02/20/12 4:44 PM EST
Familiar faces welcome Owings to Padres
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
"Right away, there wasn't anyone I really knew," Owings said Monday.
That's not the case this spring as Owings -- who signed a one-year deal worth $1 million on Feb. 1 -- has found more than just a few friendly and familiar faces in the Padres' clubhouse in Peoria.
"There's a comfort level here," Owings said.
That's because the 29-year-old right-hander, who is in competition for the long-relief job, already has ties with several players and front-offices types.
Owings played with outfielder Carlos Quentin and second baseman Orlando Hudson in Arizona when Padres chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, general manager Josh Byrnes and assistant general manager A.J. Hinch were still with the D-backs.
Owings also played with pitcher Edinson Volquez and first baseman Yonder Alonso in Cincinnati the last two seasons. And to top it all off, Owings was a teammate of closer Huston Street's in 2003 when both played for Team USA. Going back even further, Owings was teammates in 2001 with non-roster outfielder Jeremy Hermida on Georgia's East Cobb select team that won the Connie Mack World Series.
"I've been blessed to build relationships and I appreciate that I've had these relationships," Owings said.
Thatcher hoping shoulder woes behind him
PEORIA, Ariz. -- For those who argue six weeks of Spring Training is entirely too long, Padres relief pitcher Joe Thatcher couldn't agree more -- and he's got his reasons.
Thatcher, who hopes to win a job in the bullpen this spring as a left-handed specialist, has been stuck in Peoria each of the last two seasons nursing a sore shoulder after camp has broken and his teammates all have moved on to the regular season.
"It's not much fun staying back here after everyone leaves," Thatcher said Monday.
This spring, Thatcher has his eye on a clean bill of health from the start of camp to the finish, as his surgically repaired left shoulder -- a procedure done last May -- has responded well to early work. On Monday, he threw off a mound for 10 minutes in the bullpen without issue.
"It's important to have a good spring," Thatcher said. "It's a good experience because you really get a feel for what you're trying to do. Hopefully, all that stuff is behind me now."
Thatcher first experienced shoulder soreness in camp in 2010 and made two appearances in March, the last coming on March 19. He was shut down for two weeks and also had a cortisone shot. His shoulder responded well and he was able to join the Padres in April.
Last spring was a different story. His shoulder soreness started early and he had an MRI in March that didn't show any structural damage. But two months later, Thatcher had surgery on his labrum with some cleanup of a frayed rotator cuff.
"We treated it like we did the year before with cortisone shots and rest, and for whatever reason, it didn't respond the way that it did the year before," said Thatcher, noting that he had three cortisone shots last spring.
After a nine-game Minor League rehabilitation stint, Thatcher was reinstated from the disabled list on Aug. 5 and posted a 4.50 ERA in 18 games. He would like nothing more than to break camp with the team and be a part of the Opening Day roster.
Knowing Thatcher has previously had shoulder issues, Padres manager Bud Black said Monday that Thatcher will have his throwing schedule "augmented" some so that he has more days of rest between throwing sessions.
"It makes sense," Black said. "He doesn't need the volume early."
Padres get first look at pitchers in action
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The first workout of spring went off without a hitch Monday, as manager Bud Black and his staff -- as well as several front-office folks -- watched pitchers throw off the mound for the first time.
The Padres have 36 players in camp, including 29 pitchers. Ten of those pitchers weren't with the team when the regular season ended in 2011. Five of the seven catchers in camp are new as well.
"There's a lot of new names in this camp," Black said. "A lot of new names who weren't in big league camp a year ago."
To get a look at the new faces in camp, the Padres have split their pitchers into five groups, with most of the relievers throwing off the mound Monday. The pitchers who project more as starters will get their chance Tuesday.
How much evaluation can occur during a 10-minute light bullpen session?
Black said he and coaches look more at mechanics and delivery early on and that pitchers usually will throw all fastballs with some changeups in these early sessions before they gradually increase their workload.
Black said the team doctors who administered physicals Sunday were "really pleased with how the players looked physically." Black also said there were no health issues or restrictions on any of the 36 players in camp.
A few changes in uniform numbers: Yasmani Grandal is now wearing No. 12 and Logan Forsythe is wearing No. 11. Jeff Suppan is wearing No. 38, which was Mat Latos' old number. Also, Andrew Cashner is wearing No. 34. He apparently switched with hitting coach Alonzo Powell, who will now wear No. 32.
A television crew from ESPN was in camp Monday shooting footage of Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who is battling pancreatic cancer.