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Cashner could likely pitch off mound next week

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres are still hopeful that pitcher Andrew Cashner will be able to throw off of a mound a week from Friday.

The club has been hoping that Cashner, who had surgery in December to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb, would be ahead of schedule and would be able to throw March 1. That has remained the case after the first 10 days of workouts for pitchers.

That's a good thing for all parties, said manager Bud Black.

"Cash is doing great. He's champing at the bit. He feels as though he's ready for [throwing off the mound], but medically, there's some healing properties that have to take place with the thumb," Black said.

"But he's getting close. Our doctors and our medical staff feel comfortable where he is. Hopefully it's next week."

Cashner hopes to be ready by Opening Day on April 1, though the Padres still view him as a starter, which means he would likely need time in the Minor Leagues to get stretched out and build his endurance to start the season.

Cashner doesn't feel he'll be too far behind once he gets on a mound, and he has a different timetable in mind for his return.

"I don't think there's any reason why I couldn't be ready for Opening Day," Cashner said. "Definitely my goal is to break camp."