Notes: Stauffer making good impression

Notes: Stauffer making good impression

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tim Stauffer made one big-league start in 2006, a critical spot start against the division-leading Dodgers, filling in for an injured Chan Ho Park in the midst of a pennant race. Stauffer allowed one earned run in six innings for the win, gaining a game on the Dodgers.

The Padres and Dodgers ended the season tied, but the Padres took the division title based on their superior head-to-head play.

Monday's game against the White Sox didn't have the same implications, but it was Stauffer again, stepping in for an injured Greg Maddux and putting up a trio of goose eggs en route to the Padres' 10-8 victory.

"If you put up zeros, you're doing the job," Stauffer said. "I felt good out there. I felt loose. Not the best command I'd like to have, but I felt I made some pitches when I needed to and didn't give in to any of the guys that could hurt you. I was able to get a couple double plays that helped. Really just let the defense play, that's the name of the game."

Stauffer used a lively slider to effectively get out of jams, twice inducing double-play grounders from Paul Konerko and just as often getting swings and misses with the pitch. Facing a White Sox lineup filled with 25-man roster regulars, there was little room for error, as the 10 runs scored after Stauffer's exit made clear.

"Top to bottom, they have some big sticks," Stauffer said. "Just trying to keep the ball in the yard is the big thing. Try to keep the ball on the ground. I get up for it a little more, knowing what this team has done and what these hitters have done. It lights a little extra fire under you."

Not all of the staff was quite so lucky, with Royce Ring and Scott Cassidy getting burned to the tune of two homers each in the final three innings, falling victim to Juan Uribe, Jim Thome (twice), and Luis Terrero.

"Stauffer threw the ball well," manager Bud Black said. "His stuff looked crisp, some good changeups, good fastball and a good slider."

In two Cactus League games and one "B" game this spring, Stauffer has yet to allow a run, but with the Padres rotation already well stocked, there isn't likely to be room for Stauffer on the Opening Day roster.

"Hopefully we'll see him again somewhere [this spring], just so I'm familiar with his stuff, see how he handles situations," Black said. "If you look at our five starters that we project to be in the rotation and then the guys that we're going to send to Triple-A, it's nice to see guys that have thrown the ball well in Spring Training to give them confidence so when they do come, if indeed they're needed, it'll be a smooth transition for them from Triple-A to the big leagues."

The challenge for Stauffer is to replicate the intensity of his big-league and Cactus League outings when he returns to Portland to pitch at the Triple-A level, finding a way to keep the fire lit under him regardless of the lineup he faces or the crowd he's playing for.

"It's definitely a different mind-set," Stauffer said. "One of the things I need to work on is each time out there trying to get the same mind-set and get the adrenaline going."

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He has already worked hard to prepare for a breakout season, trading the gray winters he was raised in under two feet of snow in upstate New York for the sunshine of San Diego. He credits a new offseason regimen he participated in with other local athletes as the reason for his increased agility, flexibility and arm strength this spring, and he is ready to step in the next time the parent club needs him.

"If something happens, hopefully I'm one of the guys they're thinking of," Stauffer said. With all those goose eggs by his name, he'll be hard to forget.

Medical tent: Marcus Giles will not play in Tucson, as the team had hoped he might. Instead, he'll return to Peoria, Ariz., get treatment on his strained quad and await re-evaluation Wednesday when the team returns home.

"It's just wise to be cautious," Black explained. "He's swinging the bat well, his confidence is high, he's playing great defense. And it's March 12. He doesn't need to get three at-bats tomorrow."

Clay Hensley is expected to make his next start Friday after missing Sunday's start with a bug that has been circulating throughout the Padres camp.

Another round of cuts: The Padres made their second cuts of the spring Monday, trimming their roster down to 49. Right-handed pitcher Jared Wells was optioned to Triple-A Portland and left-handed pitchers Frank Brooks and Adrian Burnside were reassigned to Minor League camp.

"Jared Wells threw well [Sunday]," Black said, relishing the opportunity to see Wells make a spot start in place of an ill Hensley. "Not ever seeing him pitch before, I can see why a couple years ago he was very well thought of as a future Padres Major League pitcher. Last year, he had some struggles, but he's got a good arm. He's got good stuff. It's a matter of putting it all together.

"Brooks and Burnside, being left-handed, which is a need for a lot of clubs, those guys have to gain some consistency over the course of the season," Black added. "String pitches together, string outings and weeks and months together and make it tough on a Major League team not to give them a shot."

On deck: Veteran southpaw David Wells starts the Padres' final game of their three-day tour of Tucson on Tuesday, taking on Colorado lefty Jeff Francis at 1:05 p.m. PT.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.