Wallace aims to land job with new-look Padres

Black says former first-round pick could be used as bench bat

Wallace aims to land job with new-look Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Pity poor Glenn Hoffman, the Padres third-base coach who works with the infielders. His hands might be covered in calluses by time the team reaches the first game of spring on Wednesday, let alone Opening Day.

The Padres have 10 players in camp who are currently getting reps at first base during drills. While many don't figure into their 2015 plans, at least one could push his way into consideration with a strong showing this spring.

Brett Wallace, the 13th-overall pick of the 2008 Draft, is in camp on a Minor League deal, trying to win a job and get back to the big leagues after spending all of last season in Triple-A, playing for the Blue Jays and Orioles' top affiliates.

"You have to believe there's a possibility you can help this team. It's my job to work as hard as I can to try and show I can help them," Wallace said.

Wallace, 28, chose the Padres over other teams where there might not have been as many first basemen in camp, but he liked the direction the franchise was headed.

"They showed interest early on and you look at the group of the guys they assembled here, the coaching staff, the job the front office has done and that they were open in what they were thinking, it started to look more and more appealing," Wallace said.

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Another pull was that Wallace played for Padres' Triple-A manager Pat Murphy for three seasons when Murphy was the head coach at Arizona State.

"That's nice having Murph here, someone already in the organization, someone I could talk to before … find out different things prior to signing," Wallace said. "And having that support system here is great."

Wallace is a .242/.313/.391 hitter in parts of four seasons with the Astros, who he joined in a trade in 2009. He was released last March by the team.

Wallace thought he found something last season that he hopes to take with him into this spring and into this season -- wherever he's playing. He hit .282/.350/.426 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs in 128 games.

"The first month last year was rough, but after that it was getting back to where I was comfortable and to where I was more natural at the plate," Wallace said. "About mid-season I was swinging it better."

While Yonder Alonso figures to get the first crack at starting at first base with Will Middlebrooks possibly seeing time there as well, Wallace could find himself in the mix.

"Bats are hard to find," said Padres manager Bud Black. "As a left-handed hitter with some power, and a natural hitter, he could be a possible bench hit."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.