Cashner Hooked On Padres

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It sits near field No. 1, a modest boat missing its skipper, Andrew Cashner.

“Soon,’’ Cashner said, when asked when he’s going fishing. “I need a trailer, first.’’

While Cashner is always eager to wet his line, he’s hooked on something else: the 2015 Padres.

“There definitely is a buzz in here,’’ Cashner said as he eyed new teammates. “There is a lot more leadership in the locker room; just guys coming in here that are established players.

“It’s just a big change in scenery. Typically we have a lot of younger guys in camp. Now it’s older guys.’’

More experienced, if you don’t mind, Andrew, but we get your drift.

Players with resumes litter the Padres’ side of the Peoria Sports Complex: outfielders Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and pitcher James Shields.

There’s a bunch of been-there, down-that men in uniform and that’s a plus.

“With the addition of Shields, it’s just the leadership he will bring,’’ Cashner said. “He’s gone through a lot of different situations that maybe me, Ian (Kennedy) and Tyson (Ross) haven’t gone through, the highs and lows.’’

Cashner had such a ride last year, going 5-7 with a 2.55 ERA. While right elbow and shoulder injuries kept him under 124 innings, last season was with more smooth than scratchy. That ERA was seventh-best among pitchers with at least 100 innings.

“I felt last year was probably the biggest step I took,’’ he said. “It was what I brought forward from 2013 and it carried over. I just kept getting better and didn’t take any steps back, stuff-wise.’’

Cashner always rattled the radar gun with his triple-digit fastball. But he’s leaned more on his sinker and off-speed offerings, that make his giddy-up pitch more effective.

“I’m learning the game more and more with every outing,’’ Cashner said.

But the offseason was a surprise to Cashner, and everyone else. No one imagined the Padres undergoing such a dramatic facelift.

Few, though, kept abreast of the rapid-fire transactions like Cashner.

“I was sitting in a duck blind and turned to my buddy and said, “Hey man, if we’re going to be this good I’m moving to San Diego and working out,’’’ Cashner said.

January arrived and so did Cashner in So Cal. Instead of spending down time at his Texas home, he hustled to San Diego and threw with Ross, Nick Vincent and Dale Thayer on the Petco Park mounds.

“It was good to work out and get on the program,’’ Cashner said.

Is Cashner on board with something other than his boat? Although signed through 2016, would he consider a contract extension?

The Padres broached that topic last spring, but it died quietly.

“I’ve let them know that that I want to stay here,’’ Cashner said. “I let them know that I was open to it, but it has to make sense for both sides.’’

But first Cashner is reeling in the optimism of camp. No way he throws this one back.

+ Contact Jay Paris at jparis@bcaradio.com

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