PEORIA, Ariz. -- Andy Green departed Padres camp in Peoria extremely pleased with the level of competition this spring -- the highest in his three years as manager. That, of course, also means Green leaves Peoria with some difficult decisions still to be made ahead of Thursday's opener against Milwaukee.The
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Andy Green departed Padres camp in Peoria extremely pleased with the level of competition this spring -- the highest in his three years as manager. That, of course, also means Green leaves Peoria with some difficult decisions still to be made ahead of Thursday's opener against Milwaukee.
The Padres' roster crunch this spring is unlike any in Green's tenure. There are no Rule 5 picks to work around. There are fewer aging veterans with places already secure. For the most part, a handful of youngsters were given opportunities to compete this spring. And compete they did.
"It's been a really intense Spring Training, and it's been very competitive," Green said. "I like that intensity a lot."
It comes on the heels of a busy offseason, in which the Padres signed first baseman Eric Hosmer to a franchise-record deal and traded for third baseman Chase Headley, shortstop Freddy Galvis and right-hander Bryan Mitchell.
Here's a breakdown of how things stand with the Padres entering the 2018 season.
Projected Opening Day lineup
1. Manuel Margot, CF
- William Myers, RF
- Eric Hosmer, 1B
- Jose Pirela, LF
- Chase Headley, 3B
- Carlos Asuaje, 2B
- Freddy Galvis, SS
- Austin Hedges, C
- Clayton Richard, P
• Margot is expected to serve as the Padres' leadoff man and table-setter this season. They'd like to see him reach base at a higher clip than his .313 mark last year. If he does, his elite speed will wreak havoc on the basepaths.
• Pirela will spend the majority of his playing time in left field. But he could rotate to second base against some tough left-handers, getting the bat of righty-hitting Hunter Renfroe into the lineup.
• Fresh off an offseason contract extension, Brad Hand is again slated to serve as the Padres' closer. But he'll do so in a less-than-traditional role. Green said he wouldn't hesitate to use the lefty Hand in the seventh or eighth inning if it's dictated by the matchups.
• In his final spring start, right-hander Dinelson Lamet sustained a flexor strain in his right elbow and will begin the season on the DL. Initially, Lamet had been slated to start Game 2 of the season against Milwaukee. Tyson Ross, Robbie Erlin and rookie Joey Lucchesi are options to take his place.
• No. 10 prospect Franchy Cordero was destined for a prominent role in the Padres outfield, even as a backup. Instead, he was slowed by groin tightness at the end of camp and won't return to action for another week or two.
• The Padres haven't yet decided how to use lefty Matt Strahm, who arrived via trade last July. Whether he's a starter or a reliever, his workload isn't built up enough for either role, and he'll begin the year on the DL.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.