SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For as much as Christopher Young enjoyed his three seasons in Kansas City, he had a job to do Tuesday night. The veteran right-hander is eyeing a place in the Padres' rotation, and -- in a crowded race -- it's an audition every time he takes the
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For as much as Christopher Young enjoyed his three seasons in Kansas City, he had a job to do Tuesday night. The veteran right-hander is eyeing a place in the Padres' rotation, and -- in a crowded race -- it's an audition every time he takes the mound.
Aside from Cheslor Cuthbert's third-inning solo homer, Young was very sharp in a 5-4 win over the Royals. He struck out four in three innings, allowing three hits and throwing 32 of his 47 pitches for strikes.
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"Some great memories there, and seeing those guys, I appreciate what we've been through," said Young, who played an important role in Kansas City's 2015 title. "But when I get between the lines, for me, I'm trying to win a job, and so my focus is on executing pitches and attacking.
"While I love them, I want to get them all out."
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He didn't get them all out. But he was good enough to boost his rotation candidacy. Young is one of seven pitchers fighting for the final three places in the starting five. The 38-year-old righty is in camp on a non-roster invite, and he has work left to do to unseat a handful of high-upside -- but unproven -- youngsters.
If Young doesn't make the rotation, he's a candidate to serve as something of a long man/spot-starter type out of the bullpen. Tuesday was his first start of the spring.
"Beggars can't be choosers. I'll take innings any way I can get them," Young said. "Starting is something I'm familiar with. I know the routine, the preparation is the part I enjoy. My experience in Kansas City in the bullpen -- I enjoyed that, too. In '15, I pitched pretty well out of the 'pen. I'll take the ball however I can get it."
Five outfielders likely?
The Padres' outfield race is a crowded one, and manager Andy Green hinted Tuesday that five outfielders will likely make the Opening Day roster.
William Myers and Manuel Margot are starters, while Jose Pirela has practically locked up his place on the Opening Day roster, too. After that, Hunter Renfroe, Franchy Cordero, Travis Jankowski and Matthew Szczur are competing for playing time.
Green touted the versatility of his outfield options. Renfroe is an ideal platoon candidate for left-handed pitching, while the other three bring plenty of speed and defense to the table.
"We are going to have the opportunity to put people in situations where they've flourished in the past -- facing right-handed pitchers for certain guys, left-handed pitchers for certain guys, picking matchups for various reasons," Green said. "That's obviously what's being done across the game. We just haven't been able to do that the last couple years. If you do go with five outfielders, you can set up those types of platoon matchups, and you can have a plus defender available as well."
• Right-hander Luis Perdomo has an early edge in the race for a rotation place this spring. He made his first Cactus League appearance after debuting last week in a "B" game. Perdomo allowed two runs over three innings, but he struck out five, using his slider to great success against hitters from both sides of the plate.
• Renfroe made his case that he's more than just a platoon option on Tuesday night. He worked a walk against right-handed starter Nathan Karns, then smashed a two-run double to the right-center-field gap against righty reliever Andres Machado.
• Cordero kept pace in the outfield battle, going 2-for-4 with a double. He also ended the seventh inning with a nice running catch and throw to the plate for a double play.
• Outfielder Alex Dickerson is expected to be out through Opening Day as he continues to battle soreness in his left elbow. He's being evaluated by team doctors and has been held out of drills since the start of camp. Dickerson missed the entire 2017 season with a bulging disc in his back, though the two injuries aren't believed to be related.
"It's been disappointing for him," Green said. "Been a rough last year and change for him from a health perspective."
• Szczur returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the first two weeks of camp with oblique soreness. He entered in the fourth inning and went 0-for-1 with a walk and a ninth-inning squeeze that proved to be the game-winner.
The Padres head to Scottsdale, where they'll face the Giants for the first time this spring on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. PT. Tyson Ross and Robbie Erlin are slated to pitch -- both squarely in the mix for those three remaining rotation places. The matchup is available on Padres.com via an exclusive audio webcast.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.