d'Arnaud making most of playing time

d'Arnaud making most of playing time

SAN DIEGO -- In parts of six big league seasons, regular playing time has eluded Chase d'Arnaud.

The Padres' shortstop might finally be getting just that, and he's determined to make the most of it.

Since the Padres claimed d'Arnaud off waivers on May 21, he's dazzled defensively, while going 3-for-14 at the plate. He appears to have overtaken Erick Aybar for the starting shortstop job, though the Padres maintain both will see playing time going forward.

"I just come to the park, I look and see what's going on with the lineup, and I go from there," said d'Arnaud, who started his third straight game on Tuesday. "I'm not one of those guys that's had a job to begin a season that was all mine. Until I get to that point, I just come ready to play anywhere every day."

d'Arnaud spent time between Atlanta and Boston this season, playing only sporadically. Tuesday was his 20th game and just his fifth start.

d'Arnaud is hitting .304 in 25 plate appearances, after making a career-high 262 last year. d'Arnaud may be off to a nice start, but he pointed out that there's plenty left to prove.

"It's all about consistency," d'Arnaud said. "You just want to come out there and keep it as simple as you can. I don't even let my brain think about these [long-term] things. I come to the field and prepare the same way and not let my brain go there. And I've learned that's the best thing for my success."

When the Padres claimed d'Arnaud, manager Andy Green watched video of his newest acquisition and said he instantly felt as though d'Arnaud would thrive with increased playing time at shortstop.

"It wasn't rocket science to look at him and see he could [play short]," Green said. "He's got the arm strength, the lateral mobility, he's got the want-to and he's locked in pretty well. You don't know some of those things about him until he gets here. He's looked good so far, but there's a difference between playing a couple days and grinding out month-long stretches. He's got an opportunity now in front of him, and we'll see how he handles it."

Maurer, Hand effective in 'pen

Don't call it closer by committee; call it closer by situation. The Padres will continue to split the ninth-inning role between Brandon Maurer and Brad Hand.

There are essentially two key differences with which Green will manage their time on the mound. He feels more comfortable with Hand coming into a situation with traffic already on the bases -- as was the case Monday. Plus, Hand will generally face lefties, while Maurer faces righties.

It's certainly not a traditional set-up, but Green doesn't see a downside.

"The only negative is if somebody's ego is bigger than the team," Green said. "We don't have that situation. Both these guys are mature that way. They're selfless that way. They just want to win baseball games and pitch well. The positive is that ... you don't feel obligated to pitch somebody just because they're supposed to throw in the eighth inning."

Injury update

Padres center fielder Manuel Margot underwent an MRI on his strained right calf Tuesday afternoon. It revealed inflammation in the area but no structural damage.

The club is unsure when Margot will resume baseball activities. It could be as soon as this weekend.

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.