Questions about rotation, 'pen linger for Padres

Green emphasizes competition for two starting spots, 'volatile' relief corps

Questions about rotation, 'pen linger for Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- If there has been a buzzword for the first week of so of the Padres' big league camp, it's this: competition.

That's the environment first-year manager Andy Green wants to cultivate now and in the future.

"Nothing is promised here. It's 'show up and get better,' and in camp we'll evaluate who we think our best 25 are and what's best for our organization," Green said. "We have a culture here where no one is perfect and everyone is expected to get better."

There are certainly big questions and a lot of competition for Green and general manager A.J. Preller to watch this spring, as two key questions need to be answered: Who will win jobs at the back end of the rotation (spots Nos. 4 and 5) and who will comprise the new-look bullpen?

Padres' Spring Training information

So which particular area -- the rotation or the 'pen -- intrigues Preller the most?

"I think both, honestly," Preller said Monday. "The back end of the rotation, we've got some good candidates and have seen some growth with some of the players last season. In the bullpen, every year, you never really have a set bullpen even if you think you do. That's how volatile it is every year.

"But I look forward to it. We've got some talented guys."

Padres pitchers and catchers

The Padres, who have generally hung their hat on strong pitching, didn't do that nearly as well in 2015, which is partly why they lost 88 games. They finished 10th out of 15 teams in the National League in team ERA (4.09).

This is partly why the organization has brought in so many newcomers to camp. In fact, 17 of the 32 pitchers in camp are new to the organization.

What we know about the rotation is this: Tyson Ross will start Opening Day, then James Shields and Andrew Cashner.

The team has opted to give Brandon Maurer, who shined as a reliever last season, the chance to move back into the rotation. He was previously a starter in Seattle, and San Diego is optimistic he'll be a good fit there.

Colin Rea showed promise in his six Major League starts last year. Lefty Robbie Erlin will also be in the mix, as will right-handed newcomer Carlos Villanueva and left-hander Drew Pomeranz, as the two will be stretched out in camp and could start or pitch in relief.

Brandon Morrow, who had five strong starts early last season before being felled by a right shoulder injury, is back, though on a Minor League deal.

The bullpen, while it appears muddled, especially with three Rule 5 Draft additions, will be a work in progress and might not be something the team settles on until the time comes to break camp in late March. Veterans Fernando Rodney and Casey Janssen are in camp, and they could win jobs at the back end of the 'pen.

Green talks Fernando Rodney

"We told everybody, come in with the expectation to be coached," Green said. "We're all going to get better here -- myself, our coaches, our players.

"Sometimes, when you get to this level, there's an expectation these guys know everything and they're already finished products. I don't believe that. And I think we're creating a culture where nobody believes that around here."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.