Morrow aims to claim final spot in Padres' rotation

Right-hander signed this offseason before offense's overhaul, brings bullpen experience

Morrow aims to claim final spot in Padres' rotation

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When Brandon Morrow was considering signing with the Padres this winter, he received assurance there were big changes on the way in San Diego. Sure enough, the Padres delivered.

"They told me they were going to aggressively improve the offense," Morrow said. "But they went way beyond the expectations of what I thought they could probably do. And then to do it without getting rid of the starting pitching that was already here -- that's big."

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres work to maximize innings for surplus of arms

Four pitchers in competition for No. 5 starter role

Padres work to maximize innings for surplus of arms

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Between meetings and pressed for time, Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley scooped up a bowl of pasta just before the lunchroom closed at the team's training facility, a quick bite before he huddled again with the coaches.

Balsley has been busy devising a way to find innings for the 29 pitchers in big league camp during the upcoming Cactus League schedule, which begins in earnest on Wednesday against the Mariners.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clear head, big arm: Maurer flourishing as a reliever

Padres' new pitcher embraces 'art' of being a bullpen weapon

Clear head, big arm: Maurer flourishing as a reliever

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Struggling as a starting pitcher last season took a toll on Brandon Maurer when he was with the Mariners, but it was the days between his starts that really ate away at him -- four days teeming with self-doubt, frustration and searching.

"It got to be a little overwhelming," Maurer said. "I'd have one bad start and then another and then I'm starting to think about what I need to change, what I need to switch-up. I would say those four days got to me a little bit."

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego native Erickson enjoying being a Padre

After eight seasons with Dodgers, catcher excited to play for hometown team

San Diego native Erickson enjoying being a Padre

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As a Minor League free agent, catcher Griff Erickson had any number of opportunities to pursue this past offseason when it came time to look for a new organization.

But there was only one perfect fit.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wisler determined to build on educational 2014

Padres top pitching prospect has shot at fifth rotation spot

Wisler determined to build on educational 2014

PEORIA, Ariz. -- After essentially breezing his way through the Padres' organization, three-plus seasons filled with dominant starts, pitcher Matt Wisler was told early last May that he was being promoted to Triple-A El Paso.

"I had heard it was a pretty good hitter's league, so I was expecting a pretty good challenge," he said.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hips don't lie: Gyorko working on swing

Second baseman focused on bouncing back after down year

Hips don't lie: Gyorko working on swing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- While many Padres hitters are spending the first few days of live batting practice tracking offerings from pitchers, second baseman Jedd Gyorko is trying something different.

He's getting his hacks in.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Black tabs veteran Lane to start Cactus League opener

Minor Leaguers Hancock, Jackson to follow vs. Mariners

Black tabs veteran Lane to start Cactus League opener

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres have tabbed 38-year-old lefty Jason Lane to start Wednesday's charity game against the Mariners, the first exhibition game of the Cactus League schedule.

Manager Bud Black said on Saturday that Lane, a non-roster invitee in camp on a Minor League contract, will likely go two innings in a game that begins at 12:05 p.m. PT at the Peoria Sports Complex.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wallace aims to land job with new-look Padres

Black says former first-round pick could be used as bench bat

Wallace aims to land job with new-look Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pity poor Glenn Hoffman, the Padres third-base coach who works with the infielders. His hands might be covered in calluses by time the team reaches the first game of spring on Wednesday, let alone Opening Day.

The Padres have 10 players in camp who are currently getting reps at first base during drills. While many don't figure into their 2015 plans, at least one could push his way into consideration with a strong showing this spring.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Preller settles in for first spring as Padres GM

Several position battles to play out in camp for revamped roster

Preller settles in for first spring as Padres GM

PEORIA, Ariz. -- First-year general manager A.J. Preller won't come out and say he's completely finished revamping the roster, mostly because one injury or one tempting call could change all that fast.

"We're always constantly evaluating that [roster]," Preller said.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Amarista ready for challenge as Padres' everyday shortstop

Former utility player solidified role as fill-in for injured Cabrera in '14

Amarista ready for challenge as Padres' everyday shortstop

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In a 12-month span, Padres shortstop Alexi Amarista played in 209 games -- 21 games in Spring Training, a career-high 148 regular season games with the Padres and then 40 games this winter, concluding this month in the Caribbean World Series.

Asked when he might have allowed himself some downtime this offseason, Amarista flashed a sheepish grin before relaying an answer to a translator, teammate Wil Nieves.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morrow, Despaigne have slight edge in starter battle

Wide-open race for fifth spot also includes Wisler and Erlin

Morrow, Despaigne have slight edge in starter battle

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres figure to use the remaining five or so weeks of Spring Training to decide who will be their fifth starter in their rotation, a competition manager Bud Black has described as wide open.

That said, Black said Thursday that Brandon Morrow and Odrisamer Despaigne are "maybe out there a touch," in terms of being ahead of the other candidates in camp.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Luebke determined to pitch again after two Tommy John surgeries

Luebke determined to pitch again after two Tommy John surgeries

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The fog of anesthesia was just beginning to clear that morning last February when Cory Luebke, resting inside of a recovery room after his second Tommy John surgery in 21 months, noticed there was a couple in the room with him.

The man happened to be Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, the Iron Man himself. Ripken was at the Pensacola, Fla., clinic of noted surgeon James Andrews with his wife, who had also had surgery.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

JJ eager to make progress in throwing program

Righty eyes bullpen session soon; next step is flat-ground session

JJ eager to make progress in throwing program

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Josh Johnson said he was excited Thursday at the prospect of throwing a bullpen session in the near future, which would be a significant milestone for him in his return from Tommy John surgery last April.

Johnson, who is currently playing long toss three times a week from 180 feet, will increase his distance to 200-plus feet next week, and he will throw twice a week.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLBPA's Clark visits Padres' camp, discusses recent honor

San Diego local thrilled with induction into Breitbard Hall of Fame

MLBPA's Clark visits Padres' camp, discusses recent honor

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As part of his tour of Major League camps this spring, Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark stopped at Padres' camp Thursday.

He saw a few familiar faces -- Clark played for the Padres and manager Bud Black for part of the 2008 season -- and answered questions from players, some about baseball's new pace-of-play rules.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Lyle Spencer

Dream team? Kemp thinking big at Padres camp

Slugger brings charm to new clubhouse, confident that Majors' best outfield resides in San Diego

Dream team? Kemp thinking big at Padres camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Spotting a familiar face in the Padres' clubhouse early Wednesday morning, Matt Kemp presented a bright smile and a hand to shake, soon followed by a question.

"Who," he said, "do you think has the best outfield in the game now?"

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Lyle Spencer has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2005. He has covered Major League Baseball as a reporter and columnist since 1971. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hedges shrugs off rankings, focused on Majors

Padres prospect a defensive standout, looking to improve at plate

Hedges shrugs off rankings, focused on Majors

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Austin Hedges is well aware that after two grim offensive seasons in the Texas League, his star has, apparently, dimmed in the eyes of some who compile prospect lists.

"I'm aware of almost all of those lists," Hedges said, sitting in front of his locker. "But the second that I start thinking about negative thoughts ... that won't get me any better today.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres eager to make splash internationally

New GM Preller known for strong work in Latin America

Padres eager to make splash internationally

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Two days after narrowly missing out on the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes, Padres officials weren't kicking themselves over what might have been.

Instead, executive chairman Ron Fowler and team president and CEO Mike Dee were champing at the bit Wednesday over what might be.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres get to know prospects at minicamp

Players get head start with drills, individualized instruction

Padres get to know prospects at minicamp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres' annual minicamp for many of the organization's top prospects got underway Wednesday at the team's Spring Training facility.

All told, 39 players -- 16 pitchers, five catchers, nine infielders and nine outfielders -- began drills as well as individualized instruction from the organization's Minor League coordinators, managers and coaches.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Quentin open to giving first base a try

Padres veteran knows team could trade him to ease glut of outfielders

Quentin open to giving first base a try

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It appears a change of scenery could be very well in store for Carlos Quentin this spring.

Such as moving from the outfield to first base, a position that Quentin has never played in his 11-year professional career.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres bring prospect Turner to Majors camp

Shortstop rumored to be headed to Nationals in June to conclude trade

Padres bring prospect Turner to Majors camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The curious case of Trea Turner took another twist Tuesday when the Padres' 2014 first-round Draft pick arrived in Peoria, a surprise addition to big league camp.

Turner is purportedly the player to be named and sent to the Nationals in the three-team trade that also involved the Rays in December. His name is not included in the paperwork between the Padres and Nationals.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kemp: Arthritis in hips won't be an issue

Kemp: Arthritis in hips won't be an issue

PEORIA, Ariz. -- New outfielder Matt Kemp has had two months to digest the news that he has arthritis in both of his hips, a detail that was revealed publicly after he took a physical before his December trade from the Dodgers to the Padres was officially consummated.

What has Kemp done to address the situation, and what will he do moving forward?

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres involved 'right up until the end' on Moncada

Padres involved 'right up until the end' on Moncada

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres weren't able to land 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada on Monday, though it wasn't due to a lack of effort.

The Padres are believed to have made an offer in the neighborhood of $25 million for the switch-hitter, according to a baseball source.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maybin ready to 'put up or shut up'

Center fielder eager to win starting job with Padres

Maybin ready to 'put up or shut up'

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Cameron Maybin, who has started in center field for the Padres on Opening Day in three of the past four seasons, isn't ready to concede the position to newcomer Wil Myers.

"I feel when I'm in center field, I give us the best chance out there," Maybin said. "… To me, it's an open competition. Everyone better be ready."

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres pleased with Quackenbush's growth

After shuttling between Minors and Majors last season, righty ready to prove himself

Padres pleased with Quackenbush's growth

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The first go-around in the big leagues last season for Padres pitcher Kevin Quackenbush proved to be the kind of whirlwind endeavor that you might expect a rookie to experience his first time on the big stage.

And we're not exclusively talking about the adjustment from getting Minor League hitters out to trying to do the same in the big leagues.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres prospect Kelly slowed by strained groin

Padres prospect Kelly slowed by strained groin

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pitcher Casey Kelly remained sidelined Monday with a strained groin, though he felt a bit encouraged that the injury won't keep him away from the mound for long.

"It feels a little better today than it did yesterday," Kelly said Monday morning.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prior's perspective valuable to Padres prospects

New Minor League pitching coordinator knows highs, lows of baseball

Prior's perspective valuable to Padres prospects

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When he was 21, Mark Prior made his Major League debut for the Cubs. By the time he was 23, Prior was tossing a gem in Game 5 of the National League Division Series and had the Cubs just five outs away from the World Series in 2003.

In 2006, at 25, Prior had thrown his last pitch, his career derailed by maddening injuries, though he kept trying to work his way back until he finally retired in the winter of 2013 to take a baseball-operations job with the Padres.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bouncing around could help Spangenberg stick

Infielder battling for bench job with Padres picked up skills in outfield

Bouncing around could help Spangenberg stick

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As the Padres go about looking at players who will comprise their bench for this season, they will look for players who can serve a variety of roles.

Bat off the bench late in games, a player with speed, a left-handed bat and someone who offers some degree of versatility.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.