San Diego Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner is recovering from surgery that he had in December to repair a lacerated tendon in his pitching hand. However, the right-hander says he will be ready to go Opening Day. The Padres must now decide how they will utilize him this season.
Cashner has only started six games out of the 93 he has appeared in his MLB career, but that does not seem like it will prevent San Diego from giving him a shot this season.
“With Cash, if you’re to break him down as a pitcher and project future potential, you can see a starter in the type of pitcher he is,” manager Bud Black said. “Let’s explore the starting.”
The 26-year-old was acquired by the team from the Chicago Cubs at the beginning of last year for the sole purpose of making him a starter. Unfortunately, the Padres needed someone reliable as the setup man in the bullpen, which just so happened to be Cashner. He pitched well in the 27 innings he appeared in, going 3-3 with a 3.67 earned run average, but San Diego soon realized they wanted to test him out in the rotation.
To do this, the organization sent him down to the minors to build up his arm strength so he could last several innings per start. He returned to the big leagues on May 9, where he made his first start in a Padres uniform against the Milwaukee Brewers. Cashner allowed one earned run and struck out five batters in 2 2/3 innings. In five total starts in 2012, he went 0-1 with a 5.12 ERA.
The Padres are hoping he will be able to throw off of a mound by March 1 so that he can get into baseball shape as quickly as possible in order to not be far behind the other potential starters.
It is a wise move by Black and the rest of the coaching staff to give Cashner a shot to be a starter, considering that is why the team went after him in the first place–not to mention that he has great stuff and plenty of upside to be a quality member of the rotation.