Making the best of the worst

General manager Kevin Towers believes the Aug. 2, 2001, trade that sent right-handed pitcher Woody Williams to the Cardinals for outfielder Ray Lankford "was the worst I have ever made."

But Woody Williams believes it was good for him ... and for the Padres.

During his three-plus seasons with St. Louis, Williams made six starts in the playoffs or the World Series.

"I think the experience of pitching with a team like St. Louis is going to help us out a lot," Williams said Tuesday after pitching in a minor league intrasquad game while the bulk of his teammates were taking the day off.

What's the biggest thing he has learned.

"April games are more important than September games," said Williams. "It's the importance of every day ... of coming to the ballpark expecting to win and beat the teams you should beat. Take care of April and May, beat the teams you should beat and September will take care of itself."

Williams pitched Tuesday to stay on schedule to start on Opening Day in Colorado. He threw 62 pitches in 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits.

Friar Wire:

Akinori Otsuka struck out the side Monday (March 14) in an inning of work against Seattle. Otsuka threw 10 pitches, a single and nine strikes. He had missed two scheduled outings with a mild shoulder strain.

Freddy Guzman pinch-ran Monday. He can't throw for six weeks due to a bone bruise in his throwing (right) elbow.

Dennys Reyes, who has been slowed by a balky hamstring, also pitched, allowing no hits and striking out two in 2 1/3 innings. "He looked great," said pitching coach Darren Balsley.

Dave Roberts used the day off to further rest a groin injury. Roberts, who has concentrated this spring on the hamstrings that had troubled him in the past, had been held out the previous two days.

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