Renfroe, Padres prospects put right 'in the fire'

Renfroe, Padres prospects put right 'in the fire'

SAN DIEGO -- Presented with a fresh crop of September callups on Wednesday afternoon, Padres manager Andy Green announced his intention to "put 'em in the fire."

He wasn't kidding.

In Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Giants, Green started all four of the highly touted young hitters who were recently promoted from Triple-A El Paso. In a game with postseason implications for San Francisco, Hunter Renfroe, Carlos Asuaje, Manuel Margot and Austin Hedges each received crucial late at-bats. Green also handed the ball to debutant Jose Torres in a one-run game in the ninth inning.

"That's the fire," Green would say afterward.

Green on Friedrich, youth

After being intentionally walked in his debut Wednesday night, Renfroe wasted no time recording his first career hit. He turned on a 2-2 slider from Jeff Samardzija in the second and roped it into left field. Three innings later, Renfroe would tack on another.

"It felt good to get it out of the way, and it felt good to be on base," Renfroe said of his first hit. "Hopefully many more [hits] to come."

Renfroe, the Padres' No. 3 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, is primarily known for two tools: his power and his arm. The latter was on display in the eighth.

In a scoreless game, Giants left fielder Angel Pagan hit a bloop into right field, which landed three feet inside the foul line. With the tying run on third base, Renfroe came up firing and may have had a play at the plate, had first baseman Wil Myers not cut the throw. It's doubtful Renfroe would've gotten Joe Panik, who was scampering home. But there aren't many outfielders capable of making that play close.

Pagan's go-ahead single

"I don't think we're accustomed to Hunter Renfroe's arm yet," Green said. "I mean, that is a very unique play to see a ball drop on the line like that and see a guy come up firing."

Margot and Asuaje -- who were acquired from Boston in last offseason's Craig Kimbrel trade -- both finished 0-for-4. Torres, meanwhile, worked around a leadoff double, tossing a scoreless ninth, while striking out a pair.

Then there's Hedges, who is not technically a prospect, because of the big league service time he accrued a year ago. He looked right at home, back in the bigs, lacing a single to center in the seventh and calling a masterful outing by Christian Friedrich.

"The first few games in the big leagues last year were definitely a whirlwind," Hedges. "Now, it's crazy to be back, but at the same time, I definitely felt a little more comfortable. Knowing a lot of these guys, playing with them last year and in Spring Training, I definitely feel welcome, and it made my job a lot easier tonight."

With inconsistent playing time, Hedges struggled mightily at the dish last season, batting just .168 in 56 games. The exit velocty on Hedges' seventh-inning missile was 107 mph -- harder than all but two of his batted balls from last season.

As for his former El Paso teammates, Hedges can certainly relate to the chaos of a first trip to the show.

"The rest of the season's going to be [a whirlwind]," he said. "That's just part of your first time in the big leagues. But it's awesome for them, so they can get those games under their belt. Next year, they should be comfortable and ready to go."

But Renfroe thinks he's already beginning to develop that sense of comfort. It came to him after his second hit.

"After that, I was just like, all right, this is it -- it's just another game, bigger stage," Renfroe said.

It's a stage on which the Padres expect to see this group of callups for a long, long time.

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