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Friars' next position changes will come at 2B, OF

Notes on Major League debuts, Margot, Reyes, Renfroe, etc.
San Diego Padres

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

While right-hander Brett Kennedy tonight becomes the fourth starting pitcher to make his Major League debut with the Padres - and more are on the way - the youth movement hasn't been quite as noticeable among position players.

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

While right-hander Brett Kennedy tonight becomes the fourth starting pitcher to make his Major League debut with the Padres - and more are on the way - the youth movement hasn't been quite as noticeable among position players.

Right fielder Franmil Reyes is the only position player who has made his Major League debut with the Padres this season.

But the final eight weeks of the season could be interesting.

Will we see Luis Urias? And when? Plus, if we do how will the already log-jammed situation at second work its way out?

Speaking of logjams, how many of the current Padres outfielders - including the injured Franchy Cordero and Alex Dickerson - will be with the Padres moving forward?

The Padres have three second basemen - Carlos Asuaje, Jose Pirela and Cory Spangenberg - on the 25-man roster. And while all three are versatile, none can play shortstop ... a key to being a utility infielder if the 21-year-old takes over as the varsity second baseman next season as anticipated.

After a slower than expected first half of the season, Urías has come on recently with Triple-A El Paso, where he has gone 10-for-26 (.385) over his last seven games with three doubles, a triple, a home run, five runs scored and three RBIs with three walks for a .448 on-base percentage and a .692 slugging percentage for a 1.141 OPS.

When Urías arrives, unless it's not until rosters are expanded on Sept. 1, he will get the majority of playing time at second as an audition. Plus, he can play shortstop if Freddy Galvis needs a late-season day off.

Where does that leave the other second basemen?  

Pirela's other position is left field ... and the Padres already have an over-crowded picture in the outfield. Like Urías, Pirela is a right-handed hitter. And his playing time has been reduced recently with only six starts in the last 15 games while going 3-for-26 (including a 0-for-7 with a walk as a pinch-hitter).

Asuaje returned to the minors this season to learn the refinements of playing third. But he has made only two starts and three relief appearances at third over the past 70 games. And it doesn't help that he's in a 0-for-29 drought since July 22.

Spangenberg is the most adept of the three at playing both second and third. He is also on a bit of a run with the bat, going 5-for-12 with a walk, two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored on the present trip to Chicago and Milwaukee.

In the outfield, the Padres currently have five useable pieces on their major league roster - Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Travis Jankowski and Wil Myers plus Cordero. It's unlikely the Padres will open the 2019 season with six outfielders on their 25-man roster.

Meanwhile, they have two promising catchers in Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejía while they will be looking to upgrade at third.

NOTEBOOK:

• RHP Trey Wingenter became the 11th Padre to make his Major League debut this season on Tuesday night in Milwaukee. He was also the sixth relief pitcher, joining Colten Brewer, José Castillo, Adam Cimber, Kazuhisa Makita and Robert Stock.

• RF Franmil Reyes had single-game, career highs in hits (three), RBIs and hits (three) Tuesday night. His eighth homer of the season ties him with Wil Myers and Christian Villanueva for the team lead since Reyes hit his first homer on May 21. He has homered in consecutive games for the third time this season and had back-to-back, multi-hit games for the second time this year.

• CF Manuel Margot recorded a career-high five RBIs Tuesday night. He is the first Padres leadoff hitter with five or more RBIs in a game since Damian Jackson on Aug. 22, 2000 and the fourth overall (Jackson twice and Bobby Tolan in 1974). He hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games since July 13, batting .338 (24-for-71).

• OF Hunter Renfroe has hit safely in all five games he's played this month, going 7-for-21 with a double, two homers and six RBIs. He hit his 10th home run of the season Tuesday night. He has homered in consecutive games for the seventh time in his career and the second time this season.

• All three Padres starting outfielders homered Tuesday night, marking the first time since July 14, 2013 (Carlos Quentin, Will Venable and Chris Denorfia), that it had happened.

• The Padres scored in each of the last seven innings in Tuesday night's 11-5 win, marking the first time they scored in seven straight innings since they scored in eight straight innings at Cincinnati on June 24, 2016. They also scored 10 or more runs in back-to-back games since June 1-2, 2016.

San Diego Padres