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Padres Preview: 03/04 ST game 3 vs. Royals

Colin Rea makes his Spring debut for the Padres.

Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The Padres have yet to notch a win heading into their third game of Spring. Tonight they'll host the defending World Champions, the Kansas City Royals, at Peoria Sports Complex.

Another rotation hopeful will make the start for San Diego today. This time it'll be right-hander Colin Rea, who made his Major League debut last August with the Padres. Rea made six appearances - all starts - last year, posting a 4.26 ERA while going 2-2 before the team took precautions and shut him down with arm soreness. The right-hander reportedly put on about 20 pounds of muscle this offseason and so far this Spring he's shown improvements in his pitching, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

His first live batting-practice session at the Peoria Sports Complex displayed increased life on his fastball and sharper bite on his cutter.

Rea, who is ranked the no. 7 overall prospect (and top pitching prospect) in the Padres system by Baseball America, is scheduled for two innings against the Royals, after which the rookie will hand the ball over to veteran Carlos Villanueva. The Padres signed Villanueva in January to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million, and while he hopes to earn a rotation spot come April he could also end up in the bullpen.

The rest of the Padres lineup is as follows:

The most important and exciting aspect of tonight's matchup between the Padres and Royals? It will be the first televised game of the Spring! Catch it on Fox Sports San Diego or MLB.TV if you've got it. Or if the radio is more your thing, tune in to The Mighty or MLB Gameday Audio.