me about how you have to be patient and selective,” Ozuna said. “Right now I trust what I can do. I say, ‘Don’t rush.’ ”

The All-Star Game will be his first since Class A in Florida in 2009.