DENVER -- The saying goes, "the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry." Apparently, the same can hold true for a Major League front office staff and its meticulous plans.
"You spend all winter building depth and we went into Spring Training thinking that our depth beyond our Major League team was really good," said Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch said. "As it turned out, we tested that theory quite a bit this year."
Torpedoed by a slew of injuries and forced to use a club-record 15 different pitchers this season, these Padres have stayed afloat thanks in large part to the contributions of starting pitchers who weren't on their radar at the beginning (or end) of Spring Training.
All told, the Padres have received 22 quality starts this season from pitchers who weren't even with the organization in February -- Jason Marquis (eight quality starts), Eric Stults (five), Ross Ohlendorf (four), Kip Wells (three) and Andrew Werner (two).
Werner is the lone member of the group who was actually in the organization during Spring Training, yet he reported with the Minor League players in March. He never pitched in a Cactus League game and his manager, Bud Black, never saw him pitch once.
"Our scouts, our player development people, the people who touched these careers, played a pivotal role in stabilizing things and having options for Buddy [Black] to use up here in the big leagues," Hinch said.
Hinch credited the Padres player development staff, especially vice president of player development and international scouting Randy Smith, as well as the organization's professional scouts, for finding guys like Marquis, Stults and the others.
Hinch, who oversees the Padres' professional scouts, was instrumental in adding to the staff. In fact, he added eight new hires shortly after joining the Padres in the fall of 2010. Professional scouts include Jeff Pickler, Chris Young, Kevin Jarvis, Scott Bream, Chris Bourjos, Mike Venafro, Jim Elliott, John Vander Wal, Jeffrey Hammonds, Joe Bochy, Mark Merila, Ray Crone and Al Hargesheimer.
"It's an accumulative effort, it takes a lot of effort and time, whether it's your player development staff working on Tom Layne's cutter or your scouting staff whose in Charlotte or Chicago looking at Eric Stults ... you never know when those adjustments will be needed or when those opinions will be needed," Hinch said.
With Cashner's return, six-man rotation likely
DENVER -- Don't be surprised if the Padres utilize a six-man starting rotation for the rest of the regular season.
"There's a chance you could see it," said Padres manager Bud Black.
The Padres got pitcher Andrew Cashner back from the disabled list on Saturday. Black said Cashner will make a start in the next week.
Also, the Padres have four off-days in September, the first occurring on Sept. 6. That will give the team a chance to continue to look at several starting pitchers while also allowing pitchers Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez -- who have made every one of their starts this season -- an extra day of rest.
"Not that they need it ... they've been durable and have held their stuff, but it's always nice to give a starting pitching an extra day of rest."
Another starting pitcher, Anthony Bass, will join the team in Los Angeles on Monday. Bass made his last Minor League rehabilitation start with Triple-A Tucson on Monday. There's a chance he could make a start before the end of the season, though at the very least he'll log some innings.
"I think it's important to get Cashner and Bass back," Black said.
Other members of the rotation who will get starts this month include Eric Stults, Sunday's starter Casey Kelly and Andrew Werner.
All-Star closer Huston Street will meet the team in Los Angeles on Monday where the Padres will begin a three-game series against the Dodgers. San Diego manager Bud Black said he would have a better idea what the next move is for Street, who has been on the disabled list since August 11 with a strained left calf, following Monday's game. Street was to pitch in a Minor League game on Friday but was scratched after he experienced some soreness in the calf after running last week. The Padres could reinstate him from the disabled list or he could continue his rehabilitation.
The Padres are hoping that third baseman Chase Headley is named the National League Player of the Month for August on Monday. Headley hit .305 with 10 home runs, 20 runs and 31 RBIs. He became just the second player in franchise history to lead the Major Leagues in home runs and RBIs in any month. Ken Caminiti did so in August of 1996.