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Garcia battles command; Kelly comfortable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Battling for backend starting rotation spots, Padres pitchers Freddy Garcia and Casey Kelly took the mound Friday against the Dodgers, hoping to bounce back from poor performances in their first outings.

Garcia, who allowed five runs (four earned) over an inning of work in his first appearance, got the start, this time tossing 2 2/3 frames. The 36-year-old cruised through the first inning, retiring the side in order, including Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who was making his spring debut.

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In the second inning, however, Garcia ran into trouble, hitting Adrian Gonzalez and walking Jerry Hairston Jr. to put the first two batters on base. Later in the frame, Mark Ellis and A.J. Ellis both produced RBI hits.

Garcia, who went 7-6 with a 5.20 ERA in 107 1/3 innings with the Yankees last year, gave up two more base knocks in the third inning before Hanley Ramirez stole home on a double steal, and Kelly replaced him on the mound with two on and two out.

In throwing 56 pitches (37 strikes), Garcia finished his afternoon allowing three runs on four hits.

"I thought Freddy's secondary pitches were pretty good, but I think probably the fastball command he'd like to continue to improve on as the spring goes," Padres manager Bud Black said after his club's 7-5 victory.

After getting a flyout to end the third, Kelly proceeded to throw two more innings, surrendering a hit, a walk and a run. On the day, the 23-year-old threw 32 pitches (21 strikes).

"Every time out I feel more comfortable. I left a couple balls up, but even when I was missing, it was relatively down," Kelly said. "I had my changeup and curveball working, so it was good to have a full set of pitches to go out and compete."

Kelly is the Padres' No. 4 prospect, according to MLB.com. He made six starts for San Diego last year, going 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA over 29 innings. The 23-year-old missed most of 2012 though with an elbow strain, but he said he's feeling healthy.

"Arm has been feeling great, haven't had any setbacks or anything like that," Kelly said. "The care we've been doing is really helping."

Before Friday, Kelly struggled in his first appearance of the spring, allowing three runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings.

"It's tough. You want to compete and get everybody out, but at the same time, you have to take a step back," Kelly said. "Last time out was my first time facing live hitters, so you know it's a long Spring Training and you'll have a lot of opportunities to show what you can do."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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