Reshuffled Padres descend on spring camp

Reshuffled Padres descend on spring camp

Reshuffled Padres descend on spring camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- For as much as Heath Bell tried to keep up with comings and goings of the Padres' hectic offseason, he found a surefire way Sunday of how to put a name with a face.

Glance at the name plate.

"Hopefully, they're sitting in front of their locker so all you have to do is just look up and see who they are," said Bell, the Padres' two-time All-Star closer.

Introductions were certainly in high demand Sunday as pitchers and catchers reported to the Peoria Sports Complex. The first official workout is scheduled for Monday.

On Sunday, though, it was get-to-know-your-teammate day, as players passed in and out of the clubhouse on their way to and from taking physicals.

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"You come in here and see guys you haven't seen since last year," Bell said. "There were some big hugs. It's like relatives you haven't seen in a long time. It's going to be exciting to see how we mesh together and start building a friendship."

The Padres have undergone a dramatic roster shuffle from the end of last season -- when they won 90 games and finished one victory shy of the postseason.

How dramatic?

The Padres could have as few as nine players on their 25-man Opening Day roster who were a part of it a year ago.

"It's a different roster than last year," Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said. "We had a lot of turnover, but I like our depth and balance. We are a more talented roster."

Many of those new faces -- like pitchers Aaron Harang and Chad Qualls and catchers Rob Johnson and Gregg Zaun -- showed up early Sunday to get their physicals and meet their new teammates and coaches.

Harang, a San Diego native who is looking forward to pitching for his hometown team, arrived in Peoria last week to get acclimated.

"There's been a few guys who have shown up in the past week," Harang said. "I'm really looking forward to it. It seems like guys are itching to get started."

Position players -- old and new -- will report on Friday with the first workout set for the following day.

That first full-squad workout on Saturday will mark the first time the Padres have been on the field together since the regular-season finale in October.

But this team will look little like the one that surprised the baseball world in 2010 -- and the Padres think that's a good thing.

Hoyer spent the winter dealing from a position of strength, trading away relief pitchers, to upgrade the offense and defense.

Hoyer's efforts to make the Padres stronger up the middle saw him acquire or sign three players -- second baseman Orlando Hudson, shortstop Jason Bartlett and center fielder Cameron Maybin -- who he's convinced will fare well, especially in a ballpark like PETCO Park where runs are precious commodities.

"The positions we were weak last year, we're better at now," Hoyer said.

For as busy a winter as the Padres had, one that included trading All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Hoyer is expecting a relatively quiet spring.

"Barring injuries, we have a pretty good idea what the club is going to look like," Hoyer said. "We don't have competitions all over the diamond, which is a good thing."

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