With another solid spring training outing Monday, March 24, against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., left-handed pitcher Eric Stults is being projected as the No. 4 starter in the San Diego Padres starting rotation.
As of this writing, the rotation has Andrew Cashner at the top, followed by Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, Stults and Robbie Erlin. Josh Johnson is out for at least a month with a forearm strain.
Stults, a Middlebury resident and Bethel College Athletic Hall of Famer, gave up a lead-off triple to former South Bend Silver Hawk Emilio Bonafacio then settled in for 5 2/3 innings where he gave up five hits and one earned run runs while striking out three walking one and hitting one batter against the Cubs.
San Diego manager Bud Black credited Stults for finding his rhythm.
"The last two starts he's thrown the ball well," Black told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I think that the first couple starts the first part of the spring he didn't feel real comfortable with his release point and really he wasn't finishing his pitches … He wasn't quite getting out over his right side."
In five spring appearances, the 34-year-old Stults is 2-1 with a 5.29 earned run average. In 17 innings, he has allowed 19 hits and 10 runs (all earned) while fanning eight and walking six.
The Padres open the regular season Sunday, March 30, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.