Black, Padres players placing emphasis on chemistry

PEORIA, Ariz. -- If Padres manager Bud Black is worried about trying to whittle down the roster to reach a 12-man pitching staff, he's not showing it.

"Isn't that great?" Black said when he was reminded on Wednesday that there are still 31 pitchers left in Major League camp.

The Padres, who break camp two weeks from Thursday, will likely carry a 12-man staff into the season -- five starters and seven relievers.

Reaching that number by the time the team opens the season on April 1 against the Mets at Citi Field is not a daunting task, according to Black.

"We have a lot of games to get these guys work and evaluate," he said. "There's still time to work our way through our pitching."

Beginning Thursday, with a game against the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Padres will play 18 games over a 17-day stretch. That includes two exhibition games in San Antonio against the Rangers on March 29-30.

Black has all but named four of his five starters; Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Jason Marquis and Eric Stults. Anthony Bass, Casey Kelly, Tyson Ross, Tim Stauffer, Freddy Garcia and Andrew Cashner are in contention for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

The bullpen is even more muddled, with 14 pitchers -- Bass, Stauffer and Garcia are also in that bunch -- competing for seven jobs.

• On the injury front, center fielder Cameron Maybin (lower back pain) took part in full drills on Wednesday morning. He could play Thursday against the Netherlands or Friday when the team has split-squad games against the Dodgers and Royals. Left fielder Carlos Quentin (sore right knee) took batting practice for the second time in as many days Wednesday. There's no timetable for his return. Infielder Logan Forsythe (plantar fasciitis, right foot) could be close to having a protective boot removed. He would then needs two or three days of therapy before returning to games. Also, right fielder Will Venable (sore left side) could return to games soon.

Kelly has tests on right elbow; club docs 'concerned'

MLB Network checks in with Kelly about pitching

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pitcher Casey Kelly, regarded as the Padres' fourth-best prospect according to MLB.com, had tests performed on his sore right elbow Tuesday in San Diego.

The news doesn't appear encouraging for the 23-year-old right-hander, who was in camp with the hopes of winning a job in the rotation.

"The doctors are concerned [about] what the tests look like," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It's the part of the elbow we're concerned about."

Kelly hasn't appeared in a Cactus League game since March 7. He has a 7.71 ERA over three games and 5 1/3 innings this spring.

Kelly had the tests performed by Padres doctors, including an MRI.

Reached by text message Wednesday, the young hurler said no decisions have been made on the next step.

"There's going to be a lot of discussion between Casey and Casey's family," Black said. "I assume they'll want a second opinion. We want to make sure the right course of action will occur."

Kelly will also have the benefit of consulting two Padres pitchers who had Tommy John surgery last year -- Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland. Another teammate, Tim Stauffer, was sidelined early in the season with a strain of his right elbow. He had surgery in August to repair the flexor bundle.

Kelly made his Major League debut last season for the Padres, going 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts. He came into camp last month as one of several candidates trying to win a rotation spot.

Kelly began last season with Triple-A Tucson, then missed five months with a right elbow strain. He eventually got healthy and reached the Major Leagues in August.

Kelly won his big league debut against the Braves the day he was recalled, tossing six shutout innings. A former shortstop who was converted to a pitcher while in the Red Sox organization, Kelly even got a hit that night, all while his father, Pat, a manager in the Reds' farm system, watched from the Petco Park stands.

"I'm not sure there's anything that could trump that moment," Kelly said last month.

Kelly was considered the major piece the Padres acquired in the December 2011 deal that sent All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox.

The young righty was limited to 66 2/3 innings last season between the Minors and Majors. Only once since he was converted to a pitcher before the 2009 season has Kelly eclipsed the 100-innings mark -- 2011, when he threw 142 1/3.

Kelly said last month that he was ready to tackle a bigger workload in 2013.

But now, it appears Kelly's season might be done even before it started.

"We think a lot of Casey and he was definitely in the mix for the rotation," Black said. "It's a blow."