Only Richard, Volquez have secure spots in rotation

Padres will start camp with 36 pitchers; most will throw Wednesday

Only Richard, Volquez have secure spots in rotation

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There is no shortage of candidates for the starting rotation in camp, and the Padres feel they have assembled enough depth and created enough competition to eventually lead them to a worthy five-man rotation by Opening Day.

But that doesn't necessarily mean they won't add another rotation hopeful at some point during the six weeks of Spring Training.

"There is a chance we can solve [the rotation] with our own guys," San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes said. "The thing about the offseason [is] … we haven't pursued guys just to add bodies. But if we feel there's an upgrade, someone with upside or a long-term guy, then OK.

"But we're comfortable with seeing how our guys look. There might be a need [to add a pitcher] but there might not be."

As it stands now, a total of 36 pitchers are in camp and most of them will throw Wednesday, which is the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. When Minor Leaguer Jose De Paula reports on Thursday, there will be 37.

The Padres essentially have 10 candidates for five spots, and they have until Opening Day on April 1 in New York to whittle down. Some of those jobs are spoken for -- Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez, the only two pitchers to make more than 16 starts a year ago -- have secured spots.

Veteran Jason Marquis returns after signing a one-year deal in December. After that, well, the picture becomes considerably more muddled.

Of the players who are on the 40-man roster, Anthony Bass, Casey Kelly, Tyson Ross and Eric Stults are seen as legitimate candidates to win one of the two open spots. Non-roster invitees Freddy Garcia and Robbie Erlin could push their way into the picture. Tim Stauffer, recovering from right elbow surgery last August, is about two weeks behind the other pitchers.

Given their health problems last season -- the Padres started pitchers who were not on the 40-man roster this time a year ago 51 times in 2012 -- the team passed on pitchers who were considered health risks this offseason.

The team made a strong offer to Edwin Jackson, but he ultimately signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs.

For now, this is the group manager Bud Black and his staff will preside over. Once workouts and games begin, the organization will be in a better position to see if changes need to be made.

"We feel good about the names," Black said.

You might not see many of them right away, though.

Black said on Tuesday that because of a longer Spring Training -- the team will play a franchise-record 38 exhibition games -- the starting candidates aren't likely to appear in games right away.

You also won't see the three other starting candidates: Andrew Cashner, Joe Wieland and Cory Luebke. They are here in Peoria but on their own program. Cashner had surgery in December to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb. He expects to be on a mound by March 1. Wieland and Luebke had Tommy John surgery last year and won't return until midseason or later.

Also on Tuesday, Black said non-roster pitchers Jason Ray and Jerry Sullivan won't throw off a mound on Wednesday, as each had reported with "tender arms."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.