Spangenberg shines with bat, glove in debut
On day of callup, rookie makes two great stops at third and gets first MLB hit and RBI
SAN DIEGO -- Cory Spangenberg rewarded the Padres immediately for promoting him from Double-A San Antonio on Monday.
The 23-year-old first-round Draft pick in 2011 made a pair of nice defensive plays and also collected his first hit and RBIs in the Majors, all in front of his family, who traveled from Pennsylvania to see his debut.
"Definitely a fun day," Spangenberg said. "Just to get the first ground balls, the first at-bats out of the way. To get the win especially was great."
Spangenberg's first defensive chance came on a ground ball off the bat of Mark Trumbo that he snared nicely with a diving grab. In just his eighth professional game at third base, Spangenberg looked like a natural. He also charged a slow roller from Aaron Hill and made a barehanded grab to get the out.
"He didn't look overwhelmed," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He looked calm. I think the guys on the team sort of helped him relax a little bit. Good day in the big leagues -- two RBIs, his first hit. Good day for him."
At the plate, Spangenberg hit a deep fly to center that advanced a runner in his second at-bat. When he came up in the fifth with the bases loaded after Arizona intentionally walked Rene Rivera, Spangenberg made the D-backs pay with a two-run single to right that proved to be the decisive runs in the Padres' 3-1 win.
"[Arizona starter Trevor Cahill] got me down 0-2, but I was just looking for a ball up in the zone a little bit that I could put the bat on, and I got a slider up and got just enough of it to find a hole," Spangenberg said.
Primarily a second baseman throughout his professional career, the organization has pushed Spangenberg to improve his versatility by playing more third base, and also taking turns in center field. While he is here for the final month of the season, however, he will likely stick to the infield.
For his part, Spangenberg acknowledged some nerves, but said they quickly dissipated once he took the field.
"Once you get on the field, it takes care of itself," Spangenberg said. "You're in your natural environment, so it just becomes fun."