Cashner, Ross recall fond Padres memories

Texas pitchers visit with former teammates during Interleague series with San Diego

Cashner, Ross recall fond Padres memories

SAN DIEGO -- The boys were back in town, and the Padres knew it. The traffic behind the batting cage proved it.

Rangers pitchers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross returned to San Diego for the two-game Interleague series Monday and Tuesday, and with it came a reunion. They were once integral parts of the Padres' blueprint toward respectability.

Cashner, a right-hander with a power arm, was the key piece in a 2012 trade with the Cubs for Anthony Rizzo. Ross, another righty with a wipeout sinker, was the Padres' Opening Day starter in '16.

Neither Cashner nor Ross is with the Padres anymore, but their connections remain strong.

"It's great to see all the friends on that side," said Ross, who's recovering from shoulder and back issues. "I miss those guys a lot."

Cashner (0-3, 2.63 ERA) missed facing San Diego by a day, starting on Sunday in Seattle. He was traded to the Marlins by the Padres in July, then he landed as a free agent with the Rangers.

"I thought it was good," Cashner said about his five-year San Diego stint. "I got to do a lot of stuff here in the community, a lot of stuff with [Rady] Children's Hospital."

Two Padres coaches are still meaningful to Cashner. Pitching coach Darren Balsley remains with the club, while former manager Bud Black is now the Rockies' skipper.

"I still look at Darren Balsley as a dad," Cashner said. "And when Bud Black was here, he was a friend."

Padres manager Andy Green had Ross and Cashner under his wing. He smiles when their names are mentioned.

"They're both great guys," Green said.

Ross' final year with the Padres was baffling, despite his popularity. After Ross made his first start, he was sidelined with a sore shoulder. It was the final game Ross pitched for San Diego, as he ultimately had to undergo thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. He then signed as a free agent with Texas, and he is working his way back into shape.

"I'm hopeful that guy gets on a mound," Green said. "You talk about wanting to see good people experience good things. It's been a rough last year, year and a half, for a guy that cares a lot about pitching and pitching well."

All is well when the gang is all here, and that was the feeling with Ross and Cashner exchanging salutations with their former teammates.

"It was great here," Ross said. "It definitely was a place where I was able to blossom. I learned a lot from Balsley. I have a lot of great friends and memories. It was a great experience overall, and just a great community.

"San Diego is an unbelievable city, I've always said that. And I was fortunate to be here for a number of years."

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego who covered the Rangers on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.