Urias playing for Mexico a 'dream come true'

Padres infield prospect added to team this week

Urias playing for Mexico a 'dream come true'

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Luis Urias has dreamed of playing at Petco Park since he signed out of Mexico in 2013.

The 19-year-old prospect is still a longshot to do so for the Padres in 2017. But he could end up playing ball in the East Village very soon anyway.

That's because Urias learned Thursday he'll be a backup infielder on Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic next month.

"I was very excited," said Urias, who received the news in a phone call Thursday night. "It's like a dream coming true for me."

Urias, arguably the fastest-rising prospect in the Padres' system -- he's currently the team's 11th-ranked prospect -- is coming off a season in which he batted .333/.404/.446 and won the California League MVP Award for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore.

If Mexico finishes as one of the top two teams in its pool in the opening round, Urias and Co. will advance to the second round at Petco Park March 14-19.

"That's the goal," said Urias, who joins seven other Padres already listed on various World Baseball Classic rosters. "We've got a tough group with good opponents, with Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Italy. But it would be exciting to play there at Petco. It's not going to be easy, but to represent the Padres, it would be fun."

It's going to be an interesting month for Urias, who is in his first big league camp and back at shortstop. He has spent most of the past couple seasons playing second base, where many view him long-term.

Asked where he thinks he fits best, Urias said, "To be honest, I see myself as a shortstop," before pausing for a split second.

"And a second baseman. And a third baseman. I would like to play everything," he added.

Urias might profile best at second. But his quickest path to the Majors is undoubtedly at short, where the Padres have been searching for a reliable presence for nearly a decade.

"The way our roster is broken down, we've got a lot of options at second and at third down the line," said Padres manager Andy Green. "At the upper levels, [we have] minimal options at shortstop right now."

There are far fewer questions about Urias' bat -- especially since his conversation with Jose Altuve during an exhibition game in Mexico City last spring.

Altuve, a similarly diminutive middle infielder, told Urias about the power he derived from his leg kick. Urias then implemented a kick of his own around midseason last year. After hitting only one homer before the All-Star break -- an inside-the-parker -- he hit five afterward.

This season, Urias likely will open the year at Double-A San Antonio, where he'll be one of the youngest players in the Texas League. That hasn't bothered him before.

"To be honest, I've never cared about that," Urias said. "I've heard a lot of people asking me about [my age]. It's nice to hear, but to be honest, I don't really care. I just try to play."

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.