Minor Leaguers to be used in Tucson

Minor Leaguers to be used in Tucson

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With so many of their players still in China, the Padres will lean heavily on Minor Leaguers to play a substantial role in their upcoming three-game swing through Tucson.

Starters Jake Peavy (Sunday), Greg Maddux (Monday) and Chris Young (Tuesday) will not make the trip, instead staying in Peoria to throw in Minor League games. Accordingly, three pitchers whose Opening Day status remains uncertain will start in Tucson: Shawn Estes on Sunday, Glendon Rusch on Monday and Wil Ledezma on Tuesday.

Beyond the starters, there aren't many pitchers from Major League camp making the trip.

Bench coach and acting manager Craig Colbert said he expects the club to bus approximately 15 Minor Leaguers down to Tucson each of the three days.

Many of the position players from Major League camp will only participate in two of the three games, so plenty of Minor League hitters will see action as well.

The Padres' China travel squad returns to Arizona on Monday night, but Colbert doesn't expect them to return to game action immediately because of jet lag.

"I would think Thursday, because we have an off-day Wednesday," Colbert said. "I don't think many of them will go to Tucson ... [but] they're going to work out" in Peoria.

Because of the China trip, the Padres have not made any roster cuts since March 6, so a number of players could be reassigned next week.

Mark Thoma is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.