Struggles forced Roach to make adjustments

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It might sound weird, but Padres pitching prospect Donn Roach is actually thankful for the struggles he went through last April and May with Double-A San Antonio.

"I think I needed it," Roach said.

Coming off a blissful run in 2012, when he was a combined 11-2 with a 1.88 ERA, Roach was hit hard during April (4.01 ERA) and May (5.10) in the Texas League.

"That was really my first time struggling at higher levels," Roach said. "I think that it kind of opened my eyes as to how to make adjustments when I'm struggling. It was a good experience to go through that."

Roach, a 24-year-old right-hander with a plus-sinker, is back in big league camp with the Padres, trying to hone not only his sinker but get to the point where he can rely on his other pitches at any time.

"I don't think I've used them enough in my career in general. I haven't skated by, but I think I've gotten in trouble throwing my sinker all the time," Roach said. "It's not that I can't throw them ... but there hasn't been enough repetition with them."

Roach had a 3.72 ERA in June and then went 1.95 in five July starts and 2.90 in his final six starts of the regular season.

"After the All-Star break, I got back into a groove and found my sinker again and my other pitches," he said.

Roach will likely begin the season with Triple-A El Paso and will do so feeling better about where he's at in his career -- mostly for going through a trying time a year ago.

"They were some of the worst games I've had in a while," Roach said. "But it was a learning experience trying to get through those failures."

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.