Friedrich happy to have landed with Padres

March 6th, 2016

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In mid-January, Christian Friedrich arrived in Arizona in order to get a head start on Spring Training.

What Friedrich got instead was a cruel lesson on the inner workings of baseball transactions.

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Here's how it went down for the 28-year-old, who last week agreed to a Minor League deal with the Padres:

• On Jan. 28, Friedrich was designated for assignment by the Rockies, the only organization for which he had played.

• On Feb. 5, Friedrich was acquired off waivers by the Angels.

• On Feb. 19, Friedrich was returned to the Rockies by the Angels due to concerns about his medical evaluation and his "ability to play at his accustomed level."

• That same day, Friedrich was released by the Rockies. He became a free agent on Feb. 22.

• On March 3, Friedrich signed a Minor League deal with the Padres that included an invitation to big league camp.

Get all that?

Friedrich, the Rockies' first-round Draft pick (25th overall) in 2008, said this week he is glad to have found a home with the Padres after the tumultuous stretch.

"I've just always enjoyed pitching in San Diego. It's beautiful. I'm elated to be a part of the Padres' organization," he said. "Whether they see me as a starter or reliever, going to [Triple-A] El Paso, I'm happy to be with them."

Friedrich harbors no ill will toward the Angels for returning him to the Rockies due to a shoulder issue he now feels he's past.

"I understand, from their point of view, they're expecting someone to come in with no issues," he said. "I didn't think it was as big an issue as they thought it was."

Friedrich said he developed some tightness in his left shoulder a year ago with the Rockies.

"It was my first full season out of the 'pen, and I had some soreness in the shoulder," he said. "It wasn't anything that alarmed me, just a small irradiation. But I feel 100 percent now."

Friedrich said the reputation of the Padres' training staff was part of the reason he signed with the team.

"I let them know I was a little behind schedule, and they were OK with that," he said. "They were fine with building me back up, which meant a lot to me. 

"I felt good they would build me up the right way, and they have a good physical therapy program here and a history of getting guys back ready."

The Padres will bring him along slowly this spring, with the intention of getting him in Cactus League games later in the month. The team is betting on upside, and that he's not too far removed from the pitcher who won his Major League debut against the Padres in 2012.

"It's really exciting. I'm 28 and I feel like I'm in the prime of my career," Friedrich said. "In regards to arm, I feel good. I feel very comfortable with the knowledge I have and how to pitch in the league we're in.

"I'm looking forward to good years to come."