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Padres rally for win over Cubs

Published: Friday, March 30, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012 5:52 p.m. CDT

PEORIA, Ariz. – Clayton Richard had trouble locating his fastball, and the Cubs made him pay. Chris Volstad made Chicago's rotation, then struggled against San Diego.

It was one rough day to be a starting pitcher.

Jason Bartlett and Jesus Guzman homered to help the Padres beat the Cubs 12-11 on Thursday.

Richard was tagged for nine runs, eight earned, and 12 hits in 4 1-3 innings, leaving him with a 9.00 spring ERA. But the left-hander and manager Bud Black didn't seem too concerned with the results.

Richard was 5-9 with 3.88 ERA in 18 starts in 2011 before undergoing season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery. He has pitched pain-free and passed every physical test Black has set for him so far this year.

"You'll have days like this and in spring it feels like I have a few of them like this," Richard said. "There are definitely things to work on and improve on. But I feel good. I kind of step by step progressed and every start have been able to find a weakness and correct it. It's been a good progression this month."

Richard's fastball was up in the zone and the Cubs jumped all over it.

Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson hit back-to-back homers in the fifth inning. Darwin Barney also had three of his four hits against Richard.

But Black was focusing on Richard's health.

"You focus on making the pitch count," he said. "Come next week all the spring training work is set aside for the regular season. Clayton has answered every test as far as his workload, which is a good sign for him."

Volstad earned the fourth spot in Chicago's rotation Thursday morning and followed with his shakiest outing of the spring. He surrendered six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.

"It's good to get that one out of the way," Volstad said.

Bartlett hit a two-run shot in the second and singled in a run in the third. San Diego catcher Nick Hundley had two hits and two RBIs.

Volstad was acquired in the January deal that sent Carlos Zambrano to Miami. He had allowed only one run in 10 innings this spring.

Volstad, who was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 29 starts for the Marlins last season, said Cubs management offered him words of encouragement after the trade, which has given him extra confidence.

"Through the spring (they were) saying, 'It's a big year for you. You're going to help us out a lot,'" Volstad said. "It's definitely a confidence boost."

Before the game, the Cubs announced infielder Blake DeWitt, catcher Steve Clevenger and utilityman Joe Mather, in camp on a minor-league deal, had made the opening-day roster.

"I'm speechless," said Clevenger, who got the nod when rookie Welington Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Chicago also finalized its rotation with Jeff Samardzija earning the third spot. The team had already announced Ryan Dempster would start on opening day and Matt Garza and Paul Maholm were part of the rotation.

Right-hander Randy Wells, who was 7-6 with a 4.99 ERA in 23 starts for the Cubs in 2011, and left-hander Travis Wood, who was 6-6 in 22 games for Cincinnati, were in the mix for the rotation, but were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Notes: The Cubs optioned five players to Triple-A Iowa and reassigned four to minor-league camp, leaving 31 players in big league camp. But the Cubs won't announce a corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster for Mather until rosters are set next week. . The Padres announced longtime bullpen catcher Mark Merila has taken a job within the organization as a professional scout. . Padres 2B Orlando Hudson, who has been limited by a groin strain, was expected to return to the lineup on Thursday, but was sent home early because he was ill. . Padres RHP Jeff Suppan (right triceps strain) played catch for a third straight day.

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