Green Names Padres Opening Day Starter

New manager is setting a new tone in Spring Training

Andy Green is not one for wasting time.

On Friday, the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers in Peoria, AZ, the new Padres manager shared a fairly large bit of information. When asked who his Opening Day starter is going to be, Green fired back with conviction.

“Tyson Ross,” Green said. And he was not joking around.

“You didn’t think you were going to get truth?” asked the skipper. “You thought I was going to make stuff up?”

It’s certainly not an issue or trust. It’s just that most clubs that don’t have a Clayton Kershaw or Jake Arrieta, a guy who’s a no-brainer at the top of the rotation, typically wait a while to name their Opening Day starter. Green saw no reason to wait on anointing Ross, a 2014 All-Star.

“We had a conversation with him yesterday. We feel like he’s earned that right,” said Green. “Tyson is ready and eager to take the ball Day 1 and we’re excited to have him as our ace. It’s an affirmation of who Tyson is and where he’s headed.”

“It totally caught me off-guard,” said Ross. “It’s a true honor to be named Opening Day starter.”

Many Padres observers thought James Shields, the Friars’ 2015 Opening Day starter, would have the inside track on doing it again this year. Instead he’ll get the ball in the second game of the season, followed by Andrew Cashner. That’s right; Green went so far as to lay out his rotation for the season’s entire first series against the Dodgers.

“I think James Shields has been incredibly effective in that slot, starting Opening Day,” said Green. “I think he could have done it admirably. I think we have some added benefit of separating the power arms in our rotation in Tyson and Cashner, kind of slot James right in the middle of those guys. We like the way it sets up.”

Nobody on the Padres roster has a resume like Shields, who led the team in wins and innings pitched a year ago. But Ross had the best ERA and was tops on the staff with a 3.1 WAR. Long regarded as a Pro’s Pro, Shields handled the information as Green had hoped he would.

“(James) was thrilled for Tyson. He was the consummate teammate in that moment.”

This moment could very well signal a turning point for the Padres organization. Green is bringing a no-nonsense approach to the managerial position.

“I don’t think there’s any hesitancy to make decisions when we know what we need to do,” he said.

It’s a shift that’s already being felt in the clubhouse at the Peoria Sports Complex.

“It’s kind of a new culture we’re trying to create here,” said Ross. “I’m looking forward to taking that first step.”

By naming his Opening Series starters on Day 1, Green is sending a few messages. One is he believes in the guys at the top of his rotation. Another is he’s not going to hem and haw when a decision needs to be made, so those guys had better live up to the expectation or he’ll find somebody who can.

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