Hand excited for fresh start with Padres

Southpaw could see time in a variety of roles

Hand excited for fresh start with Padres

DENVER -- Brad Hand had already packed his house in West Palm Beach, Fla., and was out to lunch with his wife and 4-month-old daughter, when he got the phone call telling him he'd been claimed off waivers by the Padres.

Finally, Hand was out of baseball limbo.

Hand, a lefty reliever who had spent nearly eight years in the Marlins organization, was placed on waivers by Miami after Spring Training. The Padres claimed him on Friday, and he joined the team in Colorado on Saturday, pitching a scoreless eighth inning in a 16-3 victory.

"[I'm] just excited for a fresh start, to get over here," Hand said. "I've spent my whole time with the Marlins. I got drafted by them in 2008 and been with them ever since. It's a little new for me, going to a new team, new organization. But I'm excited for the opportunity here and grateful they wanted me."

Hand made 38 appearances last season (12 starts) and posted a 5.30 ERA. Still, he had solid splits against left-handed hitters:

LHH vs. Hand in 2015: .206/.248/.265
RHH vs. Hand in 2015: .326/.391/.496

The Padres aren't yet certain what role Hand will play in their bullpen, but manager Andy Green said he expects Hand to do a bit of everything.

"He's pitched in long relief, he's pitched specialized at times," said Green. "He's about eight days since his last outing, we'd like to get him [on] the mound as quickly as possible here."

Hand, a Minnesota native who was selected in the second round of the 2008 Draft, hasn't thrown in a game since March 29. But he had been playing catch in Florida.

Hand primarily uses a mix of a four-seam fastball and a sinker -- which sit around 92-93 mph. He's also spent most of his career throwing a curveball but developed a slider last season -- which he is leaning toward using as his primary breaking pitch going forward. Hand feels he has better command of the slider, which makes it more effective as a relief weapon.

"All I did was start in the Minor Leagues, and then I didn't work in the bullpen until I was in the big leagues," Hand said. "It's for sure what I'm more comfortable with -- starting. The bullpen thing has kind of been new to me. But last year, toward the end of the year, I felt really comfortable in that role."

Worth noting

• Green watched Friday night's Dodgers-Giants game, during which Dodgers rookie Ross Stripling was removed in the eighth inning of a no-hitter. He called the decision made by Dave Roberts, "the right call."

"It's very, very hard to say that because you only get so many shots at moments that transcend the game," Green said. "A guy that's coming up in his first start in the big leagues -- that's one of those moments that transcends the game, and you want to give guys every opportunity to experience those moments.

"But he did come off Tommy John surgery, he barely pitched last year compared to what he'd been in the past. So I think [Roberts] had [Stripling's] best interests at heart."

• Green said there's a "distinct possibility" backup catcher Christian Bethancourt gets his first start of the season in Sunday's series finale.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.