Padres MLN: Final cuts; Notes from extended

The San Diego Padres released two more players to end spring training while placing a number of players on the disabled list to begin the year, including one pitcher who will miss all of 2008. The Friars are also trying two players at new positions in extended spring training.

Infielder Gabe Lopez, who played for Double-A Trenton in the New York Yankees system last year, was released on the final day of spring training. The second baseman was being looked at as a utility player but several in-house candidates outplayed him.

The final cut was outfielder Mike Sansoe. The California native split last season between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Portland. A solid defensive outfielder, he did not have much power and his speed lacked game-changing ability.

"It was too bad, he was a good defensive player," Padres minor league field coordinator Tom Gamboa said. "We just didn't have room."

In extended spring, Brian Lauderdale and Ray Stokes will be adding outfield to their resumes. They will take fly balls out in Peoria, Arizona while also competing at their regular spots in the infield. By adding versatility to their games, they could prove to be valuable additions to a full-season league when the inevitable injury occurs.

Several other players will begin the year on the disabled list. Infielder Jon Schemmel is on the disabled list and had been ticketed for San Antonio. Left-hander Mike Johnston is also on the DL and may join Portland when he is healthy. Southpaw Will Startup experienced some elbow soreness midway through camp and has been on the shelf since. The lefty will end up in Portland when he is healed.

Outfielder Tony Gonzalez figures to be a player that sees time in Fort Wayne sometime this year. He is the only healthy outfielder in extended spring training right now and made a push to join the Wizards in camp, falling just shy with several drafted players getting the nod. Outfielder Ryan Hill is in extended but has a sprained right wrist that has limited his activities.

The Padres are trying to loan right-hander Jose Oyervidez to Mexico but have not received a response just yet. They have working relationships with two squads in the Mexican Pacific League and would retain Oyervidez' rights if he is placed south of the border. If they are unable to place him, the Padres may be forced to release the talented righty.

Pablo Menchaca came into camp with a ride to Fort Wayne seen as a given, but the Padres make each player earn that right. Unfortunately, Menchaca did not pitch well this spring and failed to live up to the hype.

"He hasn't pitched his way there," Gamboa conceded. "Disappointing spring. He hasn't pitched up to his potential."

He has worked well with pitching coach Dave Rajsich in the past and the hope is he can iron out some mechanical problems and begin making the climb up the ladder.

Right-hander Aaron Breit is on schedule to return to action sometime in late May or early June. He had a transposition on his throwing elbow and is on a throwing program in Peoria. He has not reported any setbacks and is throwing at 100-feet.

Right-hander John Hussey will miss the 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. An MRI revealed the Australian had a partial tear of his UCL. He had surgery in late March.

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