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Black in no hurry to trim down pitching staff

Black in no hurry to trim down pitching staff

PEORIA, Ariz. -- If Padres manager Bud Black is worried about trying to whittle down the roster to reach a 12-man pitching staff, he's not showing it.

"Isn't that great?" Black said when he was reminded on Wednesday that there are still 31 pitchers left in Major League camp.

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The Padres, who break camp two weeks from Thursday, will likely carry a 12-man staff into the season -- five starters and seven relievers.

Reaching that number by the time the team opens the season on April 1 against the Mets at Citi Field is not a daunting task, according to Black.

"We have a lot of games to get these guys work and evaluate," he said. "There's still time to work our way through our pitching."

Beginning Thursday, with a game against the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Padres will play 18 games over a 17-day stretch. That includes two exhibition games in San Antonio against the Rangers on March 29-30.

Black has all but named four of his five starters; Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Jason Marquis and Eric Stults. Anthony Bass, Casey Kelly, Tyson Ross, Tim Stauffer, Freddy Garcia and Andrew Cashner are in contention for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

The bullpen is even more muddled, with 14 pitchers -- Bass, Stauffer and Garcia are also in that bunch -- competing for seven jobs.

• On the injury front, center fielder Cameron Maybin (lower back pain) took part in full drills on Wednesday morning. He could play Thursday against the Netherlands or Friday when the team has split-squad games against the Dodgers and Royals. Left fielder Carlos Quentin (sore right knee) took batting practice for the second time in as many days Wednesday. There's no timetable for his return. Infielder Logan Forsythe (plantar fasciitis, right foot) could be close to having a protective boot removed. He would then needs two or three days of therapy before returning to games. Also, right fielder Will Venable (sore left side) could return to games soon.

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.

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