Padres News: Jason Lane To Open Spring Training

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The San Diego Padres begin their 2015 Spring Training games this Wednesday against facility co-tenants, the Seattle Mariners, and manager Bud Black has named Jason Lane the first starting pitcher for the Pads, according to Padres writer, Corey Brock.

"“We have scheduled, sort of mapped out, what we want,” Black said when asked why Lane is starting. “… We want to get our guys into games.”"

The converted outfielder made just three appearances for the Padres last season, starting one of them against the Atlanta Braves. It is a bit of a surprise that Black would give him the first start of the Spring Training season over a veteran arm like James Shields.

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Far be it for me to question Black’s decision here. This is Spring Training after all, so whoever is starting or leading off doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

This is a chance for Lane to show off the improvements he has made as a pitcher this off-season. In his three games pitching for the Padres last season he finished with a 0.87 ERA and a 0.677 WHIP.

Not too shabby, but also too few games to make any serious judgments from.

I cannot see Lane getting a lot of starts this season, but having him come in for relief, especially late in games, or even long relief, will be a real benefit for the Padres this season. Unlike most pitchers in baseball, Lane can actually hit.

Lane was a major league outfielder from 2002 to 2007, most notably with the Houston Astros, before making the transition to pitching with the Padres. Lane has a career .241 batting average which is higher than most pitchers in the majors. Having Lane on the mound in relief would give the Padres another bat in the lineup later in games should they need to rally from behind.

Lane was even captured hitting a home run in the Best Picture nominated film, Boyhood, reported earlier on Friars on Base by our own Mark Whelan.

Justin Hancock and Jay Jackson will also be joining Lane on the mound this Wednesday in the Padres Cactus League opener against the Mariners. I’m not as familiar with Hancock or Jackson, so I am eager to get my first glimpse of the young arms this Wednesday too.

Stay tuned to Friars on Base for news on all Cactus League activities. The San Diego Padres have 29 pitchers at camp right now and we will have the scoop on all of them for you.

So, what are you guys expecting out of Jason Lane this season? Which other Padres pitchers are you excited to see this Spring Training?

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