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Bethancourt decides to pitch in Triple-A

Padres see right-hander's future on mound, not at catcher
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Pitcher/catcher Christian Bethancourt has told the Padres he's willing to go to the Minor Leagues and continue his development as a pitcher. He reported to Triple-A El Paso on Thursday, as the Padres concluded a four-game series against the D-backs at Chase Field.

Padres manager Andy Green said he and the club's baseball operations executives were pleased by Bethancourt's decision. Bethancourt was outrighted to El Paso on Tuesday and given a few days to decide whether he wanted to pitch or catch.

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PHOENIX -- Pitcher/catcher Christian Bethancourt has told the Padres he's willing to go to the Minor Leagues and continue his development as a pitcher. He reported to Triple-A El Paso on Thursday, as the Padres concluded a four-game series against the D-backs at Chase Field.

Padres manager Andy Green said he and the club's baseball operations executives were pleased by Bethancourt's decision. Bethancourt was outrighted to El Paso on Tuesday and given a few days to decide whether he wanted to pitch or catch.

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Bethancourt was told by general manager A.J. Preller, who handled those discussions with Bethancourt, that the organization viewed his future on the mound, not behind the plate.

"He said that he would pitch, and we're happy with that decision on his part," Green said. "We're glad that he feels the same way we feel about it. A.J. had taken that off my plate. That was more like an organizational decision. It's something we've invested the last couple of months in, and that's the way we see him in the future."

This spring, the Padres experimented using Bethancourt at both positions. He was batting .143 (1-for-7) in eight games in the regular season. On the mound, he made four appearances, amassing a 14.73 ERA by allowing nine runs (six earned) on six hits, with eight walks and two strikeouts, over 3 2/3 innings.

The 25-year-old right-hander caught 114 games from 2014-16 for the Braves and Padres. In his career, Bethancourt has batted .222 with eight homers and 46 RBIs.

Green said the Padres couldn't give Bethancourt the innings he needed in the Majors to develop control and placement of pitches. He will get that opportunity in El Paso.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

San Diego Padres, Christian Bethancourt