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Padres roster all but set for opener

Padres roster all but set for opener

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It took plenty of internal deliberation, some difficult decisions and even a trade thrown in the mix, but the Padres have settled on their 26-man roster for Opening Day.

That's right, 26-man roster.

Officially, San Diego will open the regular season March 31 against the Astros at PETCO Park with a league-mandated 25-man roster, though they'll likely wait until the very last possible minute to decide if center fielder Jim Edmonds will be on the roster.

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Edmonds, out since March 6 with a strained right calf, played in a Minor League game on Wednesday and had three hits, including a home run. The Padres have until Sunday night to decide if Edmonds will open the season on the field or the disabled list.

Other than that impending decision, Wednesday brought a lot of clarity to the roster when the Padres optioned infielder Luis Rodriguez and relief pitcher Kevin Cameron to Triple-A Portland.

Those two moves mean utilityman Callix Crabbe and Enrique Gonzalez are on the roster for Opening Day barring any moves made before Sunday.

The Padres added an outfielder on Wednesday when the team acquired Justin Huber from Kansas City for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The 25-year-old Huber is out of Minor League options and will make the team.

"We've had interest in this guy the last couple of years," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said of Huber, who has a .204 batting average in 90 career Major League at-bats.

"He's always posted very good numbers in the Minors. He has very good power and we really didn't have a right-handed threat [off the bench]."

Huber joins a crowded outfield picture and even if Edmonds opens the season on the 15-day disabled list -- if he does, he'll be eligible to rejoin the team on April 5 -- the Padres would have Jody Gerut, Paul McAnulty, Brian Giles, Scott Hairston, Huber and even Crabbe who can play the outfield.

If Edmonds goes on the disabled list, the likely starters in the outfield will be Giles in right field, Hairston in center field and McAnulty in left field.

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On the pitching side, Gonzalez makes the team even though he allowed five earned runs in his last spring appearance in Wednesday's 12-7 loss to the Rangers. But, as manager Bud Black has said repeatedly, one start, inning or at-bat do not make a spring.

Cameron has been limited to just 4 2/3 innings this spring because of a hamstring injury, a fractured left thumb and now, Towers said, the flu. And he had Minor League options. Gonzalez, however, does not.

"We want to open with guys who have been out there and tested," Towers said.

The other bullpen spots will go to Wil Ledezma, Glendon Rusch, Joe Thatcher, Heath Bell, Cla Meredith and Trevor Hoffman.

The rotation, to no one's surprise, will be comprised of Opening Day starter Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Greg Maddux, Randy Wolf and Justin Germano.

On the bench, veteran first baseman Tony Clark and either of the two catchers -- Michael Barrett or Josh Bard, depending on who starts -- have earned spots as have the remaining outfielders. Crabbe, as it stands now, is the lone reserve infielder who can play shortstop, second base and third base.

"The versatility that he brought and the ability to go to the outfield and the infield, I think probably gave him the edge right now," Black said of the decision to keep Crabbe and not Rodriguez. "But it was close. It was a tough decision. Both of them were capable of playing short, second and third. Callix can swing to the outfield a little bit, he's a little better runner. I think offensively, they both do similar things."

Adrian Gonzalez will start at first base, Tadahito Iguchi at second base, Khalil Greene at shortstop and Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base.

In addition to sending Rodriguez and Cameron to Portland, the Padres purchased Rusch and Gerut from Portland. Three pitchers were placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21: right-handers Carlos Guevara (strained right groin) and Clay Hensley (right shoulder strain) and left-hander Justin Hampson (left shoulder tendinitis). Additionally, right-handers Mark Prior (right shoulder strain) and Tim Stauffer (right shoulder strain) were placed on the 60-day disabled list.

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

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