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Green bullish on Hedges despite slow start

Manager praises catcher's skills behind the plate
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Austin Hedges got his first hit of the season Wednesday in Colorado.  The dribbler up the third-base line came after 24 hitless at-bats.      

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Austin Hedges got his first hit of the season Wednesday in Colorado.  The dribbler up the third-base line came after 24 hitless at-bats.      

But if you were concerned, Padres manager Andy Green wasn't. Just the opposite. Green isn't worried about Hedges' hitting. But he is extremely high on the 24-year-old's play behind the plate.      

"I couldn't possibly be more pleased with him as a competitor right now," Green said earlier this week of Hedges.

"If [Hedges' 0-for-24 start] happens in the middle of a baseball season, no one thinks about it. At the start, it can become an oppressive weight for a guy. But it hasn't affected Hedges' play behind the plate a bit.    

"You can see looking into his eyes, the intensity he has behind the plate. Pitchers feed off that. They believe in that. They know he's doing his homework. They know he is studying hitters. They know he has a game plan. They know he cares about receiving. They know he cares about their success. 

"He shows that in every bit of his body language and every bit of his decision-making. That's a winning baseball player. What's going to be consistent, what you can rely on and bank on as a manager, is that he's locked in all the time behind the plate. I couldn't be happier with Austin Hedges."   

Plus, Green has confidence in Hedges the hitter.      

"I don't care about the hits right now, but the hits will come in time. He hit .326 in the [Triple-A] Pacific Coast League last season with 21 homers [in 82 games].

"He's taking good swings. He's hit some balls hard. He's off just a little bit, sure. But it's going to come around."

For the record, Hedges is hitting .037 (1-for-27) with two walks and nine strikeouts. He has an RBI off a successful squeeze bunt.

GAME NOTES

• 1B Wil Myers is off to a .400 start after 10 games, going 16-for-40 with four doubles, two triples and three homers for nine RBIs and 10 runs scored. Myers has a .825 slugging percentage and a .419 on-base percentage for a 1.244 OPS. Myers was 7-for-10 in the three games at Coors Field with two doubles, two triples and a homer for four RBIs and four runs scored.

• Wednesday's shutout of the Rockies marked only the fourth by the Padres at Coors Field and the first since July 1, 2012. The six runs allowed by the Padres in the series were the second-fewest allowed by Padres pitchers in a three-game series at Coors Field. The Padres allowed three runs in a three-game series at Coors Field Sept. 19-21, 2011.

• In the three games at Coors Field, Padres pitchers allowed six runs on 15 hits and 11 walks with 22 strikeouts in 27 innings. That's a 2.00 ERA. The three Padres starting pitchers - Jarred Cosart, Jered Weaver and Zach Lee - gave up two runs on 10 hits and five walks with 10 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings.

• CF Manuel Margot is 10-for-25 with three doubles, three homers, four RBIs and seven runs scored in a six-game hitting streak. It is the longest hitting streak by a Padres player this season. Two of his three homers opened games for the Padres. Margot is hitting .325 (13-for-40) on the season with a .372 on-base percentage and a .650 slugging percentage for a 1.022 OPS after 10 games.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

San Diego Padres