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Young Urias giving Friars something to consider

Could club's No. 3 prospect make second-base battle a 3-player race?
MLB.com @alysonfooter

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A quick glance at the Padres' depth chart at second base suggests Luis Urias will have to wait a bit longer to crack the Major League roster.

His early spring performances, however, have added some intrigue to a position battle that perhaps is not limited to just two players.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- A quick glance at the Padres' depth chart at second base suggests Luis Urias will have to wait a bit longer to crack the Major League roster.

His early spring performances, however, have added some intrigue to a position battle that perhaps is not limited to just two players.

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The main competition at second has been between Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje since camp opened, and that is expected to continue through the remainder of Cactus League play. Asuaje, who slashed .357/.412/.714 through the first week of spring games and added an RBI single Sunday against the White Sox, may have a slight edge, with Spangenberg just now getting into more of a groove after missing time with a jammed left wrist.

But Urias, the Padres' No. 3 prospect who has been ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 36th best in all of baseball, is doing his best to turn this position battle into a three-man race.

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"My goal is to make the big leagues, obviously," Urias said. "If I had a chance to start this year, it would be awesome for me. During the season, end of the season, I'd like to be in the big leagues."

He's certainly giving the decision-makers something to ponder.

Entering Sunday's split-squad action, the 20-year-old Urias, who signed with the Padres out of Mexico in 2013, had seven hits -- including five doubles -- in 13 spring at-bats. His 1.548 OPS easily dwarfs those of his teammates who have logged double-digits in plate appearances.

"His at-bats," manager Andy Green said, "have been scary good."

So far, Urias is justifying scouting reports lauding his knowledge of the strike zone and advanced pitch recognition. In any given at-bat, he's either smashing a hittable pitch or showing discipline by laying off pitches best left alone.

Green marveled at one plate appearance recently that included a 2-2 slider down in the zone that would cause many hitters to lunge.

"It's well-located, well-executed," Green said. "He doesn't even look like he's tempted to swing at it."

Tweet from @MLBPipeline: Another double for 20-year-old #Padres phenom Luis Urias. That's 3 in 6 #SpringTraining at-bats. No. 36 on @MLB's #Top100Prospects list: https://t.co/TuTZgd5PTS pic.twitter.com/CR6KnGOwPf

In the next sentence, Green lauded Urias for hitting a double "off every wall in the Cactus League. He's been really impressive."

Even if it's too early to officially declare second base a battle among three players instead of two, Urias' efforts have been noticed.

"He's going to be good," Green said. "We know that. Those three second basemen, they're pushing each other and they know the guy next to him is a good baseball player."

Injury updates

• Left fielder Alex Dickerson, who has been sidelined most of camp with elbow soreness, is not close to returning to practice or game action. The same goes for right-hander Colin Rea, who has been shut down with a sore right shoulder.

Matt Szczur, however, is "dangerously close" to appearing in a spring game, according to Green. He was expected to go through a full morning workout on Sunday.

• Spangenberg (wrist) was the Padres' DH on Sunday against the White Sox. He will be off Monday, and, if all goes well, will play in the field on Tuesday.

Up next

The Padres will play their first night game of the spring on Monday when they host the D-backs at Peoria Stadium at 6:40 p.m. MST. Rotation hopeful Dinelson Lamet will start and closer Brad Hand, whose only appearance this spring was in a "B" game earlier last week, is slated for his first official Cactus League outing.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

San Diego Padres, Luis Urias