PEORIA, Ariz. -- Second-year hitting coach Phil Plantier has been impressed by what he has seen from his hitters thus far -- not just the tangible results that occur in games, but the work they have done in the batting cage and on the practice fields.
"They're getting their timing, trying to slow the game down the best they can and get a pitch to hit," Plantier said. "The important thing is, guys just need at-bats right now. The work will make it into the game. I'm very happy with how that's going."
Plantier and assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell have spent most of their mornings in the covered hitting area near the practice field. A lot of position players are in camp, though the franchise-record 38 Cactus League games will give the Padres more chances to look at more players.
And in Plantier's case, more time to look at swings.
"When the game starts, don't think about your swing," Plantier said of what he preaches to hitters. "Go use what you have that day, trust your routines in the cage and get a good pitch in the games."
Plantier was asked about some of the young hitters in camp who have made a good impression on him thus far. He mentioned infielder Jedd Gyorko, outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks and Minor League infielder Jonathan Galvez.
"Jedd's handling himself right now, especially since he's in competition for a position," Plantier said. "Kyle seems like he's bounced back off his injury. He looks healthy. If Kyle is healthy, he's a threat. It's been nice to see him have some good at-bats so far."
Gyorko entered Saturday's game against the Indians hitting .278 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his first 18 at-bats. Blanks is hitting .467 with a team-best seven hits -- including three doubles -- in 15 at-bats.
Black taking time assigning role to Stauffer
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Starter or reliever? Padres manager Bud Black said Saturday that there was no need right now to designate pitcher Tim Stauffer as one or the other.
"I view him as a pitcher that is trying to establish that he's healthy, to himself and to us," Black said. "That's the main thing, for him to feel that he's healthy and to feel good about his stuff and to make pitches that get Major League hitters out.
"It's too early to say where he's going to fit as we move through the spring and into early April."
Stauffer, coming off August surgery to repair the flexor bundle in his right elbow, tossed one scoreless inning Thursday and is scheduled to throw one inning Sunday against the White Sox.
Stauffer is in camp on a Minor League contract and is working to build his endurance. The Padres will gradually increase his workload but are intent on bringing him along slowly.
"I think there's a starting pitcher in there," Black said. "I think Stauffer thinks so, too. But we can't forget the great success he had from the bullpen in 2010, coming back from his shoulder [injury]. Right now, I don't want to put an expectation on Stauffer one way or the other."
Stauffer had a 3.94 ERA over parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues. He posted a 1.85 ERA over 32 games (including seven starts) in 2010 and was then the Padres' Opening Day starter in 2011. He went 9-12 with a 3.73 ERA in 31 starts that season.
"The important thing he wants is for us not to worry about the elbow and to treat him like a normal, healthy pitcher," Black said.
• In his final start with the Padres before joining the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic, Edinson Volquez allowed six runs on eight hits over two innings. He walked one and struck out two. His pitching line wasn't nearly as bad as it appeared. Left fielder Jesus Guzman could not track a fly ball that fell for a triple, paving the way for a six-run first inning. There is a good chance Volquez will start against Venezuela in the first game of Pool C on Thursday in Puerto Rico.
• Pitcher Andrew Cashner -- who lacerated a tendon in his right thumb in December -- is scheduled to throw his third bullpen session either Sunday or Monday. Cashner's last bullpen session Friday was good, according to Black. Cashner has no pain in the thumb, and Black indicated that Cashner could jump into Cactus League action in the near future.
• Minor League outfielder Corey Adamson had a bunt single in his only at-bat Friday in the World Baseball Classic for Australia, which lost to Chinese Taipei, 4-1. Adamson hit .321 in 35 games for Perth of the Australian Baseball League. He will report for Spring Training when Australia is done playing in the Classic.
• Fox Sports San Diego will televise the first of its 10 Spring Training games Sunday when the Padres face the White Sox at 12:05 p.m. PT. FSSD will broadcast games March 3-5, 11-13, 22, 24 and then two games against the Rangers in San Antonio on March 29-30.
• Minor League pitchers and catchers reported to camp Friday and took physicals Saturday in advance of Sunday's first workout. Position players will report March 8 with their first workout set for March 10.