PEORIA, Ariz. -- The running joke with Padres manager Bud Black each spring is he doesn't want to be the first or the last manager to name his starter for Opening Day.
On Thursday, and after being asked every day this spring, Black relented and told reporters what they and probably everyone one else thought all along -- Andrew Cashner will start on March 30 when the Padres face the Dodgers at Petco Park.
"It's a big honor for me; it's something I've been working toward since last year. It was one of my goals. I feel like it's a big honor for me," Cashner said after his start Thursday against the Giants, where he allowed four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
For Cashner, this will be his first Opening Day start. The Padres face the Dodgers on ESPN on what the team is calling "Opening Night" with their Opening Day set for the second game of the season against the Dodgers on April 1.
"Going into this offseason with how our team lined up, working through this, I think it's well-deserved for Cash, the way he pitched the second half of last season," Black said. "You've heard me say it before … it's a feather in the cap for a pitcher to get an Opening Day assignment."
Cashner shined in his first full season as a starter, going 10-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 games (26 starts). He got better as the season went on, posting a 2.25 ERA in August and a 0.76 mark in the last month of the season, which included a one-hitter against the Pirates.
Cashner's ERA as a starter (3.04) ranked 10th in the National League among those with at least 25 starts.
"He's the guy we want to start the season with. I like what we've seen out of Cash, his development in so many different areas the last 12 or so months leads us to believe he's going to be a guy in the front of the rotation who can do great things for us," Black said.
Rings arrive for Double-A champions in camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Members of the 2013 Texas League champion San Antonio Missions received their rings on Thursday morning.
Well, most of them did.
Team owner Dave Elmore and several other members of the Missions' front office staff were in Peoria at the Padres' Spring Training facility to hand out rings before Minor League games.
Pitcher Matt Wisler wasn't one of them, as he arrived at the complex in the afternoon because of the Padres' night game against the Giants.
Wisler, who received his ring in an afternoon meeting with manager Bud Black, was promoted in May from Class A Lake Elsinore. He went 8-5 with a 3.00 ERA in 20 starts and was part of the Missions' second-half run that saw the team go 40-30 to advance to the playoffs.
In the Texas League playoffs, the Missions defeated Corpus Christi and then Springfield in five games to capture the title. Wisler tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a Game 1 victory over Springfield and followed with three scoreless innings in Game 5.
"That was cool for me to come in the fifth game, coming in and trying to hold those guys," said Wisler, who is ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the Padres' system. "We really came together in the playoffs and everyone played well. That was a lot of fun. We pretty much won consistently the whole time in the second half to get into the playoff race."
Other members of the Missions who are still in Padres' camp include first baseman Tommy Medica, catcher Austin Hedges, pitchers Kevin Quackenbush and Donn Roach.
Also on Thursday, Missions manager Rich Dauer picked up his award for winning the Jack Krol Award for his contribution to player development.
Wisler was named the Padres' Minor League pitcher of the year and Medica was named the offensive player of the year. Hedges was selected as the organization's defensive player of the year, while Travis Jankowski, an outfielder for Lake Elsinore, was named baserunner of the year.
• Outfielder Alex Dickerson, who severely sprained his left ankle last week, has returned to San Diego for additional tests. Dickerson, likely ticketed the start the season with Triple-A El Paso, had an MRI this week that revealed the sprain.
• Chris Denorfia, who was in the starting lineup Thursday in right field, was a late scratch before the game with a sore right shoulder. Will Venable moved from right to center field and Kyle Blanks was inserted into the lineup in right field.