Thus far, however, the results haven't come close to being as good as Ashby's right arm feels.
He has given up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in four innings. And the unearned run came off his throwing error Tuesday.
"I know I can pitch," Ashby said. "If I thought I was kidding myself, I'd go home. Who knows, maybe I am kidding myself. But I still feel I can pitch. I've thrown some real good pitches. But I've also made some stupid mistakes and followed those with bad pitches. I can't be giving up runs every time I go out there and expect to still be going out there."
Because three-fifths of the Padres rotation carry question marks -- left-hander Shawn Estes is coming off a foot injury and right-handers Woody Williams and Chan Ho Park are both coming off bad seasons -- the Padres are taking a long look at Ashby, who has spent most of the past two years rehabbing with the club.
"Right now, the big question with Andy is how his arm feels," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.
"Right now, in situations where I need to make good pitches, I don't. I know I'm better at putting the ball where I want to. Then again, maybe this is as good as it gets. You can't be hoping to make a pitch. You have to know that you can. No one can change this but me."
The frustration of this spring goes back almost 2 1/2 years to when Ashby had elbow reconstruction surgery. Since then he has had a second round of elbow surgery (to reattach a ligament that pulled away from a chipped bone) and a round of shoulder surgery.