PEORIA, Ariz. -- Tim Stauffer thinks he can help the Padres, even if it's out of the bullpen.
Stauffer pitched four shutout innings to help a San Diego split-squad beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Saturday.
Stauffer, a 2003 first-round pick who is out of options, is pushing hard for the final spot in the Padres' rotation but is open to a reliever role. The right-hander allowed two hits and struck out four in his first appearance since last Saturday.
"During the season relievers have to go that long or longer so I guess if that's something that's a possibility I need to get used to it," Stauffer said after a seven-day layoff. "That wouldn't be a hard transition to make."
Stauffer went 4-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 14 starts last season after missing all of 2008 with a shoulder injury. He lowered his spring ERA to 2.57.
"Stauffer was crisp," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I thought I saw a little more velocity and a good slider. We've talked a lot about our depth and I think it's showing in the last couple of weeks."
Micah Owings struck out three in three scoreless innings for Cincinnati.
Reds RHP Johnny Cueto allowed four earned runs and nine hits over six innings in a minor league game against Chicago White Sox farmhands. ... San Diego RHP Mat Latos, originally scheduled to start on Saturday, threw a bullpen session. Latos, who is nursing a sore elbow, said he felt good after throwing about 30 pitches. Latos also is a candidate for the rotation.