3/9/2014 3:59 P.M. ET
Padres send four players to Minor League camp
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres began the process of 'thinning the room' as manager Bud Black likes to say, as the team moved four players to the Minor League side on Sunday.
The team announced that it optioned outfielder Yeison Asencio to their Double-A roster in addition to reassigning right-handed pitchers Adys Portillo and Joe Ross to Minor League camp. Outfielder Daniel Robertson was also sent to Minor League camp.
Manager Bud Black also indicated that left-handed pitcher Juan Oramas will be optioned to the team's Triple-A roster on Monday.
When Oramas departs, the team will have 56 players left in camp, meaning there will be more cuts moving forward, possibly as soon as Monday.
Asencio had one hit in five at-bats and will being his season with Double-A San Antonio. Ross impressed during camp. The younger brother of Padres pitcher Tyson Ross, Joe Ross allowed one run in two games over three innings.
"Joe did fine. For a 20-year-old, in his first big league camp, I thought he presented himself very well," Black said of Ross, who will begin the season with Class A Lake Elsinore. "I thought he threw the ball well."
Portillo allowed three runs in three innings in three games. He's being converted from a starter to a reliever, a conversion that will continue in the Minor Leagues. Robertson was hitless in eight at-bats. He'll begin the regular season at Triple-A El Paso.
Kelly continues to make encouraging progress
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres continue to be encouraged by the progress that pitcher Casey Kelly is making during his road back from Tommy John surgery.
Kelly, who had reconstructive elbow surgery on April 2, 2013, threw his fifth bullpen session Sunday, throwing 50 pitches at what he estimated was 90 percent.
"I'm excited," he said. "I feel good. ... And it feels good to go out there and throw all of my pitches."
Kelly, after not pitching last season, said his secondary pitches are a little rusty at this point, which is certainly understandable.
Manager Bud Black said that when Kelly is cleared to move on from bullpen sessions, he'll advance to throwing to live hitters on the field or a simulated game. There's no timetable for when he'll be ready to pitch in a real game, though he's been eying a return in April.
"He's hit every mark," Black said. "[Facing live hitters is] the next progression. It's getting closer."
Handful of non-roster players making presence known
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Four non-roster players in Major League camp continue to impress manager Bud Black and could, ultimately, make things interesting for the team when it comes to making final decisions on the roster later this month.
"They're guys coming to a new organization, trying to make a team," Black said. "And they have done well."
Pitchers Blaine Boyer, Tony Sipp, Anthony Carter and infielder/outfielder Xavier Nady have generally fared well early in Cactus League play.
Sipp, trying to make the team as a left-handed specialist, has allowed one unearned run over his five innings. Boyer has allowed two hits in five scoreless innings. Carter, the only one of the four who has not played in the Major Leagues, has allowed one earned run in 4 1/3 innings.
"All three of them have pitched well," Black said. "And with Sipp and Boyer ... they have pitched well in the Majors before. They're going to continue to get opportunities to pitch. And I hope they continue to pitch well, because that will make it tough at the end to make decisions on the pitching staff."
Nady is trying to win a job as a reserve infielder and outfielder. He's hitting .353 with six hits in his first 17 at-bats with two RBIs.
"With X, he knows what's in front of him as far as trying to win a job on the team," Black said. "He brings something we're looking for; the right-handed bat off the bench with experience, the ability to play first and the outfield."
• Closer Huston Street, sidelined for a week with a slight groin pull, threw on the side on Saturday and will likely do that again soon. There's still no timetable as to when he'll get into a game. "He'll throw off the mound at least once, possibly twice," said Padres manager Bud Black.
• Catcher Yasmani Grandal, working his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in August, caught three innings in a simulated game on Saturday. Grandal did so well that, after getting a day off Sunday, he'll likely make his Cactus League debut sometime early this week. "He's doing fine," said Padres manager Bud Black.