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03/10/07 7:21 PM ET

Notes: Young keeps count controlled

Righty needs just 49 pitches to get through four innings

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Some of the best contact made in San Diego's five-run uprising in the first inning Saturday came from the bat of starting pitcher Chris Young.

Young's solid contact resulted in a nice running grab by Colorado center fielder Steve Finley, one of the few balls that didn't land safely in what would eventually become an 11-3 victory over the Rockies.

"They must have had a scouting report on me," Young said jokingly following the game.

The same couldn't have been said for the Rockies' hitters, though.

Making his third Cactus League start, Young allowed one run on three hits with no walks in four innings that were so crisp that the 6-foot-10 right-hander didn't come close to his projected pitch count.

That's certainly a good sign for a hurler who led the Major Leagues in most pitches per plate appearance last season.

"I try to throw strikes and hope they put the ball in play," said Young, who needed only 49 pitches to get 12 outs, well short of the 60-pitch schedule. "I can't control what they do or not. I'm trying to make good, quality pitches. Normally, if you makes good pitches, you get outs."

That occurred more often than not Saturday, and, as a whole this spring, it's been a regular occurrence for Young, who has allowed two runs over his last seven innings and has just one walk in nine innings overall.

Young retired the Rockies in order in the first frame and then allowed two doubles and a run in the second inning. He recovered quickly enough to set down nine of the final 10 batters he faced.

And he did it while feeling under the weather.

"He was fine. He threw some good sliders, changes, located the fastball," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Another first: Black happened into another first for him Saturday morning when he made his first cuts of the spring, as four players were reassigned to Minor League camp.

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The players were three pitchers (Sean Thompson, Erick Burke and Jack Cassel) and a pair of catchers (Nick Hundley, Justin Hatcher). Burke, Hundley and Hatcher were non-roster invitees.

None of the cuts involved players who realistically had a shot at the Opening Day roster.

Still, Black said, it was a little different that he was the one informing the players of the news that they'll no longer be in Major League camp.

Black wasn't the bearer of bad news during his seven seasons as pitching coach working under manager Mike Scioscia with the Angels.

"Those were the first cuts where I spoke first," Black said. "In Anaheim, Mike spoke first then I spoke. It's just different. Everything is different to me. It doesn't sneak up on me or surprise, but it is new. It's different, but it's not anything I'm shocked by or uncomfortable with."

With the cuts, the Padres now have 55 players in camp, though with catcher Todd Greene still nursing a dislocated right shoulder, the number of healthy players is actually 54.

Praising the Kouz: Following a slow start, Kevin Kouzmanoff's bat is heating up in Cactus League play. He had a double, hit his first home run and scored two runs in a 10-6 loss to the Cubs on Friday.

"The ball jumps off his bat," Black said. "What I like is he doesn't give at-bats away. The intensity is there. The word is this guy is going to hit."

Kouzmanoff is batting .417 this spring with two doubles and three walks. He is currently tied with Marcus Giles for second on the team in total bases (10).

Yet it hasn't just been Kouzmanoff's hot bat that has impressed Black. Kouzmanoff has yet to make an error at third base and has shown good footwork and a strong arm from the hot corner.

"He's been great. We're happy with the way he's playing defense," Black said. "I don't think that's going to be an issue."

A polished Ring: Left-handed reliever Royce Ring looks like he's zeroing in on the job to be San Diego's late-inning, left-handed specialist.

Ring provided about the lone pitching highlight during Friday's loss in Mesa with two scoreless innings.

"He showed a nice breaking ball to the lefties," Black said of Ring, who hasn't allowed a run in Cactus League play. "He kept the fastball down and had the nice sinking action from the sidearm slot."

Ring allowed two hits against the Cubs, but didn't allow a walk and had two strikeouts in the game. In official spring games, Ring has thrown four scoreless innings with just three hits allowed.

Pads and ends: Giles was a late scratch for Saturday's game against the Rockies because of a tender right quadriceps. Giles won't play Sunday in Tucson, but only because that was his normally scheduled day off. This way, he will have two full days to recover. ... Former Padre Finley, who is trying to earn a spot on the Rockies' 25-man Opening Day roster, received a warm ovation before Saturday's game. Finley, who will turn 42 on Monday and played four seasons in San Diego (1995-98), entered Saturday's game hitting .471. ... The Padres will play the first of three games in Tucson on Sunday. Clay Hensley gets the start in the first game against Arizona, with Scott Strickland, Aaron Rakers, Justin Hampson, Jared Wells and Adrian Burnside to follow. The Friars face the White Sox on Monday and the Rockies on Tuesday before returning to Peoria. ... Reliever Kevin Cameron, one of several bullpen hopefuls, had his first rough outing of the spring Friday, allowing four walks and two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Before then, the Rule 5 Draft pickup from Minnesota hadn't allowed a run in three previous stints. "He's been pretty solid up until yesterday," Black said. "The four walks ... looking at his history with the Twins, he's been a strike-thrower." Cameron will either have to make the team or be offered back to the Twins for $25,000. ... Jake Peavy allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings on Friday. Black said Peavy was fighting through what many pitchers do this time of the spring -- dead arm syndrome. Peavy won't miss any time because of it.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.