Hundley working hard despite limited playing time
SAN DIEGO -- The season is barely three weeks old, yet it has become evident that on a team with three catchers, Nick Hundley is the odd-man out.
Does Hundley, who has played in eight of the team's first 17 games, feel that his days in San Diego are numbered?
"It's a fair question," Hundley said before Saturday's game against the Giants. "Going into the season, this isn't the way I thought it would shake-out. It's not the ideal situation."
San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes has previously stated that he didn't think the team would carry three catchers all season. And with outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin set to come off the disabled list in the next month, if not sooner, dropping or trading a catcher would seem logical.
"When we get to a point where [Cameron] Maybin and [Carlos] Quentin are ready to come off the DL, then we'll have to decide what to do. That's a spot we'll have to take a look at," Byrnes said.
Hundley, a second-round pick in 2005 out of the University of Arizona, has a deeper history with manager Bud Black than anyone in the clubhouse other than Chase Headley.
Hundley, who has four hits in 15 at-bats this season, has appeared in the fourth-most games in franchise history at catcher (457) since breaking into the big leagues in 2008.
Yasmani Grandal, who is hitting .355, is the team's primary starting catcher, even though he's not yet to the point where he's caught consecutive games after coming off knee surgery last August.
Rene Rivera, who has a strong reputation among the Padres' pitchers, is getting most of the reps as the backup catcher.
As for Hundley, who is making $4 million this season in the final year of a three-year contract he signed in 2012, he's trying to spend his time working on his framing skills and trying to keep his swing current with a lot of early work.
"The only thing I can control is my game. I feel my game is sharp, I've never caught better, I feel like I've never swung the bat better," he said.
Hundley has worked with assistant general manager A.J. Hinch on receiving the ball in a better fashion. He's worked with hitting coach Phil Plantier on keeping his swing mechanics as well.
If the team is indeed trying to shop him, he's not concerned about it.
"I can't look that far ahead," he said.