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Cousins reunited in Padres outfield

@AJCassavell
March 29, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- If Franchy Cordero's father wasn't given his mother's last name at birth, Franchy Cordero wouldn't be Franchy Cordero at all. "I'd be Franchy Brito," he said with a laugh. Brito -- like Sócrates Brito, the Padres' newest outfielder. Yes, Cordero and Brito own two of baseball's coolest

SAN DIEGO -- If Franchy Cordero's father wasn't given his mother's last name at birth, Franchy Cordero wouldn't be Franchy Cordero at all.

"I'd be Franchy Brito," he said with a laugh.

Brito -- like Sócrates Brito, the Padres' newest outfielder.

Yes, Cordero and Brito own two of baseball's coolest first names, but the similarities don't end there. They're both lefty-hitting outfielders with raw speed and power tools that border on elite. That's no coincidence. They are related, after all.

The fathers of Cordero and Brito are cousins. Technically that makes them second cousins, but they always skipped that qualifier growing up together in Azua on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.

"We live in the same town, we practice together in the offseason. It's just really cool to be here with him," Brito said.

There might be an uncomfortable family moment forthcoming. When the Padres claimed Brito on Wednesday, it gave them six outfielders. They're going make a roster move Saturday, when Nick Margevicius will be called up to take the final rotation spot.

If Cordero and Brito are so similar, it stands to reason there wouldn't be room for both on the Padres bench. Cordero could head to Triple-A, with the 26-year-old Brito out of options.

But there's more behind that decision. Cordero struggled in Spring Training, and the Padres would love to get him regular at-bats. The 24-year-old had his season cut short last May because of elbow surgery. Some time at Triple-A might help Cordero find his form from last April.

That said, both could still remain on the roster. Each brings speed, defense and an ability to play center field -- valuable attributes for bench players. They're also left-handed hitters in an outfield with three righty-hitting starters. Hunter Renfroe could be the odd man out. Maybe a bullpen arm.

In any case, the Padres are clearly pleased to have the two cousins on board. Skipper Andy Green has experience with both, having managed Brito at two levels of the Minors, then Cordero in San Diego. He didn't learn they were related until Wednesday.

"They both can fly, they both have real pop," Green said. "They have similarities in the way they play the game, too -- both play hard.

"When I was in Arizona's organization, and you're talking home-to-third, everybody's talking Socrates Brito. When he hit a triple in the gap, everyone sits up and watches him run. Over here, when Franchy hits a triple in the gap, everybody sits up and watches him run. It's eerie how similar they are."

Not eerie at all. It just runs in the family.

Renfroe's role undefined

The Padres have faced lefties Madison Bumgarner and Derek Holland in their first two games. They've kept Renfroe on the bench.

The righty-hitting slugger has excellent numbers against both, and he's torched lefties throughout his career. If he's not starting against Bumgarner and Holland, it's fair to ask what role Renfroe has on the roster.

The Padres are still mapping that out. Wil Myers and Franmil Reyes are starters in the corners. The experiment to use Myers as a center fielder never panned out, leaving Renfroe, the team's best hitter last year, as a big-time pinch-hit bat.

"Whatever I can do to help the team win, that's the whole goal," Renfroe said. "Whether I'm starting, coming off the bench or high-fiving guys. I don't care. As long as I'm here, I'm going to do something to help the team win."

Green added that Renfroe, who posted an .805 OPS and led the team with 26 homers last year, should work his way into the lineup plans at some point.

"We love Hunter, we think he's going to be a lethal bat for us at times," Green said. "There are going to be times when he gets a consistent run. We're trying to figure it out -- it isn't just a pure matchups thing. Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes all stack up favorably against left-handed pitching. Somebody's got to be off to the side."

Noteworthy

• Margevicius arrived in San Diego on Friday, ahead of his Saturday debut. He came out of nowhere this spring to win the final place in the Padres' rotation, despite never having pitched above Class A Advanced.

"They said we don't care [where you've played], just go out and show us, go do it," Margevicius said. "I believed them 100 percent every day. They never gave me a reason to not believe them. 'Appreciative' is the right word."

• Austin Hedges received his second consecutive start behind the plate Friday. Francisco Mejia, the team's No. 4 prospect, could start Saturday. There's no obvious platoon advantages available between the two, and Green will continue making decisions day by day.

• The Padres face their first righty starter Saturday in Dereck Rodriguez. Green hinted that lefty-hitting Eric Hosmer will likely slide to the No. 2 spot in the order, with Myers potentially dropping from second to fifth.

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