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Padres reaping rewards from 4 free-agent SP

Richard, Chacin, Cahill, Weaver off to good starts
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres had a gap to bridge last winter.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres had a gap to bridge last winter.

No question, the Padres have a lot of starting pitching prospects in their minor league system. But most of the top prospects are still in the early stages of development.   

And the Padres had non-tendered Tyson Ross while Colin Rea was going to miss all of the 2017 season following "Tommy John" elbow reconstruction surgery.   

So general manager A.J. Preller and his staff began studying the list of free agent Major League starting pitchers in hopes of building a staff.  

They chose to pursue four free agents - left-hander Clayton Richard (who started for the Padres over the final two months of the 2016 season) and right-handers Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill and Jered Weaver.  

Thus far, the quartet is paying dividends.   

They are a collective 5-7 in 14 starts with a 3.81 earned run average.   

Richard is 2-2 in four starts with a 3.04 ERA. Cahill is 1-2 in three starts with a 3.44 ERA. Weaver, who makes his fourth start Saturday night, is 0-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts. Chacin is 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA in four starts.   

Plus, it cost the Padres only $8.25 million to sign all four. Weaver signed last and got $3 million for 2017. Richard, Chacin and Cahill all signed for this season at $1.75 million.   

"I went into the off-season and we talked internally . . . myself, the front office, everybody . . . and I looked at the list of names we were considering and these were the guys we all wanted," said Padres manager Andy Green.   

"I was excited to get Chacin. I was very excited to get Richard back. I was excited to get Cahill, knowing him in Arizona and knowing that he had quality stuff. I was excited to get Weaver at the end. All of those guys are really good in my mind." 

"They've already shown good stretches. They've shown the ability to pitch deeper into ballgames, but we weren't scoring runs and we had to pinch-hit for them. Those four guys have thrown the ball really well."   

"All those guys have the opportunity to do something special here and help lead this team back to relevance, really and catapult themselves to another place in the future . . . maybe with us. They've all bought in here."   

"Every one of these guys is capable of going out and stopping a skid . . . putting up zeroes."

GAME NOTES:

-- RHP Carter Capps made his third, one-inning rehab outing with Triple-A El Paso Friday night. He allowed an unearned run and walked two in an inning.

-- C Austin Hedges is hitting .333 (9-for-27) with two doubles, four homers and seven RBIs over his last seven games since starting the season 0-for-24. Hedges was 1-for-4 Friday night with a three-run homer after being moved up to the No. 5 slot in the batting order.

-- SS Erick Aybar was moved into the No. 2 slot in the lineup Friday night in Green's bid to build an offense. After going hitless in 10 straight at-bats with longer droughts of 1-for-19 and 2-for-32, Aybar went 2-for-6 with a double and a homer and drove in the decisive runs in two straight wins. Friday night he was 1-for-3 and drove in the Padres' first run with a sacrifice fly.

-- RF Hunter Renfroe drew his first walk of the season on his 68th plate appearance of the season in the sixth inning Friday night. Renfroe was also 2-for-3, lining out to the pitcher in his final at-bat. "It was nice to see Hunter have four really good at-bats," said Green.

-- 1B Wil Myers 11-game hitting streak came to an end Friday going 0-for-3 with a walk. However, the Padres go-ahead run did cross the plate in the seventh on Myers' double-play grounder to second. Myers hit .429 (18-for-42) during the streak.

San Diego Padres