Padres sticking with basics in Cactus opener

Just days after first full-squad workout, team will ease into things

Padres sticking with basics in Cactus opener

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Are you ready for some baseball? Of course you are.

But are the Padres ready for some baseball? That's a better question.

The Cactus League opener against Seattle is slated for 12:10 p.m. PT on Saturday, and San Diego didn't hold its first regularly scheduled full-squad workout until Tuesday.

Spring Training: Information | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

The Padres spent plenty of time in the covered bullpen and batting cages last weekend, but rain kept them off the main practice fields until a shortened Monday afternoon session.

"It might be the shortest lead-up ever [to the start of games], when you factor in the two rain days," said Padres skipper Andy Green. "You're effectively looking at four days of full-squad camp before your first game. I've never seen anything like that before. Health is going to be important, making sure they're good to handle the 5-6 innings we ask them to. We do have a lot of youth here, so with the youth, you figure you can kind of push them a little bit harder."

How will the quirky schedule affect Saturday's game?

"We'll be very basic tomorrow, partly because of the amount of time we've had on a baseball field," said Green. "We won't shift much in the first week of games; we'll introduce that through camp. I'd rather do it right and slowly than have everything in place on Day One if it's rushed and incorrect.

Right-hander Paul Clemens gets the ball first for the Padres. Cesar Vargas and Keith Hessler are among those slated to pitch as well.

Clemens and Vargas are two of approximately 11 rotation candidates in Padres camp this spring. Hessler, meanwhile, is battling for a bullpen role.

Green on competition, rotation

But don't expect lasting impressions to be made Saturday.

"Staying healthy is the most important thing, making sure everything feels good," Hessler said. "It's really about putting what we've worked on in Spring Training to the test in a game situation."

For Clemens, that means throwing his curveball for strikes. He posted a 3.67 ERA in 16 appearances for the Padres last year, including a strong September that kept him in the 2017 rotation discussion.

"It'll be good to get the team out on the field and have some fun together," Clemens said. "We've been facing each other a lot. Let's go have some fun against somebody else."

News and notes

Zach Lee will get the ball Sunday for Game 2 of the Cactus League slate. The Padres claimed Lee off waivers from the Mariners during the offseason -- and, fittingly, he'll face the Mariners. Then Tyrell Jenkins gets the ball against the Angels on Monday.

Clayton Richard played catch from 150 feet Friday after missing one day because of a bruised finger on his left hand. Green said Richard would likely throw his bullpen session -- originally slated for Thursday -- on Saturday.

• Left fielder Alex Dickerson (stiff back) and catcher Hector Sanchez (bruised left foot) missed Friday's workout. Neither injury is expected to linger long-term. Meanwhile, Andre Rienzo threw his first bullpen since returning from a left hamstring tweak.

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