Hot-hitting Hedges likely to begin in Triple-A

Padres manager Green mulls over which players will occupy open bench spots

Hot-hitting Hedges likely to begin in Triple-A

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Manager Andy Green didn't announce any roster moves during his pregame media session Saturday, but he managed to add some clarity to the wide-open battle for the Padres' available bench spots.

Green said it's "highly unlikely" San Diego will carry three catchers to start the season, meaning -- barring a transaction -- Austin Hedges would probably start the season at Triple-A.

Green also added that he doesn't expect to start the year with five primary outfielders on the roster, but it remains a possibility.

Padres Spring Training information

Here's a breakdown of what that means for each of those spots:

Catcher

Prior to Saturday, Hedges might have been the Padres' most impressive offensive performer of the spring, hitting .300 with a pair of homers. He's been solid behind the plate, as well.

But starting catcher Derek Norris and backup Christian Bethancourt have looked good, too. In fact, the top three San Diego catchers combined for an .884 OPS entering Saturday's game.

With the position seemingly a strength, no matter what the Padres choose, they want to make sure the 23-year-old Hedges stays active during the season.

"For his development to be relegated to one time a week on a baseball field or maybe two times a week on a baseball field -- that's just not in the best interests of this organization," Green said.

Outfield

Matt Kemp and Jon Jay have, in essence, been confirmed as starters for the Padres, and Melvin Upton Jr. is the favorite to win the left-field job. (He'll be on the roster regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench.)

Given the value Green has placed on versatility, that makes it unlikely both Jabari Blash and Travis Jankowski make the club because each player is limited to the outfield. Blash has the upper hand as a Rule 5 Draft pick who must remain on the roster for the entire season.

Blash's solo shot

Infield/utility

Jemile Weeks could be playing his way into a roster spot, with his team-leading .478 batting average and 1.259 OPS entering Saturday. But his chances at making the club might come down to his ability to play shortstop.

If, as Green hinted, the Padres open the season with two catchers and four outfielders, that would leave two utility jobs available. Alexi Amarista, Adam Rosales, Jemile Weeks and Jose Pirela fit the bill.

"It always helps if you're looking at a roster and you have an Amarista, Rosales or Weeks that bounce in and out," Green said. "That gives you a lot of versatility. Five outfielders is a possibility. I just don't know how likely that is."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.