Cashner, obtained last month from the Cubs in the deal that sent first baseman Anthony Rizzo to Chicago, said during Saturday's FanFest at Petco Park that he has "never been more excited to start the season."
That makes perfect sense after Cashner missed most of last season with a rotator cuff issue. He was limited to 10 2/3 innings -- 5 1/3 innings in April and 5 1/3 more innings in September.
"Last year ... it was what it was," said Cashner, who is expected to serve as the Padres' eighth-inning specialist, setting up new closer Huston Street. "I've really put in a lot of work during the offseason, getting ready."
Cashner, who opened last season as the Cubs' fifth starter, said that he would like to return to starting again, but that his primary goal in 2012 is being healthy and able to contribute.
"Down the road, I do want to start and they've [the Padres] told me I'll get that chance," he said. "But now, I just want to stay healthy and pitch."