Must C Clutch: Nady, Pence provide pop for Giants

PHOENIX -- Although Xavier Nady hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2012, Padres manager Bud Black recognizes what the 35-year-old veteran can bring to the table. A career .270 hitter over parts of 11 big league seasons, Nady offers much more than traditional organizational depth.

"His experience, his versatility and his talent is something we're going to look long and hard at," Black said. "He's an interesting guy for us and how it lines up for him."

The last couple of years haven't been easy for Nady. After hitting just .184 in 59 big leagues games in 2012 split between the Nationals and Giants, he spent all of 2013 in the Minors playing for both the Royals' and Rockies' Triple-A affiliates.

The Padres, who drafted Nady in 2000, gave the veteran another shot in January when they signed him to a Minor League deal that included an invitation to big league camp. With a total of 14 outfielders in the Padres' clubhouse at the start of Spring Training, Nady certainly faces long odds to make the Opening Day roster, but Black said he'll be given every chance to turn some heads.

"He's going to get some playing time at first base and in the outfield," Black said. "I know last year he was in Kansas City with a chance to do some things, but he got injured and it really set him back as far as being able to show the Royals what he can do. This year is a little different, he feels good and is ready to go. He's excited for the challenge to make our club."

Erlin is looking to pick up where he left off

Outlook: Erlin could open 2014 in Padres' bullpen

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Promoted from Triple-A Tucson on four occasions in 2013, Robbie Erlin saved his best stint for last during his rookie campaign. Called up a final time on Aug. 28, the left-hander went 2-1 over five starts, compiling a minuscule 1.97 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 32 innings through the end of the Padres' season.

Not a bad way to cap off your first year in the Majors.

Now back with the big league club at Padres Spring Training, Erlin is hoping to parlay his strong finish from last year into an Opening Day roster spot come April.

"I learned so much every time I was up, and I think that's going to serve me well here the next month," Erlin said. "The biggest thing was the experience and just getting all the firsts under my belt. This year I'll feel a little more ready and a little more prepared if I do get the chance to pitch in San Diego, because now I know what to expect."

Already armed with an advanced and deceptive fastball-changeup combination, Erlin said he has made significant strides with his curveball, and he's eager to try it out in the Cactus League.

"The curve is feeling good. It's got really good spin. Now it's just a matter of getting the feel and repeating it," he said. "If I can mix that pitch in consistently, it could be something I can throw ahead in the count and keep hitters off balance."

With the Padres' starting rotation likely already set, Erlin is a candidate for one of the final bullpen positions this spring. The 23-year-old made a pair of relief appearances for the Padres last year and believes he can fill any number of roles in the big leagues, from short or long relieving to spot starting when needed.

For now, though, Erlin is merely focused on improving every day and showing the coaching staff what he can offer.

"I know if I do my work, the rest will take care of itself," he said. "That means just doing what makes you the best at what you do. In my case, it's a solid foundation of mechanics and throwing a lot of strikes."

Galvez out a week with groin injury

SD@TEX: Galvez blasts a solo homer in the ninth

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres big league Spring Training suffered its first injury on Thursday when infielder/outfielder Jonathan Galvez tweaked his groin during a fielding drill.

Although the club anticipates Galvez missing about a week of action, Padres manager Bud Black didn't seem too concerned about the injury affecting the 23-year-old's preparation.

"He's going to be back on the horse and ready to go after this," Black said. "This is obviously the early part of Spring Training, where it shouldn't impact Jon moving forward into March and closer to the season."

In camp as a non-roster invitee, Galvez hit .278 with a .342 on-base percentage in 112 games for Triple-A Tucson last year. He also tallied 31 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs and 22 steals.

Galvez is expected to begin 2014 with Triple-A El Paso.

Worth noting

• Padres pitchers threw live batting practice on Friday for the first time this spring, working for eight minutes each and throwing solely fastballs and changeups.