Eric Stults takes the same approach every year in spring training: Prepare as if nothing is guaranteed.
Stults is still thinking that way even though San Diego Padres manager Bud Black told the journeyman left-hander he has earned a spot in the rotation.
Stults pitched two-run ball for six sharp innings Tuesday in the Padres' 6-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Stults gave up four hits, struck out two and walked one. He also helped his cause with a two-run single in the fourth inning.
"I had a good feel for all four pitches, which this time in spring training is where you want to be," Stults said. "Now that there's only a few starts left in spring training, you want to be game-ready. You want to be season-ready and go out and treat it like you're pitching to win the game."
In his four previous appearances, Stults gave up eight runs on 11 hits in seven innings.
"Some pitchers do great early on. I'm more of a feel pitcher, not overpowering. It takes me maybe a little bit longer to get the feel," Stults said. "I still feel like we've got guys that can pitch, so I need to stay sharp and be ready to go. I'm still going out and trying to compete and trying to get better every day."
Yonder Alonso hit his third home run in his past six games, a solo shot in a four-run fourth. Cody Ransom had two hits including a run-scoring double.
Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz pitched the first inning in place of starter Wade Miley, who threw Monday. Putz allowed a run on one hit with a strikeout. He gave up a leadoff triple to the Padres' Everth Cabrera.
Cabrera scored on a groundout by Will Venable.
Putz hadn't started a game since a rehabilitation start on July 19, 2011, and his last non-rehab start was with Triple-Tacoma on Aug. 28, 2002, when he was in the Seattle Mariners organization.
Primary setup men Heath Bell and David Hernandez each worked a scoreless inning after Putz. The two had been throwing side sessions since returning from the World Baseball Classic with Team USA.
"They all threw fine," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "Those guys, as a team (the Padres), they're really a behind-count fastball hitting team. So you have to be smarter than that in the season, make better pitches."
Gerardo Parra hit an RBI triple off Stults in the fifth inning, and pinch-hitter Willie Bloomquist also drove in a run for Arizona.
NOTES: The Diamondbacks return to a regular rotation of starting pitchers on Wednesday when RHP Brandon McCarthy starts against the Chicago White Sox. Ian Kennedy, the team's projected opening day starter, starts Thursday against Cleveland and Trevor Cahill get the call on Friday night, also against Cleveland. . OF Adam Eaton, who left Monday's game after three innings for extra rest, pinch-hit in the seventh inning and grounded into a fielder's choice. . RHP Andrew Cashner is the scheduled starter for the Padres on Wednesday against San Francisco.