SAN FRANCISCO -- As a statistical oddity, Padres reliever Andrew Cashner entered Friday's game against the Giants with the same number of innings (10 2/3) that he threw all of last season.
Of course, Cashner was limited to seven appearances last season when he was with the Cubs because of a strained rotator cuff.
The point is the Padres have had no qualms about giving the hard-throwing right-hander plenty of work early in the season, as he went into Friday in a 10-way tie for the second-most appearances (11) in all of the Major Leagues.
Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers entered the night with 12 appearances.
"It's been great," Cashner said. "For me, it's finding consistency in my delivery. I didn't pitch a lot last year so it's getting back out there and getting consistent every night. I'm always working on something out there."
"It's been a lot of fun for me," Cashner added. "They have a lot of confidence in me and I like showing up every night with the thought that I might pitch."
Cashner, who is the Padres' primary eighth-inning specialist, has allowed a run in two of his 11 outings so far. He's allowed five hits with eight walks and nine strikeouts in those 10 2/3 innings.
"The whole thing with the starter is the routine," said Cashner, who opened the 2011 season as the fifth starter in the Cubs' rotation. "When you have a bad outing [as a reliever], you're going to be right back out there. You don't have to sit around and wait five days."
There's some thought that the Padres envision Cashner as a rotation candidate for 2013, though some in the organization think he misses enough bats and has the right makeup to be a closer someday. For now, the team just wants him to do what he's been doing.
"The key for him this year is to gain confidence in his arm," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He has less than 80 innings in the big leagues. He's still growing as a pitcher. We're still not sure what he's going to become. But the more success he has against any Major League hitters ... the better he's going to be."