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Hosmer starting spring slowly

Padres first baseman won't play until early next week; submariner Makita faces hitters
February 23, 2018

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's been an unusually busy week for Eric Hosmer. The newly signed Padres first baseman agreed to his eight-year deal on Saturday night. He flew to Arizona on Monday night. And he was introduced in a news conference on Tuesday.Perhaps understandably, the Padres are now taking things

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's been an unusually busy week for Eric Hosmer. The newly signed Padres first baseman agreed to his eight-year deal on Saturday night. He flew to Arizona on Monday night. And he was introduced in a news conference on Tuesday.
Perhaps understandably, the Padres are now taking things slowly with Hosmer on the diamond. The club kicked off its Cactus League slate on Friday against Seattle. But Hosmer likely won't take the field in a Padres uniform until sometime early next week, possibly Monday or Tuesday according to manager Andy Green.
"I just want to ease into it," Hosmer said. "Just this last week alone has gotten me a little off track in terms of working out, keeping my body in shape and all that. I've been traveling all around, doing a bunch of different physicals and stuff.
"That's the thing Andy respects about me, and I respect about him. We're communicating about it. I played 162 games last year. I know what it takes to get ready for the season."
Padres Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule
That number is a point of pride for Hosmer, perhaps as much as his batting average or his home run count. Not only did Hosmer play every game for Kansas City last year, but he actually got better as the year went on. His second-half slash line of .319/.397/.504 was better than his first half marks, and he finished the season by batting .320 in September.
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"It says a lot about coming in every day and being ready to play, ready to go," Hosmer said. "In my career, there was one time in Kansas City where we missed the division by one game. You don't know when that time is going to come, whether it's April or late in the season."
Hosmer is still getting himself acclimated to Padres camp. He's particularly enthused about working with some talented youngsters. On Friday, he shared a batting practice group with MLB Pipeline's No. 8 and 36 overall prospects, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias.
"It's a lot different, man," he said. "But it's exciting for me at the same time. Guys like Tatis and Luis, I'd heard about all these guys. But now to get out on the field, work with them, see the talent they have, it's a lot of fun."
Makita faces hitters
Submariner Kazuhisa Makita put on a show when he faced hitters for the first time this spring during a live batting practice session Friday morning.
The 33-year-old right-hander showcased his entire six-pitch arsenal, including the Eephus-esque curveball that garnered so much acclaim during his seven seasons in Japan. The group of Padres hitters came away particularly impressed.

"I've faced some submarine guys, but he's different," said Chase Headley. "He doesn't really pitch like a guy that pitches from down there."
Headley made the best contact of any hitter against Makita, smacking a line drive into the right-center-field gap. In particular, Makita kept the righty hitters off balance.
The rest of the Padres got a kick out of one particularly slow curveball, estimated at around 60 mph. An overeager Manuel Margot was miles in front, swinging through as the ball dropped to the dirt.
"Don't swing at that, Manny," a coach said.
Margot broke into a sheepish grin and gestured toward Makita, as if to point out just how unique the delivery was.
"The camp just started," Makita said through an interpreter, downplaying his early effectiveness. "The performance of the batters is going to come around. I'm looking forward to seeing that."
Lopez eyes roster spot
A.J. Ellis is the favorite for the backup catcher job, but don't count out lefty-hitting Raffy Lopez. The Padres are impressed with his framing techniques, particularly on pitches at the bottom of the zone.

Lopez has raked against right-handed pitching in the past, and Green noted the potential for a platoon with the right-handed-hitting Austin Hedges. After making some swing adjustments before last season, Lopez batted .288 with 16 home runs between two levels in the Blue Jays' system. He tacked on four big league dingers as well, in 54 at-bats.
Up next
It's a throwback Saturday of sorts for the Padres as they head to Mesa to face Oakland at 12:05 p.m. PT. During the offseason, they signed right-handers Tyson Ross and Christopher Young to a pair of Minor League deals. Both were All-Stars at one point in San Diego, and both are looking to rejuvenate their careers with the Padres once again.
"Those guys are great examples to the young guys in camp," Green said. "And they have legitimate opportunities to be in our rotation. We'll watch that play out."

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