3/2/2014 7:40 P.M. ET
Ross off to scorching spring start
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- With his fastball touching a scorching 96 mph, right-hander Tyson Ross got his spring off to a hot start on Sunday, facing the minimum in his two-inning Cactus League debut against the Reds.
"Felt good to be back out there on the mound. The first time is always a bit nerve-wracking, but I felt good and executed some pitches," Ross said. "It was a good starting point overall."
Ross, who is expected to begin the season in the middle of the rotation, threw 31 pitches -- 17 for strikes -- fanning one and walking one. His lone baserunner was erased on a double play.
The six outs Ross recorded weren't easy ones. In the first inning, he retired speedster Billy Hamilton, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto in order. Then, in the second, he walked Jay Bruce before inducing a ground-ball double play from Ryan Ludwick and punching out Todd Frazier.
Ross liked the early challenge of facing a team's best hitters.
"Those are the guys you're going to see in the season. I wouldn't have it any other way," he said.
Ross hopes to attack hitters more his next time out.
"Just need to get the first strike in there," he said. "Try to work the counts in my favor a little bit more."
Wieland feeling great after first outing since '12
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The results weren't what he wanted, but that didn't matter. Nothing was going to rain on Joe Wieland's parade Friday, not after how long he waited to get back on the mound. Pitching for the Padres for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012, the right-hander threw 29 pitches against the Mariners and reported no discomfort following the outing.
"It felt amazing, my first big league game in 22 months. It was awesome," Wieland said. "Great to get the first one out of the way and even better I had no soreness or anything afterwards."
Wieland finished his day allowing four runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning, but since the Mariners mostly did their damage off a couple of hanging breaking balls, the 24-year-old felt encouraged with his debut, especially since his fastball velocity sat comfortably in the low-to-mid 90s.
"I thought the ball came out well, I was a little disappointed with the results, but my fastball played well, which is what you want right now," Wieland said. "This next outing coming up Wednesday, though, the execution needs to be there better with the secondary stuff."
Like the rest of the pitchers in camp, Wieland is working to build up his endurance, and Friday was certainly a step in the right direction. The righty got his feet wet again in a couple of games last fall in the Arizona Fall League, but this spring is really when Wieland is hoping to put the more than a year of rehabilitation behind him.
"With him getting back to where he needs to be, the arm strength has to continue to build," Padres manager Bud Black said. "So we're going to put him through all the progressions, get his innings in, get his starts in and get him back in a competitive environment. It's great, though, that he's healthy and the ball is coming out of his hand fine."
Wieland, acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Rangers in 2011, made five starts for the Padres in 2012 before his injury, posting a 4.55 ERA and striking out 24 in 27 2/3 innings. He owns a career 3.29 ERA in parts of five Minor League seasons.
• Chris Denorfia and Will Venable were in the lineup on Sunday for the first time this spring, batting second and third, respectively, in a split-squad game against the Reds. Denorfia went 1-for-3, and Venable finished 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk.
• The Padres expect outfielder Carlos Quentin to make his Cactus League debut in the next few days.
"He is right around the corner," manager Bud Black said. "Carlos wants to get his at-bats and get ready for the season. He realizes that, and we all realize that, but you have to gain your stamina and endurance here in March. We think in a few days, when he kicks off, he'll start that progression to be ready for Opening Day."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.