Padres Spring Update: Pitching, Pitching, Pitching


San Diego Padres‘ manager Bud Black met with the media once again yesterday, and gave updates on both the battle for the coveted fifth rotation spot, as well as what appears to be one open spot in the Padres’ bullpen. Along with discussing the candidates battling it out for the fifth spot and the lone bullpen slot, there is also an injury update on starting pitcher Casey Kelley, all in today’s Padres Spring Update! 

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Black believes there are two candidates who have inched out in front in the battle for the fifth starter’s spot in the rotation: free agent acquisition Brandon Morrow and second-year hurler Odrisamer Despaigne. When it came to Morrow, Black told Friar Wire the following: “He’s in the mix wanting that fifth spot. He wants to be in San Diego. We assured him that we we’re going to give him the opportunity as a starter. He wants to get back into the rotation but he needs to stay healthy.”

While Black might be more familiar with Despaigne, he can’t deny the talent of Morrow when he’s healthy. That doesn’t mean that Despaigne is going to just lay down and hand the job to Morrow however. Black added this on the Cuban right-hander: “He’s doing a lot of extra work with the bat in his hand. He’s a veteran pitcher and he knows his body, he knows his arm. Disrupting the hitter’s timing is his strength.”

One candidate who is going to have to have the spring training of his life to win the fifth starter’s spot in the Padres’ rotation is highly-regarded prospect, Matt Wisler. While nothing has been guaranteed to any pitcher in camp in terms of the the open competition, Black clearly believes for Wisler to break camp with the team, he’s going to have to perform well. “I’m looking at it as a competition. Our thoughts on him is that he’s coming in here and rubbing shoulders with the big guys and getting closer to the big leagues but he’s going to have pitch well.”

Skipper Black firmly believes that having so much depth in camp is a good thing. It promotes competition among the candidates, and forces the best to compete for their roster spot. “Can’t have enough pitching. We like the depth. There’s going to be some competition when you look at the names. When you add it all up, we’ve got a lot of good arms and that’s a good thing.” That isn’t even including rehabbing starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Cory Luebke, along with injured pitcher Casey Kelly. Depth is indeed a great thing to have, and if any of the aforementioned candidates go down or don’t pitch well, Black has plenty of options to run out to the bump throughout the regular season.

Speaking of Kelly, Black says he’s feeling better, and is still pretty sore, and expects him out for the next several days.

When it comes to the Friars’ bullpen, one name continues to be mentioned for the final spot: Jose Valverde. The former All-Star closer signed a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp, and hopes to land the final spot in what is shaping up to be an excellent Padres’ bullpen. But for Valverde to break camp with the team, he’s going to have to pitch well once Cactus League games get underway. Valverde has struggled mightily at times in recent years with Detroit and New York. Black added: “This guy’s a good fella and everyone that has played with him says he’s a nice guy. He’s still has decent stuff. It’s going to be a battle for him because we have some good names.”

Stay with Friars On Base for all of your spring training news, notes, and injury updates throughout the month of March, as the Friars march towards the 2015 regular season opener in Los Angeles against the rival Dodgers.

Next: Luebke Realistic About Return From Second Surgery

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