Friedrich making case to stick with Padres

Lefty cruises over 7 innings as offense thumps D-backs

Friedrich making case to stick with Padres

PHOENIX -- Following a shaky start last Friday night, there were no guarantees left-hander Christian Friedrich would keep his place in the Padres' starting rotation. Andrew Cashner was set to come off the disabled list, and after being removed in the fourth inning, Friedrich appeared to be the odd man out.

Instead, San Diego optioned 25-year-old right-hander Colin Rea to Triple-A -- in an effort to limit his innings. That decision meant Friedrich would get another chance to prove himself. He made the most of it.

Friedrich tossed seven scoreless innings in a 10-3 victory over the D-backs on Friday night at Chase Field. In doing so, he picked up his first win since 2012, then a member of the Rockies.

"I think he showed why we believe in him," said Padres manager Andy Green. "There's a reason we kept him here, chose to begin the process of giving Colin Rea a little rest. I think he justified that today from a pitching performance. He's a guy we want in the organization, a guy we believe in, a guy we were very pleased with today."

Friedrich's first two starts with the club were a mixed bag. He was sharp but inefficient in his debut in Milwaukee, allowing one run over six frames. Then, he was removed during the fourth inning after allowing two runs on six hits and three walks to the Dodgers.

"The past two, I wouldn't say are like how I've pitched in my career, whether it's Majors or Minors," Friedrich said. "I feel like I'm more of a command guy, with walks that are timely trying to pitch around certain things. It was nice to feel back to normal -- less walks and pitching hitters how I want to pitch them."

Friedrich ran into trouble twice -- and once was the result of a two-base error by Melvin Upton Jr. in left field. He escaped that threat in the second, and he got creative to escape another jam in the fourth.

After the first two hitters reached base, Friedrich induced a pair of ground balls and found himself with a couple of runners in scoring position and two outs. Chris Owings smacked a one-hopper up the middle, which knocked Friedrich's glove clean off his right hand. No matter; he calmly picked up the ball, which had bounced toward first, and flipped it for the out.

Friedrich loses his glove

Friedrich cruised after that, leaving no doubts once the offense put up consecutive four-run frames in the fifth and the sixth.

"Once we got the lead, fill up the zone early instead of playing with the corners," Friedrich said. "If they hit it, they hit it. Especially after [the offense] put up the two bigger innings, I was just trying to make sure we fill up the zone."

It was an eventful offseason for the left-hander, who was designated for assignment by the Rockies before being claimed by the Angels. He was later released, before signing with the Padres at the beginning of March.

With San Diego, Friedrich wasn't quite sure what kind of chance he'd get. But injuries to a couple of starters thrust him into the big league spotlight, and the results have been encouraging.

"I know there's a lot of moving parts and pieces and plenty of good pitching to select from," Friedrich said. "I'm just grateful for another opportunity."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.