"We talk about that a lot," Black said. "There really is a difference between the two leagues when you try to construct your bench. He’s a guy that fits that profile. You use two or three bench guys a night in the National League. He gives you the versatility to feel good about making a double switch and lose anything on defense. He gives you the switch hitting component offensively. Mentally he’s on board, if that is the case, where if he doesn’t start a game he’s ready to come in."
Solarte is in the mix to start at third base but should see plenty of action regardless of whether he wins the job. He is 12 for 39 with two doubles and two walks this spring.
The Padres acquired the 26-year-old Middlebrooks from the Red Sox in a December trade. He's hitting .333, with two home runs and five RBI in 10 games this spring. He's started all 10 at third base and also played third in a split-squad game.
The 27-year-old Solarte was acquired in a trade with the Yankees last July. He's also hitting .333 this spring. Solarte has six starts at third base and three each at second base and first base.
"The beauty of Solarte is that he’s able to move all over the field," Black said, "and we’ve moved him all over the field. That doesn’t discount the fact that he’s still vying for the spot at third base."
Manager Bud Black admitted third base was the "biggest" competition in camp. He said he believes both players can hack it in the majors, but was hesitant to say he would utilize them in a platoon role.
"Possibility," Black said, "but I think any player will tell you he wants to be an everyday player -- they want to play. And they’re both young, they’re both in their mid-20s. You hope it’s a tough decision at the end, but these things have a way of working themselves out."
Middlebrooks, 26, hit .191 over 215 at-bats last season. Solarte hit .260/.336/.369 over 469 at-bats.
"I'm trying to help him, he's trying to help me," Middlebrooks said. "We're working together, we're having fun and we're competing. It's for the team, and I think it'll be good if we both push each other."
Middlebrooks hit .191 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 215 plate appearances for the Red Sox in 2014.
He is also okay if he ends up playing a different position down the line.
"Third base is the priority," he said, "but wherever I can get in the lineup, wherever I can help us win some baseball games, that's what's important for me."
Meanwhile, Solarte is doing what he can to help Middlebrooks adjust to his new surroundings.
"That's competing," Solarte said. "For me, it's my teammate. I want to work hard with him and make it fun, too."
However, of that list of players, Myers is the only one assured of playing every day. He has a career .324 on-base percentage.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|9/28/2014 vs San Francisco|
|vs San Francisco||18||4||0||.222||.222||.222|
|vs Heston (Career)||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 |
| 8 |
| 9 |
| 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 |
| 15 |
| 16 || 17 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2010||AA-New Britain Rock Cat||32||127||14||35||9||0||3||19||3||18||1||1||.290||.417||.276|
|2010||AFA-Fort Myers Miracle||45||172||19||55||9||1||2||15||13||13||3||0||.371||.419||.320|
|2011||AA-New Britain Rock Cat||121||459||64||151||36||3||7||49||24||38||5||4||.367||.466||.329|
|2012||AAA-Round Rock Express||130||518||69||149||28||0||11||54||41||44||3||1||.340||.405||.288|
|2013||AAA-Round Rock Express||133||526||66||145||31||0||12||75||39||69||3||0||.323||.403||.276|
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