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Cosart builds up strength during rotation battle

Right-hander allows one run over 1 2/3 innings vs. Brewers on Thursday
MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Prior to Thursday's 8-2 loss to the Brewers at Peoria Stadium, Padres manager Andy Green said he still has nine pitchers competing for five spots in the rotation with Opening Day three-and-a-half weeks away.

Right-hander Jarred Cosart, recovering from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, continued to vie for one of those spots.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Prior to Thursday's 8-2 loss to the Brewers at Peoria Stadium, Padres manager Andy Green said he still has nine pitchers competing for five spots in the rotation with Opening Day three-and-a-half weeks away.

Right-hander Jarred Cosart, recovering from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, continued to vie for one of those spots.

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"He's doing a lot of things that we like right now," Green said. "We're pleased with what he's doing early in camp, and [he] has a few more weeks to build on it."

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Cosart started on Thursday against the Brewers and lasted 1 2/3 innings, allowing a run on three hits -- all of which came in the first inning -- before he was lifted with two out and no one on in the second. He threw 36 pitches.

In his first start Saturday, he tossed a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out two against the D-backs.

"It's just a buildup process," Cosart said. "It's different for me. I've never had surgery before, so this is all new to me."

Cosart said the recovery period from October surgery is still ongoing. He's trying to rebuild arm strength and stamina, and he said he expects to be 100 percent when the season begins. The Padres are taking a patient approach with him. On Thursday, it was two innings or 35 pitches, whichever came first. Next time out, he'll throw three innings or 45-50 pitches.

Green said time is running out, and he expects the process of narrowing candidates to begin shortly. Save for injuries, Clayton Richard, Jhoulys Chacin and Jered Weaver appear to be locks, with Cosart, Trevor Cahill, Luis Perdomo, Paul Clemens, Christian Friedrich and Zach Lee competing for the final two spots.

Cosart, 26, doesn't mind the competition. He was traded to the Padres by the Marlins last year on July 29.

"Competition's fun," Cosart said. "If we hadn't signed any of the veteran guys, I might have had the most service time of any starter here. I know I can do it at a high level. I've done it before. Obviously in the end, there's going to be an odd man out and some people are going to be sent down. I feel like if I execute my pitches, I'll have one of those spots."

Hedges lifted on Thursday

Padres catcher Austin Hedges was removed from Thursday's game after two innings with a sore left hamstring, Green said after the game. Hedges felt the hamstring tighten up after trying to leg out a groundout to end the first inning.

Brewers shortstop Mauricio Dubon made the backhanded play, throwing out Hedges at first with an acrobatic throw.

"He came out early with some soreness in his hamstring," Green said. "We don't think it's serious, but we'll find out after the game what the problem is. He just felt it a little bit after the backhanded play in the first inning and exercised some caution."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

San Diego Padres, Jarred Cosart