Thompson and Sweeney figure prominently into the plans for Triple-A Portland this season and it is conceivable that Sweeney is being looked at as a spot starter on the Major League club, if needed.
Sweeney has done nothing but perform since he came to the club. Sweeney saw action in seven games with the Padres in 2004 and might have seen more action this past season if he had re-upped with the club then.
Thompson stepped up his game over the last two years and has become the pitcher that the Padres had hoped he would. In his first taste of Triple-A, Thompson went 4-2 with a 3.15 ERA. He went six-plus innings in each start there and allowed more than three runs just once.
"It was the offseason program," Thompson explained. "Lifting continuously and staying strong, throwing more than 120 innings in a season. I also worked out a lot with "Bus" Campbell, and old ex-Padre Darrell Milne. Clicking with Mike Harkey and understanding the mental aspect of pitch selection and becoming more mechanically sound, that's what has really been a big difference for me."
Two other priorities were named by Mike Wickham, the assistant director of scouting who has a more prominent role in player development.
"Thompson, Trzesniak and Sweeney were priorities," he said, noting that two were signed. "And Jason Kershner as well."
Where do they stand with Nick Trzesniak?
"Trzesniak wanted to test the market," Wickham explained. "After six years, he has earned that right. All things being equal, they (Trzesniak and his agent) like San Diego. Hopefully in a week or two after looking around we will know more."
In other news, centerfielder Drew Macias is on a weight-gaining program at the request of the Padres. They would like to see him add 20 pounds to his reported playing weight of 175.
At 6-foot-3, he should be able to comfortably carry the extra baggage. The hope is he does not lose his athleticism and gains an extra measure of power.
One player who goes largely unnoticed but is getting plenty of attention in the Padres' camp is Luke Carlin. They were extremely pleased with the work he did as a backup catcher in Mobile.
He won't get into the starting rotation with George Kottaras and Trzesniak in town, but will get plenty of reps.
One former pitcher, Travis Chick, was extremely impressed with Carlin and his ability to take command behind the plate.