In Padres' mix, Pomeranz ready to compete

Rotation hopeful feels good with first spring outing in the books

March 4th, 2016
Drew Pomeranz is looking to be a full-time starter for the first time since 2012. (AP)Charlie Riedel/AP

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The biggest takeaway Drew Pomeranz pulled from his one inning on Thursday wasn't so much that he needed just 14 pitches to dispense with three hitters, or that two of the outs came by strikeouts.

It was how good it felt pitching out of the windup again.

"It was probably the first time that I've thrown out of the windup in two or three years, so I was glad to get what I got," Pomeranz said.

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Pomeranz, who hasn't been a full-time starter since 2012 with the Rockies, will be stretched out like a starting pitcher in camp, and he could potentially win a job at the back end of the team's rotation.

At the very least, Pomeranz will have a spot in the bullpen, though his preference is to start -- and the team has obliged this spring.

"Initially, I thought I was probably going to be in the bullpen, and as I started feeling better and everything came along, I knew I was going to get a chance to start," Pomeranz said.

The Padres acquired Pomeranz in December from the A's in the Yonder Alonso deal, with the thought that he could start or pitch out of the bullpen. But he has looked good in bullpen sessions, and his outing on Thursday against the Mariners certainly didn't dissuade the Padres about his potential to start.

Pomeranz, showing a curveball, changeup and fastball, stuck out Gaby Sanchez and Mike Baxter, and he then got Boog Powell on a harmless fly ball to end the fifth inning.

San Diego manager Andy Green liked what he saw.

"He adds that Japanese pause to the mix, too -- in the windup, which you don't see when he's in the stretch," Green said. "He had good shape to his breaking ball and the fastball was playing live up in the zone, and he was blowing it by guys.

"It was a nice mix. We will continue to add to his innings and see how he adjusts going back to the starter role."

Last season with the A's, Pomeranz had a 3.66 ERA in 53 games, including nine starts. He posted a 4.63 ERA in those nine starts and a 2.61 ERA in his 44 relief appearances.

"Last year, I didn't feel as great starting for whatever reason, and then I did way better in the bullpen," Pomeranz said. "This year, I feel pretty good, so feeling like that, you want to start a lot more than if you're kind of in between, if you're not feeling too great. I had some shoulder stuff going on last year, but I'm definitely looking forward to hopefully starting this year."

The race for the Nos. 4 and 5 spots in the Padres' starting rotation is muddled at this point -- Brandon Maurer, Friday's starter Colin Rea, Pomeranz and another lefty, Robbie Erlin, appear to be the most viable candidates.

Pomeranz doesn't mind the competition one bit.

"Competition is good in Spring Training; you've got guys competing against each other, and I think that helps you be a better player. Everyone's competing for something around here. I enjoy it," he said.