Padres make cuts, but decisions remain

Padres closer to final roster makeup

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Another round of cuts on Tuesday brought the Padres closer to the 25-man roster that they will open the season with on March 31.

But, alas, there are still unresolved issues.

The Padres optioned infielders Oscar Robles, Craig Stansberry and Brian Myrow to their Triple-A affiliate in Portland, while assigning outfielder Chip Ambres and pitchers Adam Bass and Shawn Estes to their Minor League camp.

The Padres haven't decided on center fielder Jim Edmonds' status, though manager Bud Black did change his outlook for the veteran being ready for Opening Day from "questionable" on Monday to "questionable to doubtful" on Tuesday.

"I guess you would say I'm a little more pessimistic," Black said.

Edmonds hasn't appeared in a game since March 6 when he strained his right calf. There are no immediate plans for him to play in a game this week in Cactus League play or in a Minor League game, meaning he might be headed to the disabled list.

If Edmonds begins the year on the disabled list, Scott Hairston would then start in center field, with either non-roster invitee Jody Gerut or Paul McAnulty in left field.

McAnulty entered Tuesday's game against the Kansas City Royals hitting .304. He's also out of Minor League options, meaning if he isn't on the 25-man roster the team will risk losing him. He started in left field Tuesday.

With Robles and Stansberry being sent to Portland, it appears that Luis Rodriguez, who is a switch-hitter, has won a spot on the bench. Rodriguez can play second base, third base and shortstop. He was hitting .379 going into Tuesday's game.

"With Oscar hitting left-handed, it looks as though we can be a little left-handed [heavy] especially on the bench," Black said. "I like the versatility. I think he's got sure hands. He's played three [of four] infield positions. He's got a couple years of service time. I like the big league organization he was with [the Minnesota Twins]. I know he's well-prepared fundamentally."

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It appears that Callix Crabbe, who has played second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield this spring while swinging a hot bat (.333 entering Tuesday), will make the Opening Day roster barring any unforeseen changes to the roster in the coming days.

On the pitching side, Estes, who came to camp a candidate to win the fifth-starter spot, will open the season in Portland after going 1-3 with a 12.27 ERA in 11 innings.

"We'd like him to go to Portland and be part of that rotation and continue to get his work to get back into Major League ready form," Black said. "He's pitched roughly 30 innings in two years. He just has to get back into the whole rhythm of being a starting pitcher, get a feel for all of his pitches, getting back into the tempo and flow of a game."

Justin Germano, who started Tuesday, has essentially locked up the fifth-starter spot with several strong starts. An official announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.

There are four pitchers vying for the final three spots in the bullpen: Glendon Rusch, Wil Ledezma, Kevin Cameron and Enrique Gonzalez. Cameron might be the odd man out, as he has only thrown 4 1/3 innings (10.38 ERA) because of first a hamstring injury and then a broken left thumb.

Cameron has Minor League options while Gonzalez (2.31) does not, which could prove to be the determining factor.

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.