SEA@SD: Ross fans six in strong outing vs. Mariners

SAN ANTONIO -- The worst-kept secret of Padres camp became official on Friday when Padres manager Bud Black named Tyson Ross as the fifth starter in the rotation.

Ross, who was acquired from the A's in November for two players, will start on April 6 when the team visits the Rockies at Coors Field.

"I'm really excited about it," Ross said Saturday. "It's going to be a great opportunity for me to get the ball every five days. I think I've made some strides in Spring Training, and now I look forward to that continuing into the season."

Few pitchers in camp made as many strides from February to now as Ross did. Working closely with his new pitching coach, Darren Balsley, Ross made subtle mechanical changes along the way, working on tempo and pitch selection. He learned how to use the run in his four-seam fastball to his advantage.

"I understand the movement I have better now and now I'm just trusting it, throwing it over the plate and challenging hitters," said Ross, who had a scoreless inning streak of 15 1/3 innings at one point.

"I think I've had confidence before, but everything I've gone through the last couple of years, but I feel now I'm at the height on everything. I feel like I have grown from my experience and I feel I'm in a solid place."

Balsley has noticed the difference.

"I think it's been more mental than physical. I think he realizes he doesn't need to overthrow to make a quality Major League pitch," Balsley said. "He's realizing his talent level and he believes in it."

Gyorko, Ross handed new uniforms, numbers

Gyorko feels confident in his skills

SAN ANTONIO -- One of the perks of making the Major League roster is trading in that high-numbered Spring Training jersey for something that isn't more akin to an offensive lineman.

For the Padres, two of their newcomers -- infielder Jedd Gyorko and pitcher Tyson Ross -- wore their old Spring Training uniforms on Saturday for the very last time. For Gyorko it was No. 68 and for Ross it was No. 66.

Gyorko, who will start at second base on Opening Day on Monday against the Mets, was given No. 9 to wear. Ross, the Padres' fifth starter, will wear No. 38. Finally, infielder Cody Ransom has opted to keep No. 1, the number he wore all spring.

Gyorko said there was no specific request on his part for No. 9.

"They just gave it to me," he said.

There has been some number shuffling since the end of last season, as Saturday's pitcher Jason Marquis is now wearing No. 21. That number belonged to backup catcher John Baker last season. Baker now has No. 8.

Quentin's focus shifts away from injured knee

Padres play three innings before rainout

SAN ANTONIO -- Just 10 days ago, Opening Day was still in question for Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, who had a setback with his surgically repaired right knee earlier this month.

Since then, though, Quentin has made significant progress, and his knee is no longer as balky as it was in Arizona. On Friday, he played in this third game in as many days.

Now, Quentin said, he can think about something other than his knee.

"Now I can focus on baseball and not the knee. That shift needed to happen, and it has," Quentin said on Saturday.

Quentin had surgery on his right knee a year ago this month and didn't appear in a game with the team until late May. He then had minor surgery on the same knee in October.

Quentin appeared in a Spring Training game on March 8 and had two plate appearances but the game was called because of rain. Three days later, he aggravated his knee.

He worked his way back, though, playing in a handful of Minor League games before appearing in his first exhibition game on March 26.

"He's encouraged by it, the training staff is encouraged by it," said Padres manager Bud Black. "As long as Carlos feels good about where he is physically, that's a good thing."

Quentin was hitless in three at-bats on Friday against the Rangers and wasn't in the lineup on Saturday. His next at-bat will come in Monday's opener against the Mets at Citi Field.

"All the focus to this point has been on the knee, now I can just focus on getting on the field and playing again," he said.