As a Rule 5 Draft pick, there are no guarantees coming to your new club. You're in a position where you feel like you have to make even more of an impression on the team to show that you can play at this level, because they know they're stuck with you for the season. They could offer you back to your former team, of course, but if they want to keep you, they're stuck with you for the entire year.

I've had a good start so far. Our manager, Bud Black, has put me in pressure situations, but not huge pressure situations. They've put me in some roles, where if you do fail, it's not a huge deal. I've come in when we're a few runs down, so if I give up a few runs, it's not going to lose the game for us. But if something positive happens, we can build off it and the team still has a chance to be in the game.

I came in a game with the Dodgers with no outs and the bases loaded and I wound up pitching three straight scoreless innings. In the Minors, I've been out there for three innings a few different times. It's nothing I haven't done before. I've had plenty of multiple inning roles in the minors.

I pitched with a lot of good relievers in the Twins system. I played with a few of the guys they've got there now in Minnesota, like my longtime friend Pat Neshek. While they have a lot of young relievers in Minnesota, here on San Diego, we have a good mix of veterans and newcomers.

It's nice to come into a situation where there are some big-time guys to learn from and watch. Here, you have Trevor Hoffman and Scott Linebrink and Doug Brocail and Cla Meredith. It's awesome to see how these guys go about their business, how they operate. It helps me go out there and perform. It's really a treat to be around these guys.

We're the only team in the Majors that has a former Major League pitcher as our manager. Just last year Bud was a pitching coach. He works really well with our pitching coach Darren Balsley, who's going on his fifth season here. It works because Bud gives Balls his space.

I don't want to say this the wrong way, but some managers tend to step on toes, overstep their boundaries with their coaches. Bud gives the coaches their space. If he sees something that needs to be fixed, he'll say something, but as a former coach, he knows we have a pitching coach for a reason, we have a hitting coach for a reason, and we have a manager for a reason. He lets them do their thing, but if he needs to put his input in, he will.

Kevin Cameron, a 27-year-old rookie right-hander, came to the Padres from the Twins in the offseason Rule 5 draft. He has been a pleasant surprise for San Diego, throwing 10 2/3 scoreless innings in his first seven appearances, with 10 strikeouts. The Joliet, Ill., native still lives in the Chicago suburbs in the offseason and played his collegiate ball at Georgia Tech.