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Richard's spring debut goes awry in loss

Special to MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Clayton Richard has pitched in 42 Cactus League games over the course of his career, and he knows better than to let an inning or two in early March get into his head.

So Richard took his one-plus inning outing in stride, even after allowing six runs on eight hits and one walk while facing 12 batters in a game the Padres eventually lost to the Indians, 8-2.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Clayton Richard has pitched in 42 Cactus League games over the course of his career, and he knows better than to let an inning or two in early March get into his head.

So Richard took his one-plus inning outing in stride, even after allowing six runs on eight hits and one walk while facing 12 batters in a game the Padres eventually lost to the Indians, 8-2.

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"My delivery was less than ideal," Richard said. "At times I tried to overpower as opposed to just trusting the stuff. Clearly the results weren't great, but, fortunately, I'm more focused on the process right now. I think I let the energy of the at-bat take me away from my delivery at times."

It's the challenge of Spring Training games -- where Richard's 6.40 Cactus career ERA is more than two full runs higher than his regular season ERA of 4.23 in 206 big league games. There's usually something more important than winning that a pitcher is focusing on from start to start.

"I went in the first inning with a plan of throwing fastballs and trying to execute fastballs in and out and up and down," Richard said. "I didn't want to get away from that, even though it clearly wasn't working. But I wanted to be able to execute fastball location. So it wasn't terrible, but it clearly wasn't great."

Manager Andy Green understands the importance of process in Spring Training, but he didn't lose sight of the mentality pitchers need to take to the mound.

"Sometimes you lose that competitive fire that actually is what makes him so great," Green said. "He was just out there trying to execute pitches instead of competing, trying to get the batter out. First day of spring, some guys do that. I think he'll move to a more competitive mode pretty quickly."

Early in the game, outfielder Manuel Margot was taken off the field with the trainers, suffering from left knee soreness.

"I think he's going to be fine," Green said. "He just slipped coming out of the box his first at bat, and he was kind of sore around the knee. Nothing major from what we see. I just pulled him out, kind of precautionary, and let him get back at it in the next day or so."

Margot was examined by the team doctor, and Green's report was that Margot's knee "looks perfectly fine, just sore."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

San Diego Padres, Manuel Margot, Clayton Richard