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Lefty Strahm still adapting to starter's workload

July 2017 acquisition working to become rotation option for Padres
MLB.com @AJCassavell

MESA, Ariz. -- Before he was traded to San Diego last July, Matt Strahm spent the bulk of his time in Kansas City pitching out of the bullpen. It's been two years since he was properly stretched into a starting option.

And while the Padres aren't yet sure whether they'll use Strahm as a starter, they're at least proceeding as though they will. Strahm will build his workload slowly during camp as the club weighs his effectiveness in the rotation vs. the bullpen.

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MESA, Ariz. -- Before he was traded to San Diego last July, Matt Strahm spent the bulk of his time in Kansas City pitching out of the bullpen. It's been two years since he was properly stretched into a starting option.

And while the Padres aren't yet sure whether they'll use Strahm as a starter, they're at least proceeding as though they will. Strahm will build his workload slowly during camp as the club weighs his effectiveness in the rotation vs. the bullpen.

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Strahm faced an early obstacle in the Padres' 10-4 loss to the Cubs on Thursday: He pitched multiple innings for the first time this spring. The 26-year-old left-hander was sharp in a scoreless third before coming unraveled in the fourth. He allowed four runs on two hits and a pair of walks, leaving the frame with one out.

"The up-down clearly got me a little," said Strahm, who used his full arsenal -- including curveball and changeup -- for the first time. "But that's something I've got to get over. That's the next hurdle."

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Added manager Andy Green: "The guy that took the mound was like a bulldog in [his] first inning. His second inning, he looked like he was feeling it a little bit, searching for it. That's part of getting stretched out. It's part of the growth process and getting healthy again."

Strahm underwent surgery on his left knee last July, and the Padres have been cautious with him early in camp. He acknowledged he's still building strength in his legs.

It's looking less and less likely that Strahm will earn a place in the rotation out of camp. Instead, if the Padres opt to use him as a starter, he'll probably begin the regular season building strength in the Minors.

"We don't have our minds set on this guy having to be ready by Opening Day," Green said. "He's coming back from major surgery. If we feel he needs more time, we'll give him more time."

Galvis goes deep

The Padres didn't acquire Freddy Galvis for his power. But they got some anyway on Thursday afternoon, when the switch-hitting shortstop lofted a solo shot to right field, his first of the spring.

Tweet from @Padres: Yeah, @freddygalvis10 can flex some opposite field power 💪 #PadresST pic.twitter.com/YBAzzZNmnE

Galvis' calling card has always been his defense, and with a rotation loaded with sinkerballers, that's where the Padres glean the most value from him. But Green noted that he expects contributions from Galvis offensively, too.

"I'd like to see him drive his career on-base percentage up," said Green. "He's done it fairly well in Spring Training so far. I don't look for the power threat. … If he sprays line drives all over the field and gets on base, that'd be great.

Galvis is hitting .421 this spring with a .478 OBP.

Camp battles

• Throw a new name into the Padres' crowded bullpen race. Robert Stock, who hit 100 mph with his fastball in his last outing, used offspeed stuff Thursday to work his way through the heart of the Cubs' order in the second inning, striking out Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo consecutively.

"He's putting himself into the mix," Green said. "He wasn't a name at the top of the list, but he's working his way up the list."

Jordan Lyles didn't help his case for the rotation with Thursday's outing in Mesa. After a scoreless first, Lyles surrendered five runs in the second without recording an out. He's among a group of about six or seven pitchers battling for three places in the starting rotation.

Travis Jankowski has been largely forgotten in the Padres' outfield race, but the lefty-hitting speedster has plenty to offer with his speed and elite defense. On Thursday, he crushed a seventh-inning rocket to right-center field. When the ball hit the top of the wall and caromed away from two Cubs outfielders, there was never a doubt Jankowski would complete the inside-the-park homer.

Tweet from @Padres: For the second time this #PadresST, we've hit an inside-the-park HR! This time it's @FreddyJ_6 with the wheels. pic.twitter.com/X8wnHMEnzd

Injury updates

Colin Rea, who was shut down from his throwing program last week, has been diagnosed with a strained right lat muscle. He's returning from Tommy John surgery this spring and is expected to miss at least the season's first few weeks, given the setback.

• Shortstop Allen Cordoba has yet to resume baseball activity as he attempts to recover from a concussion that he sustained in a car accident before camp. He has been visiting a local concussion clinic, and there's no timetable for his return.

Franmil Reyes (right wrist) and Luis Torrens (oblique) are "getting closer" to returning, Green said.

Up next: Clayton Richard, the prohibitive favorite to start Opening Day for San Diego, will make his third start of the spring Friday against the White Sox at 12:10 p.m. PT. If all goes well, he'll be the first Padre to pitch four innings. The game can be viewed on MLB.TV.

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

San Diego Padres, Matt Strahm