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Padres: Expect to see prospect Lucchesi in '18

MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Opening Day is one week away, and the Padres still have several roster decisions to make.

"It's definitely a difficult time for a staff, a front office," Padres manager Andy Green said. "There are split camps on a lot of guys right now, and rightfully so. I think that's a very fair thing to say because there are a lot of guys doing things as well as the other guys, so some guys will go one way and some guys will go the other. It's going to be a tough next week."

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Opening Day is one week away, and the Padres still have several roster decisions to make.

"It's definitely a difficult time for a staff, a front office," Padres manager Andy Green said. "There are split camps on a lot of guys right now, and rightfully so. I think that's a very fair thing to say because there are a lot of guys doing things as well as the other guys, so some guys will go one way and some guys will go the other. It's going to be a tough next week."

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The club needs to fill the final two spots in the rotation behind Clayton Richard, Bryan Mitchell and Dinelson Lamet, then decide on the pitchers that will shift to a bullpen in need of relievers. There's the competition between Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje for the job at second base, and the possibility of carrying three catchers on Opening Day. Jose Pirela has emerged as the front-runner for the job in left field, but what does that mean for Hunter Renfroe?

One thing is almost certain: Barring injury, Joey Lucchesi is going to pitch in the big leagues sometime in 2018. The left-hander gave up two runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings in Thursday's 7-6 win over the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark. The club's ninth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, struck out three and walked three.

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"He's a guy that -- whether it's April, May, June, July or August -- we expect to see him," Green said. "We expect to see him for a long time."

Drafted in 2016, Lucchesi combined to go 11-7 with a 2.20 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 139 innings between Class A Advanced and Double-A last season. He made quite an impression this spring.

"I just told myself to do the best you can do, and that's all you can do," Lucchesi said. "I guess it just worked out for me and I did better than I thought, honestly. I wanted to show them I belonged on the team, and I hope they see that."

Video: Top Prospects: Joey Lucchesi, LHP, Padres

Lucchesi gave up a run in the first to snap a scoreless streak of seven innings this spring. He responded by retiring the next 10 hitters in a row.

In the fourth, he walked Roberto Perez with two outs and Rob Refsnyder followed with a ground-rule double that found its way through a hole in the outfield fence. Drew Maggi grounded out to end the frame.

"I felt like I was rushing myself a little bit and I wasn't sitting at my normal velo," Lucchesi said. "I know that the outcome was not that bad. I just felt like I was rushing myself a bit. I'm not perfect, so it happens every once in a while."

Indians shortstop Erik Gonzalez led off the fifth with a double and Gavin Collins walked. Lucchesi struck out Rajai Davis and the next hitter, Bradley Zimmer, hit into a force at second base, but the left-hander would not face another batter.

"Overall, I would say I did a good job competing," Lucchesi said. "I got out of my rhythm for a little bit and just grinded it out. I thought I could have done a little better because I have high standards for myself, but it was a good job."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

San Diego Padres