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Asuaje makes case to stick with big league club

Rookie second baseman has first career three-hit game vs. Braves
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- This time, Carlos Asuaje hopes he's here to stay.

The Padres second baseman received another big league callup Friday -- the third of his young career, but the first in which there's no clear end in sight. Asuaje has raked since, recording his first career three-hit game on Wednesday night, as the Padres rolled to a 7-4 victory over the Braves.

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SAN DIEGO -- This time, Carlos Asuaje hopes he's here to stay.

The Padres second baseman received another big league callup Friday -- the third of his young career, but the first in which there's no clear end in sight. Asuaje has raked since, recording his first career three-hit game on Wednesday night, as the Padres rolled to a 7-4 victory over the Braves.

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"I'm just trying to make the most of it while I'm here," Asuaje said. "Obviously I don't know how long I'll be here, but I'm trying to make the most of it, when it comes to that."

Thus far, he's taken his opportunity and run with it. In five games, Asuaje is 7-for-18 with a pair of walks.

The fact that he's finally getting a serious opportunity certainly helps. Asuaje was a late-September callup last season, but played only sporadically. Earlier this year he was recalled for just two days when the Padres had a roster opening before they needed a fifth starter.

In that instance, Asuaje received only two pinch-hit plate appearances. This time around, the club's No. 9 prospect has started all five games, compiling critical big league at-bats.

"It's all experience-based for me," Asuaje said. "From an offensive standpoint, the more pitches you can see, the tendencies you see from pitchers and clubs, you learn a little bit about yourself."

The Padres acquired Asuaje from Boston in the Craig Kimbrel deal in November 2015. He tore through Triple-A in his first season in the organization, batting .321/.378/.473 en route to being named Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year.

At 25, Asuaje appeared ready for a crack at the big leagues in 2017. But with a logjam at second base, the opportunity simply wasn't there early in the year.

Then, the Minor League season began, and Asuaje got off to a sluggish start, batting just .221 at the time of his first callup.

In his last month at Triple-A, however, Asuaje batted .308, while posting a .905 OPS in June. And when Yangervis Solarte went down with an oblique strain, it was Asuaje's name that got called.

"Early in the season, I was definitely searching for hits instead of searching for quality at-bats," Asuaje said. "That's not something I was accustomed to doing. Once you start searching for hits, you start swinging for pitches that you shouldn't be swinging at, and you get frustrated a lot easier when you make outs.

"When you're struggling, it's not easy to sit back and say, 'I'm trusting the process, it'll come.' But it's something you've got to maintain. You have to maintain your routines and stick through it really."

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

San Diego Padres, Carlos Asuaje