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Allen, Quantrill making case to join staff

Green on opportunity for young starters: 'It's there. Take it.'
@AJCassavell
March 16, 2019

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There's at least one place available in the San Diego starting five right now. Possibly as many as three. Sitting squarely on the rotation bubble are lefty Logan Allen and righty Cal Quantrill, and with 35 miles separating them Saturday, the two prospects took the mound in

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There's at least one place available in the San Diego starting five right now. Possibly as many as three.

Sitting squarely on the rotation bubble are lefty Logan Allen and righty Cal Quantrill, and with 35 miles separating them Saturday, the two prospects took the mound in earnest.

Safe to say neither Allen nor Quantrill won himself a big league job Saturday. But both continued the trend of young Padres starters holding their own against big league competition.

In a 10-5 split-squad victory over the Royals in Peoria, Allen worked 3 1/3 innings in which he allowed three runs, only one of which was earned. He was let down by his defense, which committed three first-inning errors.

In Scottsdale, where the Padres fell to the Giants, 10-3, Quantrill was also removed in the fourth after allowing three runs. He surrendered seven hits and struck out three. Like Allen, Quantrill was the victim of some early batted-ball misfortune.

It's says a lot about the Padres' philosophy that both prospects are still in the mix so late in camp. General manager A.J. Preller has not made a rotation addition this winter, primarily because he believes in young pitchers like Allen, Quantrill and Chris Paddack -- none of whom have pitched a big league inning.

"Right now, no matter how old you are, where you've played or where you haven't, you wouldn't want to be with anybody else," said the 21-year-old Allen. "They're giving us the tools to get better. Then they're telling us, 'Hey, you want to win ballgames for us, come out and get it.' That's fun.”

Entering camp, both Quantrill and Allen were longshots to win rotation places. They’re probably still on the outside looking in, especially if Jacob Nix's injury scare turns out to be minor.

But struggles from 40-man roster players like Bryan Mitchell, Luis Perdomo and Robbie Erlin (plus Nix's recent bout of arm soreness) have seemingly left one place open. Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi might as well be considered locks. Paddack and Matt Strahm have been arguably the team's two best pitchers this spring, and they project into rotation places. After that, it's wholly up for grabs.

The Padres could still add to their rotation externally, but that seems unlikely. Instead, it’s very possible they call on one of their young arms.

“They’ve all thrown the ball relatively well,” Green said. “They’ve all done some really nice things, and they’re making our decisions hard -- which is what we’d like them to do.”

Allen has excelled at every level of the Minors, making his next logical step a jump to the big leagues. Between Double-A and Triple-A last season, he posted a 2.54 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning.

It's been a stop-and-start spring for the young left-hander. Allen exited his first start early when he was struck in the thigh by a liner. He was roughed up by the Royals in his third outing, before responding nicely against many of the same hitters Saturday.

"How I pitched last time, that's not who I am," Allen said. "That's never been who I am. I can't remember a time, I've pitched [poorly] like that. ... What can't change is my mindset."

Quantrill has been mostly on the same progression as Allen. He wasn’t quite so dominant in the upper levels of the Minors last year. But after a slow start, Quantrill finished with a flourish, posting a 3.00 ERA in his final eight starts.

Like Allen, Quantrill also struggled against the Royals earlier this spring. He, too, came back strong.

"It's great to see a guy bounce back," Green said. "Ultimately, all these guys are going to give up hits. How they bounce back from it shows how good they're going to be."

Allen and Quantrill might only get one more Cactus League outing to prove their worth. If that’s the case, the stakes have already been made very clear to them.

"It's: Go out there, pitch, give the Padres a chance to win, and go win a spot," Allen said. "Andy's said it 10 times: 'It's there. Take it.'"

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.