Versatile Spangenberg has adjusted twice

Versatile Spangenberg has adjusted twice

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Much has been made recently about Cory Spangenberg becoming the Padres' regular left fielder since he was called up from Triple-A El Paso on April 25. 

But this is actually the 26-year-old's second position change this season.    

Remember, both Spangenberg and Ryan Schimpf were moved from second to third during the final weeks of Spring Training, when it was decided that Yangervis Solarte was better suited to play second.   

Third base was Schimpf's natural position.  

But Spangenberg had been a second baseman for most of his professional career. And now he's in left because -- before the acquisition of Matt Szczur -- both Padres left fielders, Alex Dickerson (protruding disk in his back) and Travis Jankowski (foot injury) were on the disabled list.  

Playing twice out of position hasn't seemed to affect Spangenberg at the plate. Spangenberg was 2-for-4 Tuesday to extend his career-long hitting streak to eight games (10-for-28). He is hitting .298 (14-for-47) since being recalled from El Paso.   

"Spangenberg's defense has been solid in the outfield, which is saying something for a guy who has never played outfield in his career," Green said recently.  

"He's running around catching the ball and working on it every single day. He's done a nice job out there. He's been good at third in his limited reps over there as well."   

"At the plate, he's added competitive at-bats at a consistent basis for us. He's shown the ability to make adjustments in the box. He's given us some good at-bats and we haven't had that consistently throughout the lineup. I like what he's done in the two hole since he's been there. I expect to see him there more frequently."   

Spangenberg's time in the outfield could be altered with the arrival of Szczur, who can -- and will -- play all three outfield positions.  

Szczur grounded out as a pinch-hitter in his Padres debut Tuesday. He then finished the game in left field as Spangenberg moved to second.  

Expect to see Spangenberg spending more time in the infield as well as the outfield. The arrival of Szczur gives Green the opportunity to give rookie outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe much-needed days off in addition to Solarte and Myers.  

Szczur can play center and right as well as left. And when he is in left, Spangenberg can move to second -- allowing Solarte to get a day off or move to first to give Myers a day off. Expect to see this position shuffle to start immediately as the Padres open a five-game trip to American League cities Tuesday. Solarte and Myers could get breaks as the designated hitter.  

Solarte, Myers and Margot have appeared in every game thus far. Renfroe has missed one game.  

But the arrival of Szczur and the versatility of Spangenberg gives Padres some position options they've been lacking.   

GAME NOTES  

• Tuesday afternoon marked the first time this season that the Padres have been shut out. It was also the fifth time that the opposition had scored 10 or more runs against the Padres. RHP Jered Weaver was the starter in three of those five games.

Jabari Blash was optioned to Triple-A El Paso Tuesday to make room for Szczur on the 25-man roster. Blash was hitting .103 with a solo homer and 15 strikeouts in 29 at-bats. He is now 15-for-100 as a Major Leaguer with two doubles, four homers, 20 walks and 49 strikeouts.