Padres turn to Gyorko to play shortstop

Padres turn to Gyorko to play shortstop

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' never-ending pursuit of attempting to find an answer at shortstop led them to a familiar face Monday -- second baseman Jedd Gyorko.

Gyorko got the start there Monday as the Padres beat the Braves, 5-3, at Petco Park.

Gyorko was tested several times. He made a nice diving play on a ball hit up the middle by A.J. Pierzynski in the fourth inning, getting to his feet to make the throw to first base just in time for the out. 

"It felt good. I felt more comfortable than I thought I would," said Gyorko, who last played the position in 2010 while at West Virginia University. "I think I did a good job to help us get by."

Gyorko, who had only played third base and second base as a professional, said before the game that he was confident in the new role, a position he played growing up.

"I have played short my whole life," Gyorko said.

Gyorko is the fourth different shortstop the Padres have used this season, as Alexi Amarista, Clint Barmes and Will Middlebrooks, now in Triple-A, have gotten starts there.

San Diego interim manager Pat Murphy said the move became more than just a thought when infielder Cory Spangenberg was activated from the disabled list Friday.

Spangenberg started at second base Monday, with Yangervis Solarte at third base.

"We want to get those three guys [Gyorko, Solarte and Spangenberg] on the field [at the same time]," Murphy said.

"We looked at all three of them and how to get them on the field and not let it affect too many other positions. We think [Gyorko will] catch the ball, throw it over [to first] accurately."

Gyorko said he talked with Murphy before the Padres' recent road trip to Denver, which concluded Sunday.

"Obviously Pat has confidence in me, and I have enough confidence in myself to play the position. I'm ready to go and play the game, ready to go out and make the plays -- make the routine plays, and the game will take care of itself," Gyorko said.

Gyorko has been practicing taking ground balls at the position, trying to get in as many reps as he can.

"I have been working with [third-base coach Glenn Hoffman, who works with the infielders] a lot, obviously talking to [Barmes] a little, too. [Barmes] has been great trying to teach me the ropes a little bit and guide me along," Gyorko said.

Gyorko is aware of the challenges that come with changing to a new position, but added that he has been feeling more comfortable as he continues to practice.

"There is a longer throw and guys are going to get down the line a bit faster," he said. "My internal clock has to speed up a little bit. Other than that, just moving my feet and making a good throw."

Could Murphy envision using Gyorko more at shortstop than second base the rest of the season, and could it possibly serve as an audition for 2016?

"We've got to see if our hunch is right first, that he can handle the routine play," Murphy said before Monday's win. "We've got every reason to think that."

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