Padres have 'real' outfield competition with time dwindling

Kevin Acee, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Baseball

PEORIA, Ariz. — The fight is tight and time is dwindling.

Innings are at a premium in the remaining two weeks of spring training games before decisions must be made about which players are going to be in the Padres outfield.

So on Wednesday, among the first cuts of camp, the team sent outfielder Tirso Ornelas and Robert Perez Jr. to minor-league camp.

And because a fierce competition doesn't necessarily mean the competitors are going to produce well enough to help a team that expects to contend, another combatant was added.

Veteran Tim Locastro agreed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to big-league camp. He will likely appear in his first game Friday.

"Good skill set, plus runner," Padres manager Mike Shildt said. "... Knows how to play the game. So we'll add him to the mix."


The mix was already swirling in recent days.

Oscar Mercado hit two long home runs on Tuesday. Jackson Merrill walked and stole a base and broke well to track down two balls in his first start in center field. Bryce Johnson ran a long way and made a sliding catch in foul territory, holding onto the ball even as his knee crashed into the side wall.

A day earlier, Cal Mitchell homered. The day before that, Jakob Marsee doubled twice while José Azócar doubled and homered.

"The outfield competition is real," Shildt said. "I mean, where do you start?"


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