Welcome to the pre-China mailbag, as I'm off to Beijing with the Padres on Tuesday for five days of scaling the Great Wall, watching a little baseball and who knows what else might come down the pike. Make sure you check out the Padres Web site and my blog for updates, insights and random observations from the trip. Cheers, Corey.
As some fans might have feared and possibly expected because of age, Jim Edmonds is hurt. Do you think the Padres will go in panic mode and go out and get an outfielder? I'm not sure the Padres would be too comfortable with Chase Headley and Scott Hairston starting to begin the season. -- Jeremy E., National City, Calif.
I wouldn't go as far to call it "panic mode," though the Padres will certainly watch how Edmonds is feeling over the next week to 10 days to see if he will miss the beginning of the regular season. If that's the case and they're not content with the players they will run out in center in Edmonds' absence -- Callix Crabbe, Hairston, Jody Gerut and Jeff DaVanon -- then they might be inclined to make a deal for a center fielder. But for now, expect to see a lot of those aforementioned players in Cactus League games.
What did Justin Germano do so badly last year that he isn't even a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation? The Padres may think they're deep in starting pitching, but I don't see Mark Prior with his arm problems and Randy Wolf as sure things. -- Brian G., Orange, Calif.
Germano is a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, though they're not just going to hand him the job. The fact is there are several candidates in camp who have a legitimate shot of filling in there until Prior is healthy. Germano is one of those pitchers. The guy is still very much on the Padres' radar, especially with the way he threw after being recalled from Triple-A Portland in May (he won five of his first seven starts before losing). The Friars were concerned with Germano's second-half results (2-7, 4.98 ERA).
I have always been a big Paul McAnulty fan. What are his chances of making the team? He took the offseason seriously and lost some weight and is off to a hot start. -- Drew K., Rancho Bernardo, Calif.
Hey Drew, you're right, McAnulty has looked good in camp thus far, and not just with the bat, though that's certainly been and continues to be his calling card. McAnulty was hitting .389 with two home runs entering Cactus League play on Monday. He has looked good in the outfield and has cut off balls in the gap a few times, something that he might not have been able to do a year ago.
McAnulty is an interesting case in that he's out of Minor League options and these at-bats this spring could more or less be an audition for other teams if the Padres don't keep him. Now with Edmonds out, McAnulty might have a better chance to stick on the roster, as the team might be afforded the chance to carry another outfielder.
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How much of a chance do you give pitcher Carlos Guevara of making the Opening Day roster, especially with the injury he recently suffered? I know he was something of a hot commodity in the Rule 5 Draft and I love the idea of having a screwballer on the team. What do you think? -- Ryan P., San Diego
Guevara was an early casualty in camp, sidelined by a nagging hamstring strain that he suffered in the first few days of drills. He was only recently cleared to pitch in games, and threw a scoreless inning in his Cactus League debut last week. He'll likely get more chances to show the staff what he's capable of as we move forward into spring. He isn't on the trip to China, so he should get regular relief work (every other day). I like the idea of the screwball, as well. And since he's a Rule 5 guy, Guevara has to stick on the roster all year or be offered back to the Reds for $25,000. That doesn't mean the team will carry him all year just for the sake of not losing him. Guevara has to pitch well enough, like everyone else, to earn a spot.
I saw Edgar Gonzalez play at Spring Training and I was amazed by how well that he swung the bat and ran the bases. Since Gonzalez is so versatile in the infield, what are the chances of him making the team? -- Vic A., San Diego
I think he stands a good chance of making the team in that he can play all four positions in the infield, play the outfield in a pinch and can even catch a little. And Gonzalez can certainly hit. He's had nice Minor League numbers and has nothing left to prove at the Triple-A level. The big question is Gonzalez's glove: How is he defensively? So far he has been pretty good, though the Padres would like to have a defensive-minded player on their bench for late in games if possible. Can he be that guy? We'll find out.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.