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03/09/12 8:27 PM ET

Digitally, Brach catches Black's eye

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Not long after Wednesday's split-squad loss to the Rangers, Padres manager Bud Black returned to his office and got on MLB.com to see how the other Padres team fared against the Reds.

Black noticed the team won the game, 5-0, and that reliever Brad Brach closed out the Reds by striking out the side. He also noticed how Brach went about doing it.

"It said nine pitches, no balls," Black said.

As it turns out, that calculation was off, as Brach actually threw 11 pitches in a 5-0 victory. Either way, it was a nice performance for the right-hander three days after he was charged with a loss against Seattle.

"Everyone said it's spring and you want to get your work in. But you still want to do well. You don't want to let up runs and cost your team the game," Brach said.

Brach, who is part of a crowded bullpen contingent of arms trying to win a spot on the 25-man Opening Day roster, is trying to distinguish himself any way he can. Getting the attention of the manager is surely a good way to do so.

"It's a good thing for the years to come and even this year. I think the young guys are going to help out the team," Brach said of the relievers in camp. "It's good to get them all here and see what they've all got. It's also good incentive to do well."

Brach got his first taste of the Major Leagues last season, when he went 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA over nine appearances after being promoted from Triple-A Tucson. He has been successful at the Minor League level as a closer, saving 112 games with a 2.22 ERA in 207 appearances.

The Padres don't need a closer this season as they traded for Huston Street and they have an eighth-inning specialist in Andrew Cashner. But there could still be a job or two won with strong outings in Arizona.

Brach has been trying to incorporate his changeup more this spring, a pitch he feels can help him give left-handed batters something to think about.

"It's what I've been working on the most this spring," Brach said. "It's been real good for me so far. Hopefully, it will be effective to lefties."

Richard: 'Nice to finally get back'

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Clayton Richard isn't ready to declare 2011 as a complete loss, even though he did not make a start after July 1, when a shoulder injury eventually led him to arthroscopic surgery.

"It felt right at times," Richard said of his left shoulder.

The shoulder has felt right all spring for Richard and did again Friday when he made his first appearance in a game, a two-inning stint against the Angels.

Richard allowed one run on two hits, getting four ground-ball outs and even picking off a runner. He threw 23 pitches, including 18 strikes. He then threw another 10 pitches in the bullpen to complete a day he's been looking forward to for a while.

"It was nice to finally get back on the mound against guys in a different jersey," Richard said. "I was able to throw strikes, which at this point in spring is my priority. I didn't really put guys away, which is something to work on during Spring Training, but I felt good.

"That's what we're hoping for right now."

Richard started feeling soreness in his shoulder during Spring Training last year and was actually shut down for three days in camp. He went 5-9 with a 3.88 ERA in 18 starts, including tossing five scoreless innings in a victory over the Giants on July 1.

Richard landed on the disabled list four days later with a shoulder strain and had surgery on July 29. That seems so long ago now.

"It's nice to be able to go out and pitch and not worry about health issues," he said.

Young Erlin balks at walks

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Robbie Erlin, who came to the Padres on July 31 from Texas in the Mike Adams deal, will enter this fourth professional season with 34 walks in 266 Minor League innings.

Erlin, a left-hander, likes to pound the strike zone, working either side of the plate and generally has a strong disdain for free passes.

"I hate to walk guys," he said.

In his first outing of the spring Wednesday, Erlin allowed two earned runs on three hits with one home run, one throwing error and, gulp, one walk in a two-inning stint in a loss to the Royals. It's no wonder Erlin is itching to get in a game again.

Oddly enough, the walk didn't upset him as much as a throwing error in his first inning of work, one that led to two runs. On that particular play, Erlin made a low throw to first base on a bunt by Jarrod Dyson.

"I definitely kicked myself over that," Erlin said. "It was a routine bunt and I rushed it. Talking to [first baseman Kyle Blanks] in between innings, he said to remember you've got plenty of time. I think I just rushed it. Next time, I'll field it clean, stay down and deliver it right in his chest."

Erlin's next appearance hasn't been officially listed yet, though if he's pitching every fifth day, it should occur on Sunday against the D-backs in Peoria.

Short hops

Center fielder Cameron Maybin left Friday's game in the fifth inning with what the team called a bruised right shin. Maybin brushed off any possible concern. "I expect to be in there tomorrow." ... Black said infielder Logan Forsythe had surgery Friday morning in San Diego to remove the medial sesamoid bone in his left foot. Forsythe is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Coincidentally, he had surgery while at the University of Arkansas to remove the same bone in his right foot. Forsythe will now return to Peoria to start his rehabilitation. ... Shortstop Jason Bartlett, who has yet to appear in a game because of a sore right knee, could play as soon as Saturday, Black said. ... Third baseman Chase Headley, who like Bartlett has yet to play, could return sometime this weekend as his tight lower back has responded well to treatment.

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.