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The biggest news of this offseason is the return of a pitcher in the Padres' system after a year where he did not pick up a ball. Australia offers an unlikely place for Padres news. A new addition to the system has friends that helped him sign. And one player did something no other pitcher has ever done for the Padres.

One of the best young arms in the San Diego Padres' system is on his way back. Out all of last year due to injury, Javier Martinez is back pitching in the Mexican Pacific League with Los Mochis.

Injuries have derailed a promising career for Javier Martinez but he is back in action and the Padres expect him to be ready for the start of the year. With Los Mochis, Martinez is 3-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 18 games. In 26 innings of work, Martinez has struck out 18 and walked 14 while allowing 29 hits and 15 earned runs.

Tye Waller, the Padres' Director of Player Development said Martinez would begin the year in either Lake Elsinore or Mobile, with Waller's preference being the California League.

"He has a gameplan to go by for winter ball," Waller said. "Only relief and he needed a day off between each outing. Couldn't throw more than three innings."

News out of Australia is filtering in and the Padres have a vested interest. The Friars signed two Aussies this past season, on the first day each was eligible. Pitcher John Hussey and shortstop Murray Hopley were the two players nabbed and both will be stateside soon.

It was unclear whether Hussey was pitching in Australia but he will be in Peoria come March. Hopley, on the other hand, was hitting well in Australia, according to Waller.

"Randy Smith (director of professional and international scouting) was down there and said he has been doing a good job," Waller said.

"I am in Victoria (southern Australia) competing in the Under 18 National Championships," Hopley said via email. "Yes, Randy Smith has been out here this past week and has seen me play."

A recent signee, Brandon Emanuel, is a former quarterback that played in the Angels farm system. He has a rocket arm and possesses a fastball that touches the low-to-mid nineties.

Emanuel got a good scouting report from former Portland Beavers Triple-A pitching coach Mike Couchee. It turns out Couchee knew him from the past and had nothing but good things to say about the right-hander.

"I think the upside was there," Waller said of the signing. "He will help out to Triple-A level and hopefully us in the future."

Travis Chick became the first pitcher to ever win the MVP of Instructional League this fall, a fact that slipped by many members in the Padres' organization.

What hasn't slipped past them, other than his fastball, is the way Chick has assimilated himself into the system. As long as he stays healthy, many within the organization believe he will be a player that makes a difference down the road with the Major League club.

"The guy had a phenomenal year," Waller said. "I have been very impressed with his makeup and ability to compete. His drive and composure."

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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