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Sipp waits out winter to find right fit with Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The month was nearly a week old when pitcher Tony Sipp, despite not having a team to play for in 2014, decided to alleviate the uncertainty of his situation with a banal distraction.

Liking packing a suitcase filled with his belongings.

"It was my baseball gear, a few collared shirts and a suit, because hopefully you'll need a suit at some point," Sipp said Saturday. "I was trying to avoid the last-minute fire drill of packing and all that.

"I was taking steps to create some sort of order in my life and making sense of the nonsense that was going on."

The nonsense didn't last much longer, as Sipp signed a Minor League deal with the Padres on Feb. 7, a deal that included an invite to big league camp, where he'll compete for the job of left-handed specialist.

"It actually wasn't that stressful. But you do get that itch because you want that comfort of where you'll be heading. I actually packed a bag not really knowing where I was going because it was between a few different teams," Sipp said.

Sipp and his agent found a viable option in the Padres, who will carry a left-hander -- Alex Torres -- in the bullpen, though he won't be used as a specialist. The team, in all likelihood, will carry a second lefty for the sole intent of getting left-handed batters out late in the game.

Sipp, 30, comes to the Padres with a career 3.84 ERA in 304 appearances with the Indians (2009-12) and the D-backs last season. He's held lefties to a .224 average in his career and righties to a .209 mark.

Patrick Schuster, who comes to the team under Rule 5 parameters, is in the running for that spot, too. The team also could look at Robbie Erlin in that role, though he's better suited to start.

"If we have two left-handers who we think are functional and can complement five right-handers, then that's something we're going to look at," said Padres manager Bud Black.

For Sipp, the offseason played out like it did for many baseball beat writers -- checking transactions and trying to gauge who is going where.

"You try to see what's the best fit for you, which organization needs whatever your specialty is, like for me, I'm a left-handed specialist. From there, you look around to see who signs where, you look at the transactions and you talk to your agent," Sipp said.

"I thought this was the best fit for me."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.
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