PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mat Latos shared a laugh with home plate umpire Chris Guccione after his 34-pitch outing in his first start in Surprise on Tuesday, although he wouldn't divulge what exactly was so funny.
"I made something positive out of a negative day," Latos said, smiling.
The laughs with Guccione might have centered on Latos' surprising lack of command, as he walked four in one inning before leaving the game upon reaching his pitch count, after getting one out in the second inning.
"I felt fine, as bad as I looked," said Latos, who didn't appear too disturbed by the lack of command he showed. "I was missing by a lot. I threw it everywhere but the strike zone."
Despite the walks, Latos didn't allow a hit or run. He threw 34 pitches, 15 of which went for strikes. What was most confounding for Latos was what his command was sharp before the game in his bullpen session.
"That should never happen," Latos said of the walks. "I was spot-on in the bullpen ... I don't know what happened. Maybe I blew it all in the bullpen."
Last season, Latos averaged 2.44 walks per nine innings. He walked three or more batters in just seven of his 31 starts.
Cunningham likes early playing time
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The first thing that Padres outfielder Aaron Cunningham does when he enters the clubhouse each day -- and, really, he's no different than anyone else -- is check the lineup card to see if he's starting.
After starting Monday's game in right field against Seattle which followed a three at-bat game on Sunday, Cunningham wasn't expecting to play Tuesday.
But Cunningham found his name on the lineup card again, this time for the Padres game against the Royals in Surprise.
"I was a little surprised I was in there again," Cunningham admitted Tuesday morning. "But it's nice to get some at-bats. I love seeing my name in there."
It's clear the Padres want to take a long look at Cunningham, who might be destined for Triple-A Tucson no matter how well he does this spring, since the team appears set with Ryan Ludwick, Cameron Maybin and Will Venable as starters and with Chris Denorfia as the fourth outfielder.
Not that Cunningham has really allowed himself to take stock of where he might fit with the team.
"I've learned over the years that it doesn't matter, I can't worry about that kind of stuff," he said. "I know I have an [Minor League] option left ... but I'm here fighting for a job."
Last season, Cunningham hit .251 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs in 80 games with Triple-A Portland. He actually had more success at the Major League level, as he hit .288 in 132 at-bats.
This spring, Cunningham is 1-for-7 with a run scored. He did make a diving catch in right field in the first inning of Tuesday's game, saving a run.
"The Triple-A numbers were a little alarming to me," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We've seen good at-bats in the Major Leagues. There's a little contradiction there. ... There's still some room for growth. He has to be more consistant with his total game."
Padres surpass 10,000 in season-ticket sales
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres have surpassed the 10,000 mark in season-ticket sales for the upcoming season, putting them well ahead of where they were at a year ago.
As of Tuesday morning, the Padres had sold 10,003 season tickets for 2011. A year ago at this time, the team had sold 8,240 season tickets.
"Setting new renewal records and growing the base back to 10,000-plus are significant milestones in that effort, but we still have a lot of work to do to earn the trust of the fan base and to ensure PETCO Park is full night after night," said Padres vice president of ticket sales and service Jarrod Dillon.
This is the first time the franchise has eclipsed the 10,000 mark in season-ticket sales since the 2008 season.
The renewal rate for season tickets -- 2010 season-ticket holders who have renewed -- is currently 90.1 percent, marking the second consecutive season the club has enjoyed its highest renewal rate since moving into PETCO Park in 2004.
First-year season-ticket sales are also up, going from 908 at this time a year ago to 1,829 as of Tuesday morning.