Among the issues discussed recently by the Padres brass is how the club will deploy its forces over the longest exhibition season in franchise history.

Because this is also the spring of the third World Baseball Classic, Major League Baseball has extended the preseason schedule to give players more exhibition game experience before the start of WBC play.

The Padres will begin playing exhibitions on Feb. 22 – just six days after the full squad begins practices and only 10 days after pitchers and catchers report. Usually, the exhibition season starts around March 1 and numbers 30 games.

The Padres are scheduled to play 37 exhibitions this spring training. Many teams, including the Padres, believed 30 exhibitions were too many.

The Padres will bring at least three young relief pitchers – Kevin Quackenbush, Matt Stites and John Barbato – to camp earlier than originally planned along with 20-year-old catcher Austin Hedges.

And they will likely employ more minor leaguers from the advanced minor league mini-camp that opens on Feb. 23.

"It's going to be a good spring to get a longer look at some of the younger prospects," said Padres manager Bud Black. "The big challenge is going to be the first 10 games, games we're not usually playing.