Justin Masterson strikes out 7 in last start before opening day, Indians lose 6-4 to Padres


PEORIA, Ariz. — San Diego Padres third basemen can't seem to stay healthy.

Logan Forsythe was the latest to succumb to injury, and will miss at least six weeks with plantar fasciitis. The timing couldn't be worse.

Star Chase Headley is on the disabled list another 2-4 weeks with a fractured thumb, and Forsythe was supposed to replace him. With Forsythe out and prized third-base prospect James Darnell out indefinitely with an oblique strain, the Padres are on to Plan D.

Their next best option was on display in today's 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Peoria Sports Complex.

Primary second baseman Jedd Gyorko slid over to third — he played there in the minors — and utility infielder Alexi Amarista took Gyorko's spot.

Veteran reserve infielder Cody Ransom will also be the mix at third against left handed pitching, which will push Gyorko back to second and platoon out left-handed hitting Amarista.

No plan is perfect - even Forsythe would've struggled to replicate Headley's significant production - but the Padres will make do with what they have.

"We're going to have to," Black said. "No matter who the 25 guys are on the roster, they have a job to do, and that's to perform at a high level. For those that fought their way onto the roster, it's a great opportunity to show that they belong at this level."

Every member of that rotation has something to prove. Gyorko is a rookie fighting to show he can play in the majors. Ransom, a 37-year old who made the 25-man roster because of this injury plague, wants to avoid a demotion. Amarista needs to establish himself as a valuable utility player after a mercurial 2012 season.

Indians opening day starter Justin Masterson allowed two runs and six hits and had seven strikeouts in five innings. He'll kick off the regular season Tuesday at the Toronto Blue Jays.

"He had a good, live fastball, which is a clear sign that he's ready," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Justin had a good spring, and he feels good about himself as a result. He's well situated going into the regular season."

Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard fared well in his final spring outing. He allowed one earned run (three total) on five hits in five innings, struck out five and walked one. His next outing will come on April 3 against the New York Mets.

Padres left fielder Carlos Quentin played his third straight major-league game after missing Cactus League play with discomfort in his surgically repaired right knee. He went 1 for 4 with a single two strikeouts as a designated hitter.

Padres catcher John Baker went 2 for 3 with an RBI-double and a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh. San Diego Right fielder Will Venable hit one two batters later.

Cleveland right fielder Drew Stubbs went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and second baseman Jason Kipnis hit a home run off Richard in the fifth.

NOTES: The Padres announced the starting rotation to start the season. RHP Edinson Volquez will start on opening day, followed by RHP Clayton Richard, LHP Eric Stults and RHP Jason Marquis. They still haven't decided on a No. 5 starter, although RHP Tyson Ross is considered the frontrunner to start April 6 at Colorado. . The Padres re-assigned RHPs Tim Stauffer and Sean O'Sullivan, C Rene Rivera, INF Gregorio Petit and OF Travis Buck to minor-league camp. . The Padres broke spring camp and will play two exhibitions against Texas in San Antonio on Friday and Saturday. The Indians will be one of three Cactus League teams in Arizona the next few days. They'll break camp on Saturday and travel to Toronto for their opening game Tuesday against the Blue Jays.