PEORIA, Ariz. -- It was no accident that Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso finished Spring Training last year with more at-bats (77) than any other of his new teammates.
"It was a lot, but, honestly, [the Padres] didn't know me and I didn't know them, so it was good to play in that many games to get ready for the year," Alonso said Friday.
Last year was Alonso's first spring with the Padres, and he wanted nothing more than to make a good first impression. The organization, having obtained him from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade, wanted to get a good look at him.
So Alonso played -- a lot. He had the 11th-most at-bats of any Major League player last spring, trailing Hunter Pence of the Phillies by only eight at-bats.
"At the end of spring, I was a little beat," Alonso admitted.
Where San Diego wanted Alonso to play a lot last spring, in particular against National League West pitchers he would see often in the regular season, he might approach that number for at-bats again.
The Padres played their first exhibition game of Spring Training on Friday, the first of a club-record 38 games before Opening Day on April 1. The team figures to get Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman and possibly Mark Kotsay playing first base this spring, but Alonso will see most of the action there.
"Typically, there's a window of 50 to 80 [at-bats] in there, a number we try to shoot for," said manager Bud Black. "In his case, he's what? Twenty-five? He can play."
Gyorko wastes little time in getting first hit
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jedd Gyorko nearly came out of his shoes Friday when he went up the ladder, missing a high fastball from Mariners pitcher Hector Noesi.
"The ball looks kind of big out there your first time out," Gyorko said. "You're a little anxious to get that first hit."
Gyorko, who is here in camp trying to win the starting second-base job, didn't have to wait long, as he blasted a fastball over the left-field fence in the first inning for a grand slam.
"It looked like he was struggling to throw his breaking ball over the plate," Gyorko said. "I was trying to be aggressive. I think the whole team was trying to be aggressive with the fastball."
Gyorko's home run came as part of a six-run inning as the Padres defeated the Mariners, 9-3, at the Peoria Sports Complex.
"He looked good," manager Bud Black said of Gyorko, who was 1-for-3. "I thought he took some good swings and he looked good in the field."
A year ago, Gyorko hit a combined 30 home runs in two Minor League stops. He had one home run last spring in 43 at-bats for the Padres.
Cashner could likely pitch off mound next week
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres are still hopeful that pitcher Andrew Cashner will be able to throw off of a mound a week from Friday.
The club has been hoping that Cashner, who had surgery in December to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb, would be ahead of schedule and would be able to throw March 1. That has remained the case after the first 10 days of workouts for pitchers.
That's a good thing for all parties, said manager Bud Black.
"Cash is doing great. He's champing at the bit. He feels as though he's ready for [throwing off the mound], but medically, there's some healing properties that have to take place with the thumb," Black said.
"But he's getting close. Our doctors and our medical staff feel comfortable where he is. Hopefully it's next week."
Cashner hopes to be ready by Opening Day on April 1, though the Padres still view him as a starter, which means he would likely need time in the Minor Leagues to get stretched out and build his endurance to start the season.
Cashner doesn't feel he'll be too far behind once he gets on a mound, and he has a different timetable in mind for his return.
"I don't think there's any reason why I couldn't be ready for Opening Day," Cashner said. "Definitely my goal is to break camp."
• Sean O'Sullivan threw two scoreless innings in San Diego's victory. O'Sullivan, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, threw 26 pitches, with 17 of them going for strikes.
"I was happy with my command of the ball, especially since I felt we had less time to prepare for games," O'Sullivan said.
O'Sullivan, who hails from El Cajon, Calif., went to Padres games as a kid.
"It felt great to put that uni on today," he said.
• The Padres haven't shut down Minor League pitcher Jerry Sullivan, who has a sore right shoulder, but they have dramatically cut down on his throwing routine. Jason Ray, another pitcher slowed earlier in camp because of a sore right arm, has resumed workouts and could appear in a game next week.
• Catcher Nick Hundley was originally in Friday's lineup against the Mariners, but he was scratched in the morning. Hundley's fine, according to Black, who indicated Hundley would likely play Saturday. Hundley and John Baker will likely handle most of the catching duties this spring and into the start of the regular season with Yasmani Grandal suspended for the first 50 games.