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Hard-hitting Cordero slugging way into lineup

Padres outfielder launches 5th homer in loss to Mets
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Franchy Cordero's case for playing time is about as loud as the baseballs he hits.

Sure, the Padres' outfield is crowded this season. But Cordero -- who homered again in the Padres' 5-1 loss to the Mets on Friday night -- is quickly moving to the front of that crowd.

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SAN DIEGO -- Franchy Cordero's case for playing time is about as loud as the baseballs he hits.

Sure, the Padres' outfield is crowded this season. But Cordero -- who homered again in the Padres' 5-1 loss to the Mets on Friday night -- is quickly moving to the front of that crowd.

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Cordero smashed a 2-2 fastball from Mets righty Matt Harvey over the fence in straightaway center field in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was his fifth homer of his rookie campaign -- a season in which he's already turning heads across the baseball world for his elite set of tools.

Cordero's 97-mph average exit velocity leads the Majors, and he's hit two of the season's longest home runs. Couple that with elite speed and defense, and the Padres appear committed to getting Cordero in the lineup on a regular basis.

"He's going to play," said Padres manager Andy Green. "He's earning that opportunity to play. We want to see what he can do. We'll find a way to get him out there again tomorrow, and I'd expect he's going to be out there a lot. Every single day? That depends."

Video: NYM@SD: Green on Richard's start, lineup struggles

Of course, Saturday's challenge figures to be tougher on Cordero than Friday night, when all four of his at-bats came against right-handed pitching.

Mets lefty Jason Vargas will be on the hill, and Cordero has nine strikeouts in 20 at-bats against left-handed pitching this season. He batted just .227/.242/.474 for Triple-A El Paso last year, compared with his ridiculous .358/.409/.645 splits against righties.

"I go out there with the same approach, the same sort of intensity if there's a lefty on the mound as if it were a righty," Cordero said. "Again, I have to go out there and play, earn every at-bat, work every opportunity I have."

Cordero has shown the Padres enough that they seem committed to finding him playing time in almost all circumstances -- even with Wil Myers, Manuel Margot and Jose Pirela also fighting for at-bats in the outfield.

"He's going to play a lot," Green said. "If that means Pirela's playing more second base, it means Pirela's playing more second base. Those guys are doing some really nice things for us, and Franchy's on the top of that list."

Cordero went 2-for-4 on Friday night. In the top of the second inning, he fought off a single that dropped in front of Mets center fielder Juan Lagares. It was a rare soft hit for Cordero, who has been all-or-nothing for most of the season's first month.

It could be a small sign of progress. The Padres have insisted that Cordero's violent -- yet repeatable -- swing doesn't need to be altered for him to make more contact. His selectivity does.

"The swing doesn't need to change," Green said. "What he swings at needs to change."

Cordero has taken that message to heart.

"It's about having good at-bats," Cordero said. "I honestly think that's it. I know I still have a ton of work to do and a lot of things to learn."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Franchy Cordero