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.
After battling through wrist, back, calf, finger and hand injuries during his time with Boston,
"It was tough," Middlebrooks said Tuesday, per the Associated Press. "It was a process of learning what I can play through and what I couldn't. My mentality is if I can go at all, I'm going to try to play. And I feel like that kind of played against me last year."
After being the opening day starter at third base for two years with Boston, injuries muddled his opportunity to make an impact.
"I learned my lesson. I learned how to take care of myself a little better," Middlebrooks said. "Now I know, but unfortunately I learned the hard way."
The Padres are hoping a fresh start will allow Middlebrooks to reach the potential he failed to achieve in Boston.
"His swing is powerful. Lot of power to all fields," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We saw what he did in 2012 before he got injured. We think where he is age-wise, there's a lot of potential."
"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."
Hanigan, 34, is signed for two more seasons with a team option for 2017. He hit .218/.318/.324 with five home runs and 34 RBI in 225 at-bats in 2014.
Middlebrooks, 26, is eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2015 season. He hit .191/.256/.265 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 215 at-bats in 2014.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|9/28/2014 vs N.Y. Yankees|
|vs N.Y. Yankees||11||1||0||.091||.182||.091|
|vs Pineda (Career)||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 5 || 6 |
| 7 |
| 8 |
| 9 |
| 10 |
| 12 |
| 13 |
| 14 |
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| 16 || 17 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Postseason Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2010||AFA-Salem Red Sox||114||435||69||120||31||2||12||70||35||121||5||3||.331||.439||.276|
|2011||AA-Portland Sea Dogs||96||371||54||112||25||1||18||80||21||95||6||0||.345||.520||.302|
|2011||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||16||56||4||9||0||0||2||8||3||18||3||1||.200||.268||.161|
|2012||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||24||93||18||31||3||1||9||27||7||18||3||1||.380||.677||.333|
|2013||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||45||179||25||48||5||0||10||35||16||38||1||0||.327||.464||.268|
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