PHOENIX -- A week ago, Cesar Ramos was preparing for another start in Arizona for the Padres' Triple-A team when the left-hander was told to hold off on the normal bullpen he usually makes between starts.
Naturally, Ramos wondered why.
On Saturday, Ramos found out, as he was informed that he would be with the team when it opened the season Monday at Chase Field against Arizona.
Ramos took the place of left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a strained left shoulder.
Ramos, who has been a starter and reliever in the Minor Leagues, is expected to be ready in case the team needs him as a situational left-hander, facing a left-handed batter.
"I'm all for it," Ramos said. "Anything I can do to help the team. I'm here. [Pitching in relief] will be a quick adjustment. We'll see how it goes."
Ramos was one of the earliest cuts in camp. He was optioned to Triple-A Portland during Spring Training on March 15 after posting a 4.05 ERA in four appearances.
Last season, Ramos went 0-1 with a 3.07 ERA in five games (two starts) for San Diego. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Portland, going 5-6 with a 3.99 ERA over 15 starts.
In a small sample size, left-handed batters hit .118 against Ramos last season in his short stint with the Padres. Ramos was the Padres' first-round Draft pick in 2005 (35th overall) out of Long Beach State.
San Diego manager Bud Black said that Ramos is like other starters who have gone to the bullpen who have experienced an uptick in velocity. Black said Ramos throws in the low 90s with a slider, curveball and changeup.
Ramos was asked if he can expend a little more energy and, possibly, velocity pitching out of the bullpen rather than pacing himself as a starter.
"I think so. You're somewhat pacing yourself [as a starter] for 100 pitches," Ramos said. "I can let a couple go for a hitter or an inning. I can see velocity being higher."