© 2013 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

02/13/2013 2:15 PM ET

Black sees health, pitching as Padres' keys

PEORIA, Ariz. -- So far, so good, as far as health goes for the Padres' pitchers, which was anything but the case a year ago, when 11 pitchers landed on the disabled list.

The first workout of camp went by without incident, though the same was the case a year ago. Really, the Padres' injury problems didn't start until the team broke camp.

On Wednesday morning, manager Bud Black addressed the team in a meeting before the workout and stressed the importance of pitching.

"We've got to pitch better," Black said. "Teams that are successful and have good seasons pitch well."

Of course, injuries occasionally occur, and the Padres had their fair share of them in 2012. Not only did those 11 players land on the DL -- Huston Street and Tim Stauffer had two stints each -- but they combined to miss 1,013 games.

How did the Padres handle that? They had to go outside the organization for arms, and they ultimately covered 51 starts with pitchers who weren't on the 40-man roster when Spring Training began.

"Last year, we saw what can happen when you're not healthy," Black said.

Return to hill has Stauffer thrilled but cautious

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The first group of Padres pitchers threw off a mound on Wednesday during the first workout for pitchers and catchers.

Tim Stauffer was among those participating, and he couldn't have been happier about it.

For Stauffer, limited to five innings in 2012 because of right elbow soreness and subsequent surgery, this was the first time back on a mound since last August, during a Minor League rehabilitation stint that eventually led to Aug. 31 surgery to repair a flexor tendon.

When he signed a Minor League contract with the Padres earlier this month, Stauffer said he was about two weeks behind his usual throwing program.

"We'll ease into it a little more than normal," Stauffer said. "At this point, it's tough to gauge. We will just have to see how it goes. But right now, everything is going along as planned."

Stauffer, who will earn $1 million if he makes the 25-man roster, has incentives that could add $1.25 million to his deal, based on the number of games he starts. If Stauffer is not on the 25-man roster by June 1, he can be released if he requests to be, or the team has 48 hours to add him to the roster.

Signed or not, Richard eager to contribute

PEORIA, Ariz. -- At this point, Padres left-hander Clayton Richard is accustomed to being the last man standing.

After all, Richard was the only pitcher on San Diego's staff to make all of his starts (33) in 2012. And now, he is the lone player in camp without a contract for 2013.

Richard and the Padres have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 19, though the lefty said on Monday that he's hopeful a deal can get completed between now and then.

Richard, who matched his career best in victories (14) last season, has asked for $5.55 million. The team offered $4.905 million. Last season, Richard made $2.705 million.

It's been a busy month for the Padres, who reached deals with seven of their arbitration-eligible players, including third baseman Chase Headley, who will make $8.575 million. Another arbitration-eligible player, outfielder Kyle Blanks, agreed to a contract in November.

Short hops

• Half of the Padres' 36 pitchers in camp threw off a mound on Wednesday. The other half will do so on Thursday. One player who will be watched closely is right-hander Andrew Cashner, who had surgery in December to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb. Cashner is on what Black calls a "restricted program." That said, there's a good chance Cashner will be able to throw off a mound by March 1.

• There are two pitchers in camp who won't throw off a mound this week: Minor Leaguers Jason Ray and Jerry Sullivan. Both have what Black termed as 'tender arms." Both are in camp as non-roster invitees. Sullivan had a 2.32 ERA in 42 2/3 innings after the All-Star break with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and benefited greatly from developing a split-finger fastball. The Padres were pleased he wasn't claimed in December's Rule 5 Draft.

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.