Padres option prospect Darnell to Triple-A

Padres option prospect Darnell to Triple-A

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres optioned third baseman/outfielder James Darnell to Triple-A Tucson on Sunday morning, reducing the number of players in big league camp to 34.

However, three pitchers -- Jeff Suppan, Joe Wieland and Casey Kelly -- have all been informed that they will begin the season with Triple-A Tucson.

As manager Bud Black indicated earlier in camp, the Padres will take a handful of extra players back to San Diego after Sunday's game against the Rangers. The team will play exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Royals.

The Padres have until 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday to finalize their 25-man roster for Opening Day on Thursday against the Dodgers at Petco Park. It's possible that Black will still use those two games to evaluate players before he and his staff sets the roster.

Darnell, ranked No. 19 among the team's top prospects, hit .295 with one home run and seven RBIs in 61 at-bats this spring. He also had five doubles and 17 strikeouts.

"I told him today that he was in the mix to the end," Black said.