Padres make last round of minor league cuts

The San Diego Padres announced the release of 13 players today, moving to get their system ready for the start of minor league play next week. Eight pitchers and five position players were affected by today's move. Corey Smith is among the group at his own request.

Bill Bryk, the Padres' minor league field coordinator, says this is the worst day of the year for him. He is the turk and has to tell each player that they will not be coming back.

"You tell them the truth," Bryk says. "It is not an easy job."

Right-handed pitchers Jason Andrew, Adam Gold, Brandon Kintzler, Javier Martinez, David Mead and Luke Steidlmayer were among the cuts. Martinez, rehabbing from elbow surgery at the end of last year, and Steidlmayer, who, at 26 years old needed to make the Mobile club to stay in the system, both pitched effectively at Lake Elsinore last year. Andrew signed as a minor-league free agent during the offseason and was fighting for a spot at Double-A.

Lefthanders Chris Steinborn and Jason McMillan were both released as well. Steinborn was originally drafted by the Tigers in 2002 and signed with the Padres as a free agent during the 2005 season. McMillan was signed out of a tryout camp this spring.

Third baseman Corey Smith requested his release when he learned that Justin Leone would be on the Portland roster. Smith, a first-round pick of the Indians the Padres traded for at the end of last spring training, was disappointed to learn he wouldn't have the starting job outright and is looking to join another organization where he can get more playing time.

Other position players who didn't make it out of spring training are first basemen Christopher Walston and Ray Gill, catcher Seth McCauley and outfielder Josh Thomas-Dotson. Thomas-Dotson hadn't played organized baseball while he was a linebacker for the University of Oregon, but the Padres took a chance on him with a 48th-round pick last year. He was unable to put his considerable physical skills to work effectively on the field.

Bryk said he had a good conversation with Martinez and told the right-hander, "We will see what you do when you are healthy again. You were one of the top prospects here several years ago." The Padres would be open to signing him again if he proved healthy and showed the same life on his ball as he did prior to the surgery.

Denis Savage contributed to this report.

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