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03/29/07 8:09 PM ET

Notes: Peavy ends spring on high note

Righty tunes up for Opening Day with three scoreless frames

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It made absolutely no difference to Jake Peavy who stood in the batter's box Thursday -- the Mariners' projected starting lineup or simply a hodgepodge of Minor Leaguers who likely had no business playing in a Cactus League game.

Peavy got the latter and not the former, not that it mattered the least to the Padres' Opening Day starter, who wished only to get his work in and stay healthy in his final tuneup for a Tuesday date against the Giants in San Francisco.

He accomplished both on a sun-splashed day at Peoria Stadium, throwing three scoreless innings in a 6-1 victory over the Mariners, who only had one projected regular player -- designated hitter Jose Vidro -- in the starting lineup.

Again, that made no difference to Peavy, who lowered his spring ERA to 3.52 by allowing just two hits with three strikeouts. Peavy finished the spring with 27 strikeouts in 23 innings.

"I wanted to be fresh going into San Francisco," said Peavy, who needed just 44 pitches to get through his three innings. "I've built up to 100 pitches my last start and I feel that I can go more than 100 in San Francisco."

Peavy will face Giants newcomer Barry Zito in the season-opener. It will be Peavy's second Opening Day start. Last season, he allowed one run over six innings in a Padres' win.

"I'm excited, I feel good," he said. "Spring Training for me went as smoothly as it could go."

Praising Cruz: Don't be surprised if Jose Cruz Jr. is in the starting lineup for the regular-season opener against the Giants in left field.

No, that doesn't mean that Cruz, who is hitting .302 this spring with four home runs and 11 RBIs, has unseated the projected starter, Terrmel Sledge, in left field.

But with the left-handed Zito starting the opener, the switch-hitting Cruz could very well get the starting nod over the left-handed-hitting Sledge.

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"It would not be stunning," manager Bud Black said. "But it might not be overly stunning to have Sledge [starting] and hitting eighth. We are still working our way through that."

Sledge is a career .247 hitter against left-handed pitchers and has hit three of his six home runs this spring off left-handed pitchers.

Black has been pleased with the play of Cruz and is confident he can play all three outfield positions.

"He has performed as expected," Black said. "I would say he's been more than steady in the field, at the plate. He's had some good stretches where he's looked very good at the plate. He's going through camp like a lot of veterans do, getting his work in. He's doing what he needs to get ready. Overall as a staff, we've been happy with how he's looked."

Kouz honored: San Diego third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was the recipient of the sixth annual Peoria Diamond Club award on Thursday. The award is given annually to the top rookie of the Peoria Sports Complex teams, the Padres and Mariners.

Kouzmanoff, who will be San Diego's starting third baseman, entered Thursday's night game against Arizona at Chase Field hitting .304 this spring with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Past Padres winners include Sean Burroughs (2002), Xavier Nady (2003), Khalil Greene (2004) and Josh Barfield (2006).

Pads and ends: The starting time for the Padres' season-opener against the Giants has changed from 1:05 p.m. to 1:35 p.m. PT. ... Black said outfielder Paul McAnulty ran the bases and took batting practice as usual Thursday. There's still no update on the MRI exam McAnulty underwent earlier in the week on his surgically repaired right knee, though Black said there's a chance McAnulty could get some at-bats in either Minor League games or either of the team's last two spring games. ... Mike Cameron continues to work his way back from a strained right hamstring. Cameron was "much better," Black said, and that he took batting practice before Thursday's split-squad game in Peoria. "I'm very optimistic there won't be a DL for any of them," Black said. ... Jack Lengyel, who was Marshall University's first football coach after the plane crash that killed 75 players, coaches and staff in 1970, threw out the first pitch in Peoria on Thursday. ... The Padres announced their primary marketing slogan on Thursday for this season -- Experience It! The team's new television ads will be distributed to news outlets on Thursday and www.padres.com.

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