PEORIA, Ariz. -- With the Cactus League winding down and innings becoming scarcer, the Padres cut two of their prized young prospects from big league Spring Training on Sunday, optioning right-hander Jesse Hahn to Double-A San Antonio and reassigning catcher Austin Hedges, the club's top offensive prospect, to Minor League camp.
Hahn, pegged as the No. 17 prospect in the Padres' system, enthralled the entire organization in his first camp with the club after being acquired from the Rays in January as part of the Alex Torres-Logan Forsythe deal. Appearing in five Cactus League games, the right-hander tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out three.
Not too shabby for a guy who has yet to pitch above Class A Advanced.
"He showed very well," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It was a great experience for him, but it was time for him to go to Minor League camp and get stretched out a little bit. He got up to two innings here, but his pitch count really wasn't where it needed to be for him to be ready to start a regular-season game in the Minor Leagues. He's got to get out there and pitch on the other side."
Hahn, who made 19 starts last year, will begin the year in San Antonio's rotation.
Hedges, the No. 24 prospect in all of baseball, did nothing this spring to detract from his billing, batting 5-for-19 with six RBIs while playing steady defense behind the plate. He'll likely join Hahn in San Antonio when the season begins.
"I told Austin that I thought the growth he made over the last 12 months has been great," Black said. "He grew a lot in a lot of areas, specifically on the baseball side. He cleaned some things up on the catching side, just his presence out there and his confidence talking to the pitchers. He did well."
Padres narrow Opening Day roster choices
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres' Opening Day picture got a bit clearer Monday as manager Bud Black informed eight players that they won't make the team.
Left-handers Tony Sipp and Patrick Schuster, right-handers Blaine Boyer and Kevin Quackenbush, infielders Ryan Jackson and Alberto Gonzalez and outfielders Alex Dickerson and Alex Castellanos all will not be on the 25-man roster come March 30.
The Padres made official three of the moves, optioning Castellanos and Jackson to Triple-A El Paso and reassigning Dickerson to Minor League camp.
For the two southpaws, Monday all but surely marked the end of their time with San Diego. Sipp can opt out of his contract if he's not on the Major League roster, and Schuster was a Rule 5 Draft pick acquired from Houston through Arizona, meaning he'll go through waivers before being offered back to the D-backs for $25,000.
In camp originally to compete for a left-handed-specialist role out the bullpen, neither Sipp nor Schuster experienced much success this spring vs. lefties, as batters from that side of the plate hit .455 off Sipp and .400 off Schuster.
That means Alex Torres will probably be the Padres' sole left-handed reliever. Robbie Erlin could be a second, but he's more likely to fill the fifth slot in the club's rotation. The competition is down to Erlin or the less experienced Matt Wisler for the job.
Black said Erlin threw 55-60 pitches in a Minor League game a few days ago in Surprise and will be stretched out to a pitch count of 75-80 when he throws next on Wednesday.
Monday's news also appeared to strengthen the case for right-hander Donn Roach to secure the club's final bullpen spot and share long-man duties with Tim Stauffer should Erlin make the rotation.
Gonzalez, Quackenbush and Boyer will still stay with the Padres for the time being and travel with the club to San Diego later this week for the two exhibition games vs. the Indians.
Black also mentioned the Padres are "still talking about" keeping three catchers on their roster. Nick Hundley owns the only certain spot, while Rene Rivera and Yasmani Grandal are the question marks.
There was a time when Grandal (knee) wasn't expected to be healthy enough for Opening Day but as the spring has progressed, so have his chances at being ready. He has appeared in five games thus far and is scheduled to catch all nine innings in a Minor League game Tuesday.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.