Roster Continues to Take Shape

By Editorial Staff

The Padres made a flurry of demotions today as spring training draws near its close.

Pitchers Greg Burke, Mark Worrell, Ernesto Frieri, and Cesar Carrillo were sent down. Logan Forsythe, Dusty Ryan, Luis Durango, Aaron Cunningham, and Matt Antonelli joined them.

I didn’t expect any of the nine to make the team, but the moves bring the Padres’ roster down to 29 players, very close to the 25 of Opening Day.

Frieri hasn’t seen Triple-A yet, and Carrillo hasn’t done much in the minors in years. Worrell missed all of 2009 with an arm injury, and will need some time to get back in big-league form. Burke is a decent major league pitcher, but as a non-roster invitee on a team packed with ‘pen depth, he was a real longshot. It’s a credit to him that he outlasted Ryan Webb and Aaron Poreda.

Ryan is another solid major leaguer, but there wasn’t room for him with Yorvit Torrealba and Nick Hundley around. He’s exactly the sort of player that gets cut at the end of March. So is Aaron Cunningham, who will see regular Triple-A at-bats rather than being a platoon/bench player in the bigs.

Durango and Forsythe haven’t seen Triple-A yet, but both impressed in camp, so they were given long looks. Antonelli was a huge surprise, mashing this spring after spending two years flailing in Triple-A. Those three are guys to watch, as they could be back in San Diego before the All-Star Break.

Interestingly, catcher Chris Stewart remains on the 29-man roster. Stewart, 28, is a defensive standout who is just 9-for-48 with three major league teams. Another NRI, Stewart has shockingly outlasted Ryan in camp. I can’t see much of a reason to keep him around this long. He’s 2-for-9 with 3 walks this spring.

With Stewart likely to be cut at some point, the Padres effectively have 28 guys competing for 25 spots. Chris Denorfia and Matt Stairs are fighting for one spot, and Sean Gallagher, Tim Stauffer, Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, and Adam Russell are fighting for three spots on the pitching staff.

I’m continuing to pull for Denorfia, Gallagher, Latos, and Russell.