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Gore wows, Lamet mixes offspeed on back field

MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In an intrasquad game on a Peoria back field on Saturday morning, the future of the Padres' rotation took the mound opposite the present. The results seemed to paint a bright picture for the club's future starting five.

MacKenzie Gore, the No. 3 overall Draft pick last June and San Diego's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, wowed dozens of captivated observers -- scouts, fans and staff alike. Meanwhile, rotation favorite Dinelson Lamet pitched four innings as he continues his tune-up for his sophomore season. Pitching coach Darren Balsley certainly seemed to enjoy the proceedings.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- In an intrasquad game on a Peoria back field on Saturday morning, the future of the Padres' rotation took the mound opposite the present. The results seemed to paint a bright picture for the club's future starting five.

MacKenzie Gore, the No. 3 overall Draft pick last June and San Diego's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, wowed dozens of captivated observers -- scouts, fans and staff alike. Meanwhile, rotation favorite Dinelson Lamet pitched four innings as he continues his tune-up for his sophomore season. Pitching coach Darren Balsley certainly seemed to enjoy the proceedings.

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Lamet is among a handful of starters fighting for three available places in the rotation. Barring an unforeseen setback, his place is probably secure. Lamet's start was moved to a back field on Saturday so he could better incorporate his changeup and curveball into his pitch mix.

The 25-year-old right-hander did so to great success. In four shutout innings -- two of which were extended by one batter, so he could get extra work -- Lamet struck out six and allowed just two singles.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Last season, Lamet threw fastballs and sliders almost exclusively. He'll still lean heavily on them this year, but after Lamet's extensive work on his secondary offspeed pitches, Balsley feels he'll be a more complete starter.

"Instead of being a two-pitch pitcher, he's got four now," Balsley said. "Obviously, he has more weapons."

Meanwhile, Gore, who turned 19 two weeks ago, allowed an unearned run while striking out three over two innings. His fastball sat in the mid-90s, and he, too, used all four of his pitches.

Balsley has made a point to watch Gore as often as possible this spring.

"He's the real deal," Balsley said. "He's very athletic, the ball comes out well. He's exactly what you want. At that age, it's very rare."

Video: Top Prospects: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres

Jankowski powers up
Travis Jankowski's best case for a roster spot in a crowded outfield rests with his speed, defense and ability to reach base against right-handed pitching. But his Saturday power surge certainly won't hurt his candidacy. Jankowski homered twice -- a three-run shot in the seventh and a game-tying blast in the ninth -- in an 8-8 tie against the Indians at Peoria Stadium.

Video: CLE@SD: Jankowski belts a three-run homer to right

The Padres are likely to carry five outfielders, and Jankowski is vying for the backup job at all three spots. He arrived early in camp this spring for extra work with hitting coach Matt Stairs. Padres manager Andy Green thinks it's paying off.

"There's a calmness to his swing that I've never really seen before," Green said. "... He's very much in the mix."

Video: CLE@SD: Jankowski ties the game with his second homer

Dickerson opts for rehab
Left fielder Alex Dickerson has chosen to rehab the sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, meaning he has avoided season-ending Tommy John surgery -- for now.

Dickerson sustained the injury during throwing drills early in camp. He'll likely miss the first month of the regular season, and possibly more. If Dickerson's rehab is derailed, he and the Padres would shift their course to the procedure instead.

"Right now, he wants to give it a shot at playing," Green said. "... I don't see him in competition for any spot on the big league club right now given where he is. But I do see, if he's able to handle it, him being an integral part before the season's over."

Camp battles
• Outfield candidates Hunter Renfroe and Jose Pirela both went deep against Indians starter Mike Clevinger. Pirela is virtually a roster lock, and Renfroe is a strong favorite. They've both impressed in their head-to-head battle for playing time.

Video: CLE@SD: Renfroe slugs a solo home run to left-center

Carlos Asuaje went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, bringing his spring average to .367. He's locked into a tight battle for the starting job at second base with Cory Spangenberg.

Video: CLE@SD: Asuaje clubs a solo homer to right field

• The list of rotation candidates could be thinned early next week, Green said. It seems likely one or two starting options will be transitioned into a bullpen role.

Up next
Luis Perdomo and Chris Young are among five or six arms competing for three available jobs in the starting rotation. They're each slated to pitch four innings when the Padres head to Scottsdale to face the Giants at 3:05 p.m. PT on Sunday (watch live on MLB.TV).

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

San Diego Padres, Dinelson Lamet