Stauffer among Padres sent to Minors

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pitcher Tim Stauffer, the Padres' Opening Day pitcher in 2011, will begin the season with Triple-A Tucson.

Stauffer, nearly seven months removed from surgery to repair the flexor bundle in his right elbow, was told that he would be stretched out to be a part of the Tucson rotation.

"We'll see how it goes," Stauffer said Wednesday.

Regardless of where he is starting the season, Stauffer said that he was encouraged by the health of his elbow this spring.

"It feels good and feels normal," he said. "Physically, I've been able to bounce back, and stuff-wise, it's there or on the way back. I feel good about that."

Stauffer came to camp last month on a Minor League contract with no assurances. He went 0-3 with an 8.74 ERA in 11 1/3 innings. He had 11 strikeouts and only two walks. In his last appearance, March 25 against the Rangers, he tossed two scoreless innings, throwing 22 strikes out of his 31 pitches.

Stauffer has thrown at least 49 pitches in two outings this spring, so he does not think it will take long to build him up to 90 pitches.

"Stauff has fought a couple of different injuries, and now, hopefully, the elbow situation is resolved," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Now he's just got to pitch."

All told, the Padres trimmed their roster to 34 when they reassigned five players to Minor League camp.

In addition to Stauffer, the team sent right-handed pitcher Sean O'Sullivan, catcher Rene Rivera, outfielder Travis Buck and infielder Gregorio Petit to Minor League camp.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.