PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres optioned third baseman/outfielder James Darnell to Triple-A Tucson on Sunday morning, reducing the number of players in big league camp to 34.
However, three pitchers -- Jeff Suppan, Joe Wieland and Casey Kelly -- have all been informed that they will begin the season with Triple-A Tucson.
As manager Bud Black indicated earlier in camp, the Padres will take a handful of extra players back to San Diego after Sunday's game against the Rangers. The team will play exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Royals.
The Padres have until 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday to finalize their 25-man roster for Opening Day on Thursday against the Dodgers at Petco Park. It's possible that Black will still use those two games to evaluate players before he and his staff sets the roster.
Darnell, ranked No. 19 among the team's top prospects, hit .295 with one home run and seven RBIs in 61 at-bats this spring. He also had five doubles and 17 strikeouts.
"I told him today that he was in the mix to the end," Black said.
Triceps strain to keep Stauffer from first series
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pitcher Tim Stauffer, who was the Padres' Opening Day starter in 2011, will not pitch in the first series of the season against the Dodgers because of a strained right triceps.
"We just need to allow it time to heal," Stauffer said. "I expect that rest and treatment will knock it out.
"You never want to end Spring Training not feeling 100 percent, but I've got to deal with it and move on."
Stauffer struggled late in spring and posted a 6.75 ERA. He allowed 17 runs on 35 hits in 22 2/3 innings.
"There's some mechanical things he and [pitching coach Darren Balsley] want to work on," manager Bud Black said of Stauffer. "[We saw] some things on the radar where Tim wasn't throwing the ball like we think he can throw it."
By skipping Stauffer in the first series of the season, the team is giving his triceps time to heal in addition to allowing him to work with Balsley.
"I do think his arm the last two weeks has hit a little fatigue," Black said. "It probably does him some good to back off a few days."
Kotsay could land on DL with strained calf
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay's strained right calf could make him a potential candidate to start the season on the disabled list.
"There's some tightness in it but we'll give it a couple of days to see how it responds," said Kotsay, who suffered the strain in Saturday's game against the Mariners.
San Diego manager Bud Black said Sunday that the team has the benefit of giving Kotsay a few days off, as the Padres break camp Sunday and then play exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday before the regular season begins on Thursday.
"Possibly it could," Black said when asked if Kotsay could begin the season on the disabled list. "We will see how it plays out. But the calf at times can be tricky based on players in the past who have had calf strains."
The Padres have until 2 p.m. PT on Wednesday to set their 25-man roster for Opening Day on Thursday against the Dodgers.
"We have a two- or three-day window to watch it and see how Mark does," Black said.
Kotsay hit .345 in 29 at-bats this spring.