San Diego, CA- San Diego Padres manager Bud Black announced yestersday that left-hander Eric Stults will start the spring opener Thursday against the Seattle Mariners for their annual charity game.
Stults last season started 33 games for the Padres and went 11-13 with a 3.93 ERA in 203.2 innings, while striking out 131. Stults led the Padres in wins, complete games, innings pitched and strikeouts. Stults re-signed with the Padres on a one-year deal for $2.75 million this off-season and is expected to be the teams fifth starter heading into the season.
Kevin Quackenbush is a hard-throwing reliever prospect who many expect to be the Padres closer of the future. Donn Roach is one of the Padres top pitching prospects and according to Baseball America “has the best sinker in the minor leagues”. Patrick Schuster is a left-handed reliever who was the number one overall pick in the Rule 5 draft this off-season by the Houston Astros and was traded to the Padres soon after for Anthony Bass. Blaine Boyer and hard-throwing relievers Tony Sipp and Anthony Carter are all free-agents signed by the Padres this off-season. Quackenbush, Boyer, Schuster, Sipp and Carter are all contending for the final spot in the Padres bullpen.
Presumed Opening Day starter Andrew Cashner will start Friday. While Padres manager Bud Black has yet to announce his “Opening Day Starter”, if Cashner pitches every fifth day the rest of spring starting Friday, it would put him in line to be scheduled for “Opening Day”.