Rotation candidates begin to diverge with spring results

Paddack, Weathers, Martínez make their initial bids for No. 5 spot

March 21st, 2022

PHOENIX -- Three pitchers. Two fields. One job.

Chris Paddack, Ryan Weathers and Nick Martínez took their first steps toward a possible rotation spot Sunday, with mixed results.

Paddack started and gave up a solo home run in two innings and Weathers gave up three runs on a pair of homers in his two innings during the Padres’ 6-3 loss to the Brewers at American Family Fields of Phoenix.

The 31-year-old Martínez, meanwhile, retired all six batters he faced in a Minor League game at the Padres’ training complex in Peoria, Ariz., striking out three while using 25 pitches.

“It’s good to get that first one under your belt,” Paddack said. “Every Spring Training that I’ve put a uniform on, I go out there and compete for a job. Nothing is penciled in until that final day, Competing against myself but also the guys around me, making them better. At the end of the day, that’s all I can control.”

Paddack, 26, threw 33 pitches, and a fastball that leaked out over the plate was the culprit on Keston Hiura’s homer in the second inning. Paddack struck out two.

Weathers, 22, gave up back-to-back homers to Jace Peterson and Mike Brousseau after walking Hiura to open the bottom of the fourth inning. The walk after a 1-2 count was his main regret.

“Not the results I wanted, but it was coming out good,” said Weathers, who threw 37 pitches. “I threw two pitches that didn’t hit my spot. Any given day, they could be a pop-up, ground ball. Just one of those days.”

Paddack was shut down with a UCL sprain last September and Weathers played through a fractured ankle, but both said no issues remain.

“I’m dealing with a bunch of guys who know how to pitch,” Weathers said. “It’s fun getting competitive, and we’re all going for the same goal -- wanting to win.

Development will be paramount in any roster decision regarding them, manager Bob Melvin said.

“It depends on what the roster construction looks like, whether you think you need a true long man,” Melvin said. “I don’t know if it does either of them any good, because you don’t know how much you are going to use those guys. If they are not on the team, probably need to develop a little more is my guess, but we’ll see how it goes.”

The more established starting pitchers will make their first appearances this week.

Yu Darvish is set to make his first appearance Monday with three innings against Colorado.

“He came into camp ready to go,” Melvin sad. “He wanted to throw to hitters right away. I think he saw this [lockout] coming and was ready for it.”

Joe Musgrove will follow against the Guardians on Tuesday. Mike Clevinger, who has not pitched since Sept. 23, 2020, because of elbow surgery, is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game Wednesday “to make sure everything is fine with him,” Melvin said.

Blake Snell, who left his final 2021 start on Sept. 12 with a left adductor strain, is “maybe not as far along as the other guys” in camp, Melvin said.

“I think you might see with quite a few teams if someone is behind, then maybe their first start is a three-inning type of thing,” Melvin said. “I’m just hoping he is at that point once we start the season, and whatever the innings looks like, I don’t think that really matters.”