The Padres will have 37 pitchers in camp this week, a total that is significant in several areas.
The volume will help the Padres navigate a spring training extended by the World Baseball Classic, which features a franchise-record 38 games. It allows manager Bud Black to keep his veterans out of the early exhibitions. And, perhaps most importantly, it gives the Padres a deep well to fill a shallow starting rotation.
"We've talked about the need for some arms to handle the early schedule and the length of spring training," Padres manager Bud Black said. "With the number of games and the competition we have for a couple of spots, it's an opportunity to run some guys out there a few more times during the spring."
Right now, only Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez have secured spots in a rotation without a true ace. Veteran Jason Marquis, a 2012 midseason signee who re-signed with the club, is a strong candidate for another spot.
Several starters will battle for the remaining few. Anthony Bass, Eric Stults and Casey Kelley were used as fill-ins in last season's injury-riddled rotation, and are considered front-runners to become full-time starters. Freddy Garcia was also signed as a non-roster invitee.
The Padres used stopgap starters following a run of injuries that sidelined several, including starters Tim Stauffer and Cory Luebke for most of the season.
"There are positives to be taken from our injury struggles last year," Richard said. "It was difficult at the time, but so many guys gained invaluable experience that will help us now. It should be an interesting spring for the pitchers in camp."
The Padres tried in vain to bring in an impact free-agent starter this offseason. The Padres were priced out of the market for several free agents, but Black believes there is talent in camp to fill the rotation's glaring holes.
"I like the names we have," Black said.
Unheralded prospects will get a long, early look. Exhibitions start on Feb. 22, and Black said Tuesday that pitchers expected to make the club could skip several early games.
"Our roster size is well thought out," Richard said. "We have a lot of games, so we need a lot of bodies. More spring innings need more pitchers, and that will help us get through this stretch as ready and as complete a pitching staff as we can be."
Notes: Catcher Yasmani Grandal, suspended 50 games because of a positive test for testosterone, is in camp but will not speak with reporters until later in the week. . Padres manager Bud Black said starter Edinson Volquez's workload will be monitored closely this spring, especially when he's with the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic. . Pitcher Jose DePaula was the only no-show among Padres required to report to spring training Tuesday. He spent the 2012 season on the restricted list dealing with visa issues. The team said he's expected to report Thursday.