Bethancourt to debut Wednesday on mound

Green encouraged by early signs from catcher's pitching during camp

Bethancourt to debut Wednesday on mound

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Christian Bethancourt, the batter, made his first Cactus League appearance on Monday against the Angels. But it wasn't the highly-anticipated debut everyone is waiting for.

That comes Wednesday, when Bethancourt, the pitcher, takes the mound in game action for the first time since the Padres began their attempt to convert him into a pitcher-catcher hybrid.

The 25-year-old right-hander will pitch his first Cactus League inning during one of San Diego's split-squad games. It's unclear whether he'll pitch in Peoria against the A's or in Scottsdale against the Rockies.

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Bethancourt threw live batting practice on Sunday, showcasing his mid-90s fastball while mixing in a handful of changeups and sliders.

"His live BP was solid yesterday," Padres manager Andy Green said. "It was a step in the right direction. He still has a lot of steps to take to pitch effectively at the Major League level. But there were encouraging signs."

Bethancourt's versatility could prove pivotal on a Padres roster that features three Rule 5 selections and a logjam of middle infielders. The Padres have plans to use him as a fifth outfielder, as well.

Bethancourt on his velocity

While he's going to see game action, Bethancourt's offspeed pitches need a bit of fine-tuning before they're big league ready.

"He oversells the changeup and really decelerates the arm sometimes," Green said. "The slider will spin sometimes, other times it bites. ... Just inconsistency, which is what you expect one, early in camp, but two, very early in his pitching career."

Bethancourt went 0-for-1 with a walk while serving as the Padres' designated hitter against the Angels during Monday's 5-3 defeat. He has yet to catch a Cactus League game this spring.

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