While you were away …

Greetings from a slightly-soggy Peoria, where it rains about as often as it does in San Diego.

After missing the rain Saturday and getting the first full-squad workout in, the Padres weren’t quite so lucky on Sunday.

The hitters were able to get their cuts in the covered cages but the Padres — on what was to be a light day to begin with — had their workout cut short because of the rain.

On Monday, position players will take aim at the pitchers on the practice fields here, giving them their first live look at the pitchers who have been here for a week.

To this point, just about everyone has thrown a bullpen three times. Closer Heath Bell hasn’t, as the team is being very cautious because of the strained left calf he suffered on Monday. By the way, Bell is fine and will likely be cleared for full workouts in the early part of the week.

I had a chance to talk to Casey Kelly today. I’ve watched him throw twice in the bullpen and each time have come away thinking that his mechanics look really smooth and his throwing motion looks pretty much effortless for a guy not far removed from his days as a shortstop.

Here’s the link to the story and video I shot on Kelly today.

Veteran catcher Gregg Zaun, who I talked to for a story earlier this week, is fun to listen to each morning. You can tell this guy enjoys playing and talking baseball. I’ve observed him on at least three occasions working with Nick Hundley in the bullpen. Anyway, Zaun provided the line of the spring so far today when, as he was talking about the beating his body takes in a season due to blocked balls, foul tips, he said this:

“By mid-May, you feel like tenderized meat,” Zaun said.

Good stuff.

Chase Headley is here in camp looking stronger. He’s weighing 222 pounds, up from the 212 he weighed a year ago at this time. He said his playing weight got down to 201-202 pounds a year ago when he wore out toward the end of the season. We talked mostly of his struggled hitting right-handed last season. He thinks that he’ll be better from that side in 2011.

I had the chance to talk to former Padres general manager Kevin Towers this week. I wanted to ask him about Tim Stauffer for a story that ran the other day. Towers, of course, was the GM when the Padres drafted Stauffer in 2003. Towers was very impressed with Stauffer last season. Apparently, he wasn’t the only one.

“I was talking to [Giants manager Bruce] Bochy, and he said the guy we didn’t want to face the
most on that staff was Stauff. This guy has become a bona fide pitcher in the National
League,” — Towers said.

Left-handed reliever Randy Flores is here in camp on a Minor League deal and will be given a chance to win a spot in the seven-man bullpen, which would presumably give the Padres two left-handed relievers (the other being Joe Thatcher). Bud Black, in his first five seasons with the team, has shown that he won’t carry a left-handed pitcher just for the sake of it. If Flores is one of the best seven relievers around at the end of camp, he’ll make the team. If not, then he will provide depth at Triple-A Tucson.

Anyway, that should bring you up to speed. Remember, for all your Padres news, head to Padres.com and don’t forget you can follow along at Facebook and on Twitter.

— Corey

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