Bucking A Trend

Carillo hopes to be an impact first-rounder for the Padres

SAN DIEGO—In the last decade, the Padres have had 22 first- or supplemental first-round draft picks. Only one—Khalil Greene—made an impact, and that was short-lived.

Five of them—Vince Faison, Omar Ortiz, Mark Phillips, Jake Gautreau and Matt
Bush—can be classified as busts. One—Gerik Baxter—was killed in a car crash. The jury is still out on Tim Stauffer, but it now looks as if he'll be a solid contributor.

And it's too early to tell on 15 of the kids, including 25-year-old lefthander Cesar Ramos, the 35th overall selection in the 2005 draft, which also included first-round righthander Cesar Carrillo.

But while Carrillo is still trying to fight his way to the big leagues, Ramos—a starter his entire career—may have found a niche in the bullpen.

He made the Opening Day roster as a substitute for lefthander Joe Thatcher when the latter went on the disabled list with a shoulder problem. Ramos compiled just 2 1⁄3 innings in six appearances for the Padres before being optioned to Triple-A Portland when Thatcher returned.

Lefthanded batters went 1-for-6 (.167), with three strikeouts and one walk, against Ramos in that time. They weren't much better last season—just 2-for-17 (.118).

"This is the first time I've worked out of the bullpen since I've been able to pitch," the former Long Beach State star said. "I've always been a starter . . . until the start of this season."

Ramos landed back in the rotation with Portland, a role he had prepared for after being sent to minor league camp near the end of spring training.

"We didn't know how it would play out with Cesar, especially since he didn't have any experience in the bullpen," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But he has done a nice job.


• The Padres signed righthander Josh Cephas, their 34th-round pick last year as a senior out of Southern Nazarene (Okla.). The August signing deadline did not apply to him since he didn't have college eligibility remaining. Cephas, 23, touched 95 mph last spring.

• Duanel Jones, a Dominican third baseman, signed with the Padres for $900,000. Before he can suit up to play, though, he must serve a 50-game suspension for violating the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.