2/12/2013 12:11 P.M. ET
Starting camp, Padres see options for '13 roster
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Nothing says the start of Spring Training like walking into a room full of strangers. Or, at least that was the case Tuesday for pitcher Brandon Kloess.
"It's interesting putting some names with faces. It's going to be a chore to remember them all," Kloess said. "Coming in, not knowing anyone extensively, I sort of feel like an outsider."
Kloess, who was obtained from the White Sox in November, was one of several new faces who stopped by the clubhouse in Peoria on Tuesday, the report date for pitchers and catchers. Players took physicals in advance of Wednesday's first workout.
As much as the Padres didn't tinker with their roster this winter, they did add some new players to the organization who could make an impact on the 2013 roster.
Veteran pitcher Freddy Garcia, who signed a Minor League deal last month, is a non-roster invitee. He's trying to win a job in the starting rotation, and is one of 10 candidates that the team will watch closely this spring.
Reliever Fautino De Los Santos, who was claimed off waivers from the Brewers last week, is yet another player who could win a bullpen job. De Los Santos, unlike Kloess and Garcia, is already on the team's 40-man roster.
Position players report Friday, with the first full-squad workout set for the following day. As the Padres begin preparation for the 2013 season, they hope it will lead to a better finish than the 76-86 record they compiled last year.
This figures to be a busy camp for the Padres, if for no other reason than the sheer volume of players who will report for camp.
Brian Prilaman, the equipment manager and longtime director of team travel, is expecting 67 players in camp when the full squad reports later in the week. He's been coming to Spring Training with the team since 1972, and he said he can't remember the team ever having quite so many players.
"We're excited to welcome the new players in," said Padres catcher John Baker.
All told, the Padres will have 36 pitchers in camp, though Joe Wieland, Cory Luebke and Andrew Cashner are continuing to recover from injuries. The Padres learned last week that Cashner (lacerated thumb tendon, right hand) could be throwing off a mound by March 1, which is earlier than the team expected.
The Padres will carry a long list of pitchers through camp to cover themselves for 38 exhibition games, the most in club history.
To be sure, the clubhouse will resemble something of a busy bus terminal this spring -- a handful of players will leave and then come back depending on how their World Baseball Classic teams fare.
Outfielder Chris Denorfia (Italy), pitcher Edinson Volquez (Dominican Republic) and relief pitcher Luke Gregerson (United States) are among the six players from the organization who will play in the Classic. Three more players, all Minor Leaguers, will also compete in the Classic.
There are several intriguing names on the non-roster invitee list, such as pitchers Robbie Erlin, Garcia, Tim Stauffer and prospects like catcher Austin Hedges and infielder Jedd Gyorko.
Gyorko has a good shot to make the team out of Spring Training after hitting 30 home runs and driving in 100 runs last season in the Minor Leagues. This is Gyorko's second big league camp, and he said on Tuesday that he feels more settled for having gone through that experience a year ago.
"It's good to get out there and get that exposure," Gyorko said. "Last year I felt I was still trying to get to know everybody instead of really concentrating on my game. This year, I feel I know everyone. I can be more comfortable and work on my game."
The Padres will have only six full-squad workouts before they play their first game of spring, which will be their annual charity contest against the Mariners on Feb. 22 at the Peoria Sports Complex.