Pat Murphy saw more than enough from Jason Lane as an opposing player from USC when he was head coach at Arizona State.

Now, however, as manager of the Tucson Padres, Murphy couldn't be happier to have Lane on his side.

"He's an ultimate professional, an old-time ball player," Murphy said before Tucson's 4-2 loss to the Salt Lake Bees on Saturday night at Kino Stadium. "He brings so much to this team, his experience along with his ability to do what we ask and help guys grow.

"I'm happy to have him; I hated playing against him."

Lane, a 36-year-old with six seasons of big-league experience, was signed by the San Diego Padres organization Tuesday. That same day, he gave up five hits and three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings against Tacoma to win his debut with Triple-A Tucson.

That might seem ordinary for most pitchers but, in Lane's case, he's not like most pitchers. In fact, he wasn't officially a pitcher until recently.

While Lane pitched a little bit in college with the Trojans, he's best known for being a great outfielder and hitter, as Murphy said.

However, last year, after playing in nearly 500 major-league games as an outfielder, Lane made the decision to become a full-time pitcher when the Arizona Diamondbacks told him they believed he could make the transition.

"I always thought toward the end of my career I would give it a shot just because I was left handed and took care of myself, my arm always felt good," said Lane, who will start for Tucson on Monday night. "I wasn't expecting it then, but it happened, and I just felt like it was a good opportunity."

Although it didn't work with the D-backs, Lane went 9-5 with a 3.17 ERA in the Atlantic League with the Sugar Land Skeeters and was invited to spring training with the Minnesota Twins this year.

That didn't work out, either, so Lane went back to Sugar Land and eventually got picked up by the Padres where he's really starting to feel like a pitcher.

"I think the last two seasons I've gotten quite a few innings under my belt, and I'm getting the hang of it," Lane said.

Lane, who has a .241 career batting average along with 61 home runs and 189 RBIs, also said his experience as a hitter gives him that edge on know what batters might be expecting or looking for in certain situations.

"I know how hard it is to hit, so I know the importance of throwing strikes and attacking guys because it's not easy," Lane said.

After spending plenty of time in the big leagues, Lane said he would love to get back up there for the first time since 2007 no matter what the avenue is.

With his ability to hit already, as long as he's able to perfect his pitching, Murphy feels like Lane would be a great National League player. And even though the transition will continue to be tough, Murphy knows Lane is more than capable.

"Few people can do it; I think he can," Murphy said. "He's just that talented."


• What: Salt Lake at Padres

• When: 6:05 p.m., doubleheader

• Radio: 1290-AM

¡tus padres!

Salt Lake 4, Tucson 2

• Highlights: Eddy Rodriguez hit three doubles but grounded out with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

• Big number: 16. Tucson stranded 16 runners.

• Tonight's starters: Game 1: Tucson RHP Brandon Kloess (2-4, 4.03 ERA) vs. LHP Dustin Richardson, (4-1, 4.41 ERA); Game 2: Tucson RHP Jorge Reyes (5-3, 4.68 ERA) vs. RHP Eric Cendejas (0-0, 4.32 ERA)

Daniel Gaona