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Jankowski making impact in leadoff spot

Padres improving at Petco Park; Hosmer on offensive tear
San Diego Padres

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

Travis Jankowski could be the answer to one of the Padres' biggest problems.

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

Travis Jankowski could be the answer to one of the Padres' biggest problems.

Since returning from Triple-A El Paso on April 29, the swift outfielder has made four starts as the Padres leadoff hitter and is 6-for-15 with two walks, two triples and five runs scored.

Yes, that is a very small sample size. But the 26-year-old Jankowski is hitting .400 with a .471 on-base percentage, a .667 slugging percentage and a 1.137 OPS as the sixth player the Padres have deployed in the leadoff position.

The Padres' other five leadoff hitters are hitting a combined .157 with a .210 on-base percentage. The on-base percentage at the leadoff spot is the lowest of the first eight spots in San Diego's batting order. Manuel Margot (14 games), Jose Pirela (10), Franchy Cordero (four), Wil Myers (two) and Carlos Asuaje (two) are a combined 21-for-134 with nine walks in the leadoff slot.

At the moment, Jankowski might be deployed as the Padres leadoff hitter only against right-handed pitchers. But he is doing the things the Padres wanted to see when they optioned him to El Paso to start the season -- slashing the ball to all fields, working the count and letting his considerable speed play.

Notes:

• The Padres are 5-13 at Petco Park this season. They were 43-38 at home last season.

"We've played well on the road this season (8-10, including the three games in Mexico City), but we haven't played well at home," manager Andy Green said Monday.

• On Monday night, Green packed his lineup with left-handed bats against Stephen Strasburg. But he elected to start Pirela at second over the left-handed hitting Asuaje. Pirela went 3-for-4 Monday, and he is now 4-for-6 lifetime against Strasburg. Pirela has started six of the past seven games at second. Asuaje, who hit a sacrifice fly as a pinch-hitter on Monday night, is 1-for-18 with one walk since April 24.

• Despite the 0-for-4s on Friday (when the Padres were no-hit) and Monday night, first baseman Eric Hosmer is 13-for-34 (.382) over his past nine games with four doubles, a triple, three homers, six walks, eight RBIs and six runs scored for a .475 on-base percentage, a .824 slugging percentage and a 1.299 OPS. He has raised his batting average from .250 to .287.

• Cordero is hitting .343 (12-for-35) since April 27 with two doubles, two homers, six RBIs, seven runs scored and seven walks for a .442 on-base percentage.

• Margot is 10-for-40 with three doubles and two triples since April 24. While that is only a .250 batting average, the run has boosted Margot's overall batting average from .135 to .185.

San Diego Padres, Travis Jankowski