Medica adjusting well to new role in outfield
SAN DIEGO -- Rookie Tommy Medica made the Padres 25-man Opening Day roster on the strength of his big spring, offensively.
However, Medica's ability to take to left field in Spring Training drills and later games certainly added to his versatility.
"He's done a nice job over the last three and a half weeks of getting up to speed as soon as possible in left field," said Padres manager Bud Black. "There's a little bit of left field in his past, but not a lot."
Medica got the start in left Sunday against the Dodgers and handled the two fly balls that were hit to him -- Juan Uribe in the fifth inning and Adrian Gonzalez in the sixth inning -- just fine before Chris Denorfia moved from right field to left field in the top of the ninth inning.
Medica, a former catcher who has primarily been a first baseman in the Minor Leagues, appeared in one game in the outfield last season for Double-A San Antonio. But he took well to outfield drills in Arizona and then played well enough during games to the point where the coaching staff was comfortable with him there.
"He's a guy who is athletic, he can run, his hands are fine. The things you worry about are the routes and the angles," Black said. "But he's fearless, not tentative, he's not scared off and he has no apprehension.
"I think he's looking at it as a great challenge. The component of switching positions is not that easy. We will see how it goes, but we want his bat in the lineup."
Medica hit .324 this spring, leading the team in hits (22) and at-bats (68). He also had three home runs and eight RBIs. Medica, who wasn't in the lineup on Tuesday, went 1-for-3 in the opener on Sunday.