NEW YORK -- All four of the Padres' full-season Minor League affiliates begin play on Thursday and three of the top pitching prospects in the organization get the call on Opening Day.
Right-hander Donn Roach, the Padres' No. 15 prospect according to MLB.com, will start for Double-A San Antonio at home against Tulsa.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, rated as the No. 8 prospect in the San Diego system, starts for Class A Lake Elsinore in a game at Rancho Cucamonga.
Class A Fort Wayne begins the season at Great Lakes with right-hander Joe Ross (ranked No. 13) getting a start. Ross is the younger brother of Padres pitcher Tyson Ross, the team's No. 5 starter.
Veteran Tim Stauffer, also a right-hander, gets the start for Triple-A Tucson in a game at Salt Lake City.
Randy Smith, the Padres' vice president of player development and international scouting, said that he is excited and encouraged about the upcoming season for the Padres' highly-regarded system.
"The overall depth we have is better than it's been in a long time," Smith said. "There are a lot of good, young arms in the system. There are a lot of guys who are close to reaching the big leagues."
"We're excited about the clubs we have."
Roberts loans special cleats to Hall of Fame
NEW YORK -- The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum came calling on Wednesday for Padres first-base coach Dave Roberts.
Well, actually just for his spikes.
Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson was in the Padres' clubhouse at Citi Field on Wednesday to pick up the cleats that Roberts wore during the 2004 playoffs when he was with the Red Sox.
Those cleats -- Nike cleats, size nine to be exact -- were the ones he wore when he stole that infamous base during the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. The team went on to win the World Series that fall.
The cleats are on loan for an exhibit, Roberts said.
"Instead of outright giving them to the Hall, I felt comfortable keeping them in my family," Roberts said. "But for them to consider having my spikes in the Hall is a great honor. Jeff drove down today [from Cooperstown, N.Y.] to pick them up."
As you might imagine, it's not like these special cleats were taking up space aside other shoes inside of Roberts' closet at home.
"I have a special Major League-sized locker in my sports room with some of my old jerseys, a few signed jerseys from former teammates and other mementos," Roberts said.
Roberts said the cleats are actually still in pretty good shape.
"Those are the shoes I wore for the playoffs and the World Series," Roberts said. "You can still see some materiel left over from my red socks in there and the No. 31 written in there."
But are there any stolen bases left in the shoes?
"Not from this body," said Roberts, 40, who played his last game in 2008.
Kelly undergoes successful elbow surgery
NEW YORK -- Casey Kelly, ranked by MLB.com as the Padres' No. 4 prospect, had reconstructive surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday in Pensacola, Fla.
The surgery was performed by noted orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. Kelly will fly to San Diego next week to consult with team physicians about rehabilitation.
"According to our medical people, who were in contact with Dr. Andrews, it was a successful surgery," manager Bud Black said.
Kelly, 23, appeared in three games during Spring Training and felt discomfort in his elbow following his start on March 7. He then had extensive tests that showed 'micro tears' in his ulnar collateral ligament.
Kelly made his Major League debut last season for the Padres, going 2-3 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts. He came into camp last month as one of several candidates trying to win a rotation spot. He posted a 7.71 ERA over seven innings.
Kelly began last season with Triple-A Tucson, then missed three months with a right elbow strain. He eventually got healthy and reached the Major Leagues in August.
"In 2014, we'll put all this behind us and come back and be healthy again," Kelly said last month after it was determined he needed surgery.