The Padres got closer to their 25-man Opening Day roster with a series of moves on Monday.
The main news is the release of righty-handed pitcher Paul Clemens, who started their first Cactus League game and was in the mix to win a spot in the starting rotation. He allowed three home runs in four appearances (two starts) and had more walks than strikeouts during Spring Training.
The Padres also optioned infielder Carlos Asuaje and right-handed pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Zach Lee to minor league camp. They also reassigned right-handers Logan Bawcom and Andre Rienzo, catchers Rocky Gale and Jake McGee, outfielder Rafael Ortega and infielder Christian Villanueva to minor league camp.
The difference in terminology is the guys on the 40-man roster are optioned; the guys who are not protected are reassigned. The Padres now have 42 players left in Major League camp.
The moves bring a couple of position battles into better focus. This spring 11 different pitchers have started games for the Padres, including Clemens, Jenkins, Lee and Walker Lockett, who was sent to Triple-A El Paso over the weekend. That leaves just seven guys in camp who are contending for the starting rotation (in no particular order):
Trevor Cahill, RHP
Jered Weaver, RHP
Luis Perdomo, RHP
Clayton Richard, LHP
Jarred Cosart, RHP
Christian Friedrich, LHP
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP
Friedrich, who reported arm soreness and did not throw a scheduled bullpen on Sunday, is looking like a candidate to end up in the Padres bullpen to start the season. Chacin is just getting back to the team after his stretch with Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Asuaje has made the most appearances at 2nd base during Cactus League play but his option likely means it’s down to Cory Spangenberg and Ryan Schimpf to fight it out for the starting job. Schimpf has been dealing with an oblique injury so Spangenberg likely has the inside track on cracking the Opening Day lineup.