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2/15/2013 3:06 P.M. ET

Padres project recovering Cashner as starter

PEORIA, Ariz. -- If you were wondering what the Padres' plans are for pitcher Andrew Cashner this season, manager Bud Black offered something that sounded like a definitive word Friday.

"With Cash, if you're to break him down as a pitcher and project future potential, you can see a starter in the type of pitcher he is," Black said. "Let's explore the starting."

Cashner, who had surgery in December to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb, said Thursday he hopes to be ready for Opening Day. The Padres are watching his throwing program carefully early in camp.

There's a chance Cashner could throw off a mound by March 1, meaning he might not be too far behind everyone else in camp.

The Padres obtained Cashner from the Cubs last January with the intention of having him start, though he began the season as an eighth-inning specialist because the team needed it. He was 3-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 27 innings of relief.

The team later sent him to the Minor Leagues to get stretched out as a starter. He returned on June 9 and made five starts, going 0-1 with a 5.12 ERA. In his second start, Cashner took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Astros, but settled for a no-decision.

"He's got good delivery, good body, good arm action, three pitches -- fastball, breaking ball, change, all quality," Black said. "[Cashner] has ability with his fastball to pitch to both sides of the plate. He has the weapons to be a starting pitcher.

"You ask yourself, a guy who is able to get 18 to 24 outs … is that better than a guy who can get three?"

Forsythe set to see time in outfield, infield

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres will hold their first full-squad workout Saturday, which means plenty of action for position players, none more so than Logan Forsythe.

The Padres asked Forsythe, an infielder by trade, to take fly balls in the outfield to help increase his versatility and possibly give him a chance to get in the lineup more.

Forsythe has been taking fly balls at Petco Park since January and working with first-base coach Dave Roberts, who works with outfielders. He reported to Spring Training early to continue that work and he's been shagging fly balls in the outfield when catchers hit.

That said, Forsythe -- who can play second base, shortstop and third base -- will get most of his reps with the infielders, taking ground balls and working on defensive alignments from all three positions, as well.

"We talked about it a little bit. [Manager Bud Black] pulled me aside in San Diego and told me I'll always break with the infielders," Forsythe said. "It takes a little time to get used to tracking the ball off the bat in batting practice. I think it will take a few reps to get comfortable."

Black, who made it a point this week to say Forsythe shouldn't be labeled an utilityman, thinks there's a real upside to having Forsythe get work in the outfield.

"It will be good for him and the club," Black said.

Rodriguez returns to camp after brief stint in bigs

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres catcher Eddy Rodriguez has nine days of Major League service time, all coming last season, when he earned a brief mid-season promotion.

They might as well rate as nine of the best days of his life.

Rodriguez, 27, played his first professional season in the Reds' system in 2006, played two seasons with an independent league team and then signed with the Padres before the '11 season. He was catching with Class A Lake Elsinore on July 31, when he got the call to San Diego.

Rodriguez appeared in two games and hit a home run against his old organization on Aug. 2 on the first pitch he saw from Reds starter Johnny Cueto. In doing so, he became the second Padres player to hit a home run in his first at-bat. Pitcher Dave Eiland also did so in 1992.

Six days later, Rodriguez returned to the Minor Leagues and Nick Hundley was recalled.

"To me, it was a big surprise. It was almost the culmination of all the hard work, all the sacrifices that we put in in the Minor Leagues and independent leagues," Rodriguez said. "Hitting the home run was icing on the cake."

Worth noting

• As part of his morning get-to-know you moments, Padres manager Bud Black was impressed to hear right-handed pitcher Adys Portillo, a 21-year-old considered one of the top prospects in the organization, pitched in the Little League World Series in 2003 for Venezuela. In fact, Portillo was the winning pitcher in a pool game against a team from Russia, striking out the first seven batters he faced in three innings of scoreless relief.

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.