Digitally, Brach catches Black's eye

Digitally, Brach catches Black's eye

Digitally, Brach catches Black's eye
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Not long after Wednesday's split-squad loss to the Rangers, Padres manager Bud Black returned to his office and got on to see how the other Padres team fared against the Reds.

Black noticed the team won the game, 5-0, and that reliever Brad Brach closed out the Reds by striking out the side. He also noticed how Brach went about doing it.

"It said nine pitches, no balls," Black said.

As it turns out, that calculation was off, as Brach actually threw 11 pitches in a 5-0 victory. Either way, it was a nice performance for the right-hander three days after he was charged with a loss against Seattle.

"Everyone said it's spring and you want to get your work in. But you still want to do well. You don't want to let up runs and cost your team the game," Brach said.

Brach, who is part of a crowded bullpen contingent of arms trying to win a spot on the 25-man Opening Day roster, is trying to distinguish himself any way he can. Getting the attention of the manager is surely a good way to do so.

"It's a good thing for the years to come and even this year. I think the young guys are going to help out the team," Brach said of the relievers in camp. "It's good to get them all here and see what they've all got. It's also good incentive to do well."

Brach got his first taste of the Major Leagues last season, when he went 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA over nine appearances after being promoted from Triple-A Tucson. He has been successful at the Minor League level as a closer, saving 112 games with a 2.22 ERA in 207 appearances.

The Padres don't need a closer this season as they traded for Huston Street and they have an eighth-inning specialist in Andrew Cashner. But there could still be a job or two won with strong outings in Arizona.

Brach has been trying to incorporate his changeup more this spring, a pitch he feels can help him give left-handed batters something to think about.

"It's what I've been working on the most this spring," Brach said. "It's been real good for me so far. Hopefully, it will be effective to lefties."