GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was a very brief Cactus League debut for Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin on Friday, as he had two plate appearances before rain canceled the game after three innings.

Quentin, starting as the designated hitter against the White Sox, was hit by a pitch in the first inning and later lined out to center field in a game played at Camelback Ranch.

"Strong, barrel contact on the sweet spot," Quentin said.

Quentin, who had minor surgery on his right knee in October, has been brought along slowly this spring, though he has been able to participate in nearly every drill. With a longer Spring Training, the team saw no need to rush him into games in February.

He would have liked to have gotten a few more at-bats Friday, but this was a start, he said.

"It was good, got some adrenaline going, there were butterflies," he said. "[I'm] just kind of getting going. I tracked some pitches, I hit my pitch."

San Diego manager Bud Black said last week that it's possible that Quentin, who will start in left field, could get upwards of 60 at-bats before Opening Day on April 1.

Quentin will likely play every other day for a while, getting time in left field and also getting starts as the designated hitter.

Ross trying to control tempo on the mound

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There was a lot to like from Tyson Ross's last outing on Tuesday, when he tossed three scoreless innings against the Dodgers.

It marked the first time in three spring outings that the Padres' rotation hopeful made an appearance without allowing a run.

"I was able to go out there and get a couple of zeros, which has eluded me. I'm trying to build off that," he said. "Physically, still feel really good. Now I'm starting to string together a few more pitches. I think I'll be fine."

The race for the fifth spot in the starting rotation is wide open at this point and Ross, who was acquired in November from the A's, is in the thick of the competition.

Ross allowed two runs in two innings in his first appearance on Feb. 23 and then yielded three runs over three innings on Feb. 28. And while he walked two in his three-inning stint against the Dodgers, he felt it was his best performance to date.

"Really, I'm just trying to get my tempo down, my timing. I'm a big, tall guy with a lot of moving parts," said Ross, who is 6-foot-6. "When things are starting to take off is when I mishandle the zone or have the ball off the plate."

Ross has been working closely with pitching coach Darren Balsley on controlling his tempo while on the mound.

"It's been going good on the side," Ross said. "But in game situations, when you've got a batter 60 feet from you, it's hard. It's a little off. I need to slow myself down to get everything timed up right."

Injured Darnell itching to get back into games

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A sore right oblique has kept James Darnell from playing in games since Feb. 25, a date he doesn't need to be reminded of.

Just how bad does Darnell, an infielder/outfielder on the 40-man roster, want to get back into a game?

"You have no idea," he said. "Sitting on the sidelines is not fun. Hopefully, I can get some at-bats soon … and have some fun."

Darnell, fighting for a bench job, can't point to a specific moment when he sustained the injury, making it even more maddening.

"I didn't feel it on one move or anything," Darnell said. "It just got intensely sore throughout the day."

Darnell took batting practice on Thursday and was to do so again on Friday, though likely in the batting cage because of inclement weather in Peoria.

"It's doing really good," he said. "This [rest] is just part of the process of being cautious. Hopefully, I can get back in [games] in the next few days."

Worth noting

• After throwing a live batting-practice session Thursday, pitcher Andrew Cashner will pitch in his first game of the spring, likely Sunday. Cashner, who came to camp behind the rest of the pitchers after December surgery to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb, will throw one inning when he gets into a game. "We talked about [more] BP or a simulated game, but he feels good, his body feels good," said Padres manager Bud Black.

• Black indicated that there's still plenty of time for a pitcher to emerge for the fifth spot in the rotation, even if that pitcher -- Cashner, for example -- hasn't appeared in a game yet. Tim Stauffer, a non-roster invitee, has looked very good so far. Black likes the competition. "We have starting pitching candidates who are battling," he said.