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03/15/11 8:24 PM ET

Kelly among four sent to Minor League camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pitcher Casey Kelly, considered the Padres top Minor League prospect, was one of four players sent to Minor League camp on Tuesday.

The team optioned outfielder Cedric Hunter to Triple-A Tucson and also reassigned left-handed pitchers Colt Hynes, Rob Musgrave and Kelly to Minor League camp.

Kelly did not allow a run in five innings in Cactus League games and allowed two hits. He did allow one run in three innings during a B game Monday against the Mariners.

"Very good, that's what we've seen the whole time ... a lot of composure," Padres manager Bud Black said on Monday. "He just needs to keep pitching. He's doing a lot of very good things."

Kelly was one of four players obtained from the Red Sox in the December deal that sent three-time All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Boston.

Hunter opened eyes in camp, hitting .435 with four doubles, one triple, one home run and 10 RBIs.

Hynes, who worked a scoreless inning in Tuesday's 9-6 loss to the Angels, didn't allow a run in 5 1/3 innings.

Musgrave had a 3.60 ERA in four appearances spanning five innings.

LeBlanc looks at big picture, sees 'best stuff'

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The numbers might not lie, though according to Padres pitcher Wade LeBlanc, they don't tell the whole story either.

LeBlanc, in competition for the fifth-starter spot in the rotation, allowed six earned runs in five innings in Tuesday's 9-6 loss to the Angels at Peoria Sports Complex.

LeBlanc allowed three home runs, all in the fourth inning when the Angels scored four runs, though he said there were positives to take from his fourth Cactus League outing.

"I feel like I threw the ball well," LeBlanc said. "It might not look like it, but it might be the best stuff I've had since last July. Stuff-wise ... I felt great today, especially with my mechanics."

LeBlanc, who has a 9.22 ERA this spring, worked smartly and efficiently through the first two innings, retiring the first six hitters he faced. He struck out Angels right fielder Torii Hunter, getting him looking at a fastball inside.

LeBlanc, a left-hander, came into this start wanting to improve on throwing strikes in on right-handed batters. To that end, he found some success.

"Three of the four strikeouts were fastballs in," LeBlanc said. "After that last start, I wanted to get better at throwing my fastball in."

In the fourth inning, Hunter -- getting another fastball in -- turned on it for a home run to start the inning. Vernon Wells then drove a changeup over the fence in left.

"That's what he has to do, locate in," Padres manager Bud Black said. "That's his challenge moving forward."

Then, three batters later, Mark Trumbo jumped on an 0-2 changeup, hitting it out to left-center -- with some assistance from a strong breeze blowing out.

"I've got to bury that pitch," LeBlanc said. "It's got to end up in the dirt."

LeBlanc is essentially battling right-hander Dustin Moseley (2.08 ERA this spring) for the fifth-starter spot, though the Padres would like him to win the job so Moseley -- who can start or pitch in relief -- can work out of the bullpen.

That the Padres won't need a fifth starter until the second week of the season -- they have three off-days in the first week -- complicates things and essentially means the team won't be hard-pressed to reach a decision anytime soon.

Another left-handed pitcher, Cory Luebke, is pitching well (4.26 ERA in 12 2/3 innings). But Luebke looks to be earmarked to start the season in Tucson with the Triple-A affiliate.

The Padres have been impressed with Luebke. He struck out seven in a relief outing against the White Sox on Monday and he has shown improved velocity and the ability to bury his slider inside on right-handed batters.

The only thing, presumably, that's holding Luebke back is his difficulty getting ahead in the count. When Luebke has been able to do that, he's been efficient and effective. When he hasn't, though, he's struggled.

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