02/09/09 6:46 PM EST
Padres invite 20 non-roster players
Correia, Britton among 12 pitchers with good chance to make team
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
The Padres announced on Monday that of that group of 20 players, 12 are pitchers who will report to the Spring Training complex in Peoria, Ariz., on Saturday.
Kevin Correia and Chris Britton were among the pitchers invited to camp and both have, what general manager Kevin Towers considers, a good chance of making the team.
The other pitchers include right-handers Greg Burke, Matt Buschmann, Gabe DeHoyos, Will Inman, Mat Latos, Edwin Moreno, Oneli Perez, Mark Prior and left-handers Arturo Lopez and Nick Schmidt.
Prior, who will earn $1 million is he's on the Major League roster, has been working out at PETCO Park and is on track to compete for a job this spring. Prior last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2006.
Position players who have been invited include catchers Eliezer Alfonzo, Mitch Canham and Colt Morton; infielders Peter Ciofrone, Chris Burke and Kyle Blanks and outfielders Chad Huffman and Cedric Hunter.
Burke, 28, played six positions last season with Arizona -- four positions in the infield and both corner outfield spots. He hit .194 in 86 games, and Towers thinks he is a much better hitter than that and that moving around as much as he did never allowed Burke to get comfortable.
Burke is a career .241 hitter over 445 games in his five Major League seasons with the Astros (2004-07) and D-backs (2008).
"He's a scrappy player who runs well and a solid defender," Towers said. "He has played behind [Craig] Biggio in Houston and [Orlando] Hudson in Arizona. I don't know if he's ever really gotten a chance to show what he can do.
"Even though it's a non-roster deal, we feel like he's got a chance to be on our ballclub."
Towers likes the fact Burke is a right-handed hitter and has mashed left-handed pitching to the tune of 50 points higher (.274) than right-handed pitchers. Towers indicated that he wouldn't rule out the possibility of Burke playing the outfield, especially against a tough left-handed pitcher.
Then there's Blanks, a first baseman who isn't on the 40-man roster, only because he doesn't have to be protected yet. But he's as highly regarded a prospect as the Padres have.
Blanks has had consecutive seasons of more than 20 home runs and 100 RBIs and figures to get a lot of playing time at first base in Spring Training with Adrian Gonzalez playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.