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Different approaches for prospect bats, arms

Young Padres hitters will take it fast, while young arms will take it slow; Cordero homers; submariner Makita nearing debut
MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With one of the Majors' youngest spring rosters, the Padres will take a different tack preparing their pitchers and their hitters over the next month.

Offensively, they've thrust their youngsters straight into the fire. A handful of top hitting prospects have taken center stage through two games, with regulars being eased along slowly.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- With one of the Majors' youngest spring rosters, the Padres will take a different tack preparing their pitchers and their hitters over the next month.

Offensively, they've thrust their youngsters straight into the fire. A handful of top hitting prospects have taken center stage through two games, with regulars being eased along slowly.

View Full Game Coverage

On the mound, however, the Padres are going to take things slower with the quartet of top prospects they've invited to camp. Cal Quantrill, Joey Lucchesi, Eric Lauer and Jacob Nix comprised an impressive Double-A rotation last season, and all four have a chance to debut later this year.

"We're looking at their season long term, not necessarily looking at how many Cactus League innings we can get them," said Padres manager Andy Green. "The expectation is, if they throw the ball the way we think they can, that some, if not all, of them will be pitching for us at the end of the year. That means the longest year they've ever had. Extending them to get them into Feb. 24-25 games doesn't make any sense."

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Prospects combined for four of San Diego's six hits in Friday's opener, including Fernando Tatis' opposite-field homer and Luis Urias' double off the wall. Josh Naylor and Javier Guerra also got in on the action with a pair of singles.

In Saturday's 8-3 loss to Oakland, however, Tatis whiffed three times in three at-bats, while Guerra and Urias botched a sixth-inning double-play ball. It won't be the last time growing pains are on display this month.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The Padres are also making a point to bring Minor Leaguers into big league camp for a glimpse into the inner workings. Friday, it was Potts. Saturday, 17-year-olds Gabriel Arias and Justin Lopez got a taste of the action.

"We're trying to build a culture where you build continuity," said Green. "The way you have that is if Chase Headley has Hudson Potts standing next to him -- because maybe Hudson Potts is our third baseman in a few years. That said, he's got a long way to go. So does Gabe Arias. ... But they're incredibly talented young baseball players."

Arias even got some game action, striking out twice, but making an excellent pick at third base before unleashing a rocket across the diamond.

Tweet from @Padres: 17-year-olds Gabriel Arias and Justin Lopez getting some infield reps 👐 #PadresST | #PadresOnDeck pic.twitter.com/uxOJ2D9ldq

Cordero goes yard

This offseason, Franchy Cordero was named MVP of the Dominican Winter League. On Saturday, he picked up where he left off. In his first at-bat of the spring, Cordero smashed a missile down the right-field line that stayed just inside the foul pole.

Cordero is squarely in the mix for a spot in the Padres outfield, where he could back up at all three spots. He'll need to lower his strikeout rate, but he brings speed, defense and plenty of pop.

"That's impressive athletic ability," Green said. "He flies around the field and he's got easy power."

Makita nearing debut

Right-hander Kazuhisa Makita is slated to throw one more live batting practice session before he makes his first appearance in a Padres uniform -- potentially on March 1 against Texas. Don't be surprised if he's held back after that.

The Padres are committed to keeping Makita out of game action against National League West opposition. Even by sidearming standards, his delivery is unique. He comes inches from scraping the dirt with his knuckles, and he peppers all parts of the strike zone with his six-pitch arsenal.

It's a look few hitters in the Majors have seen before (as evidenced by the spirited reactions to his live BP session Friday). And the Padres will do everything they can to maximize that deceptiveness.

Tweet from @Padres: The reactions at Maki���s first live BP at #PadresST say it all 🤯 pic.twitter.com/HmvUg3V2lI

Outfielders ailing

Matt Szczur and Alex Dickerson have been limited, as they battle through injuries early in camp. Szczur is having oblique trouble, while Dickerson has a balky elbow, and both are day to day.

Dickerson's ailment is unrelated to the back injury that cost him the entirety of his 2017 season. Coming off surgery, Dickerson was always going to be eased back into action, and the Padres noted he isn't going to receive everyday playing time this season anyway.

Both Dickerson and Szczur are in the mix for a backup role in the outfield. Meanwhile, shortstop Allen Cordoba is nearing a return to action after being sidelined with a concussion during the first week.

Up next

Bryan Mitchell spent his first eight professional seasons in the Yankees organization. He made his Majors debut in 2014, but played only sporadically, limited by injuries and inconsistency. In New York, there simply weren't enough innings to go around.

There's plenty of opportunity in the San Diego rotation, and the Padres have committed to Mitchell as a piece of their future. He'll make his first start for his new organization on Sunday when the Padres head to Tempe to face the Angels. First pitch is slated for 12:10 p.m. PT.

"This is pretty much what I've been trying to get to for the last three or four years," Mitchell said of his starting role. "I've kind of been stuck in that back-and-forth spot. This is exactly what I need, and I'm so honored they were able to give me the chance."

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

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