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03/07/09 7:02 PM ET

Padres in market for relievers

GM Towers says team is in search of bridge to closer Bell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With the start of the regular season now less than a month away, general manager Kevin Towers declared Saturday that he is in the market for fresh arms for the Padres bullpen.

"We need better quality ... if it's available," Towers said. "We're actively looking. I'm a little more comfortable with our rotation, but our bullpen? I don't know. I think we really need to keep an eye on these guys and also look outside."

And that was before the Padres allowed 15 runs in a loss to the A's on Saturday. The Padres have allowed 28 runs over their last two games, both losses.

That's not to say Towers hasn't been impressed at times with the work of the relievers the Padres currently have in camp. He's just not sure how all the pieces will fit and who will slide into defined roles.

"Right now, other than [closer Heath] Bell, I couldn't tell you the defined roles for these guys. Who is going to throw in the seventh, in the eighth? So we are trying to identify these guys. I like what I see in some of them but I don't have a feel for who can pitch the seventh or the eighth."

Towers said he will continue to talk to teams about potential deals or, more likely, he will keep an eye on pitchers with other teams who are out of Minor League options. There is a possibility of signing a free-agent reliever, although that might be a long shot because that would mean taking on payroll.

"There are some players who are out of options that we have targeted ... so we'll have to see if they become available," Towers said. "There are still a few free agents out there we've had discussions with."

Left-hander Joe Beimel, who pitched for the Dodgers last season, isn't a likely target for the Padres because that would mean adding significant payroll. The Padres have spoken with the agent for Will Ohman, though there appears to be mutual interest on both sides with the Phillies.

The Padres would like a power arm, someone capable of amassing strikeouts, to fill the void left by Bell, who takes over as closer for departed Trevor Hoffman. But only Mark Worrell, obtained from St. Louis in the Khalil Greene deal, has a history, albeit a Minor League history, of being a strikeout guy in the past.

Another newcomer, Chris Britton, has pitched well early in Cactus League play as has holdover Cla Meredith and Minor Leaguers Edwin Moreno, Matt Buschmann and Greg Burke. Mostly what concerns Towers is the lack of experience and that most of the relievers in camp don't have much, if any, Major League service time.

"I knew that we were going to be inexperienced there. I just think we need to continue to look to see if there are upgrades," Towers said of his lot of relievers.

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