Wells a unique fifth starter for Padres
Career 230-game winner provides stability at back of staff
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When it was suggested to David Wells that having a 230-game winner as a fifth starter might give the Padres a leg up against the competition, he let out a laugh.
"There's some young flamethrowers out there now," Wells said, his arm and lower back wrapped in ice. "I'm not a young flamethrower anymore."
The Padres aren't asking him to be one.
Instead, on a staff stocked with young talent and 333-game winner Greg Maddux, all the Padres are asking of Wells is to be healthy and, as he did Wednesday in Surprise, throw a lot of strikes.
In his final spring appearance, Wells scattered 68 pitches over six innings, allowing two runs on six hits in the Padres' 7-6 victory over the Royals. It was his fourth appearance this spring and third against a Major League team.
And, by all accounts, it was his best outing.
"I'm ready," Wells said. "I have never been big on a lot of innings in Spring Training. I basically know what it takes to get ready. I've had four outings now. The first two were bad and the last two were good. So I finished on a good note."
Wells, who won't pitch in a game until April 7 at PETCO Park against Colorado, was sharp against the Royals. He showed the best command of his pitches in any of his four outings this spring, and didn't walk a batter while striking out three.
"I liked his curveball, I like the way he located his fastball," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He had everything working. I thought he threw the ball well -- very efficient."
This was Wells' second outing since announcing on March 19 that he has Type 2 diabetes. He threw five scoreless innings in a Minor League game on March 23 and said that he was encouraged by his energy level. On Wednesday, he worked fast and often worked ahead in the count.
"In my last start, I felt like I wasn't able to let it go," Wells said. "I still kind of felt like that. I felt like I let the ball go more today. I feel like I got a lot looser late in the game than I did early."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.