PEORIA, Ariz. -- If manager Bud Black was hoping the first few Cactus League games would provide some clarity to the myriad of possibilities for the Padres' bench, he was dead wrong. If anything, the bench situation is every bit as muddled as when camp started, although that's not entirely a bad situation as strong early performances by the bench candidates have made for good competition. "I think they have all shown very well," Black said of the host of players who are vying for possibly three spots on the bench, aside from the backup catcher and first baseman Tony Clark. "I think they all realize the opportunities for positions on our team."More
Callix Crabbe -- a Rule 5 Draft pick in December from the Brewers -- continues to show a live bat as well as the ability to play everywhere in the infield (except first base) as well as the outfield. Black said he'll see more time in the outfield moving forward. Crabbe drove in a run Tuesday against the Giants with a line-drive single to center field with a runner on third and one out, a plus for any hitter. He's hitting .385 in 13 at-bats so far. "The versatility is a big plus for him," Black said "There's a short little quick stroke. He puts the bat on the ball. He's got that line-drive, gap stroke from both sides of the plate that looks pretty good." He's not the only one, as Edgar Gonzalez and Luis Rodriguez (both hitting .625 in eight at-bats) have played well early and play several positions. In the outfield, Chase Headley (.600 in 10 at-bats) and Paul McAnulty (.375 in eight at-bats with two home runs) continue to push for spots on the roster, as have Chip Ambres (.500, eight at-bats) and Jody Gerut (.375, eight at-bats). Feeling strong: There are typical aches and pains players work through during Spring Training but, to this point, pitcher Chris Young hasn't felt any. Young's offseason workout routine included a focus on his core strength, taking care of his back and oblique, two problems areas for him last spring. Young even incorporated pilates into his workout regimen. "The biggest difference is I haven't felt any soreness," he said. "My legs haven't been stiff, my back hasn't been stiff. I normally go through a phase where my legs get really sore, my hips get really sore and the back is stiff. ... Maybe the offseason program has something to do with that. Only time will tell."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less