Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Outfield still an issue for the Padres

Now, I know a lot of you Padre fans have been scratching your head at the Padres' outfield since spring training last season. Here we are again, not real sure who the starter in left field is going to be or even if it's going to be a platoon situation.

The candidates are Scott Hairston, who really put the Padres in the position to face Colorado in game # 163, Chase Headley, a converted 3rd baseman who hasn't seen time in the outfield since his days at the University of Tennessee, Jeff DaVanon, a former Angel with injury problems, possibly Tony Clark, who has already taken fly balls in the outfield and a guy I was rooting for last season in Paul McAnulty.

Here's the problem I see. You have Jim Edmonds in center, if he goes down, who fills in for him? Hairston? I know Padre fans, myself included, aren't exactly thrilled at the idea of Hairston in center field. There had been talk about young 2nd base prospect Matt Antonelli possibly getting a look because of his speed, but he's never played the outfield.

How about right field? Brian Giles is coming off micro fracture surgery this past offseason and may not have the kind of speed and agility he used to have to cover the right center gap. Is he going to need a lot of help from Jim Edmonds?

As far as I'm concerned, Hairston is probably the shoe-in for the left field starting job, backed up by Jeff DaVanon until Chase Headley is ready. I think you need to have Headley start the year in Portland, let him see some game situations in left field and see how he reacts to those situations before you throw him out there in the big leagues. DaVanon has big league experience, as does McAnulty, but as much as I like the big guy I don't see him making the team. Mac is more fitted towards an AL club because of the DH.

The infield is going to be as good as any in the National League. Adrian Gonzalez (1st), Tadahito Iguchi (2nd), Kevin Kouzmanoff (3rd) and Khalil Greene (SS) rounding out the infield. I can't think of better guys to have behind ground ball pitchers like Greg Maddux, Chris Young and Randy Wolf.

This is going to be an exciting year for the San Diego Padres, one I think us fans will really enjoy!

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