SAN DIEGO -- Come Wednesday morning, the first workout in Arizona for Padres pitchers and catchers, there will be a total of 36 pitchers on the field.
Not all are at full strength, as several players like Andrew Cashner, Joe Wieland and Cory Luebke are coming off surgery and won't be ready until midseason or later.
But from a standpoint of sheer volume, 36 pitchers are a lot to track. Part of this was by design. The Padres will play the most Spring Training games (38) in club history. More games equals more innings to cover.
The other is for manager Bud Black and his staff to get a glance at some of the top Minor League arms, such as Adys Portillo or non-roster invitees like Johnny Barbato, Kevin Quackenbush, Donn Roach and Matt Stites. All of the aforementioned players are regarded as top prospects.
"It's a great opportunity for us to put our eyeballs on these guys every day," said Black, who is entering his seventh season as manager. "It's a chance for us to watch them, to help them, to get to know them, their pitching style and their mentality … so when they do get sent out, we've got a great recollection and vision of them."
None of those pitchers are expected to break camp with the team at the end of March. All will begin their 2013 season in the Minor Leagues. That said, Black hopes the experience of being in a big league clubhouse and pitching in Cactus League games will help in their development.
"I think it's also great from a learning standpoint to rub shoulders with Huston Street, Clayton Richard, Jason Marquis, Luke Gregerson, some veteran pitchers who go about it the right way," Black said. "It's a great opportunity for them to pick the brains of those guys."