PEORIA, Ariz. -- The running joke with Padres manager Bud Black each spring is he doesn't want to be the first or the last manager to name his starter for Opening Day.
On Thursday, and after being asked every day this spring, Black relented and told reporters what they and probably everyone one else thought all along -- Andrew Cashner will start on March 30 when the Padres face the Dodgers at Petco Park.
"It's a big honor for me; it's something I've been working toward since last year. It was one of my goals. I feel like it's a big honor for me," Cashner said after his start Thursday against the Giants, where he allowed four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
For Cashner, this will be his first Opening Day start. The Padres face the Dodgers on ESPN on what the team is calling "Opening Night" with their Opening Day set for the second game of the season against the Dodgers on April 1.
"Going into this offseason with how our team lined up, working through this, I think it's well-deserved for Cash, the way he pitched the second half of last season," Black said. "You've heard me say it before … it's a feather in the cap for a pitcher to get an Opening Day assignment."
Cashner shined in his first full season as a starter, going 10-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 games (26 starts). He got better as the season went on, posting a 2.25 ERA in August and a 0.76 mark in the last month of the season, which included a one-hitter against the Pirates.
Cashner's ERA as a starter (3.04) ranked 10th in the National League among those with at least 25 starts.
"He's the guy we want to start the season with. I like what we've seen out of Cash, his development in so many different areas the last 12 or so months leads us to believe he's going to be a guy in the front of the rotation who can do great things for us," Black said.