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Lockett making most of opportunity in spring

MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Walker Lockett rose four levels in the Padres' system last year, finishing the season as the Game 1 starter for Triple-A El Paso during its playoff run.

The 22-year-old right-hander has one more hurdle to climb.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Walker Lockett rose four levels in the Padres' system last year, finishing the season as the Game 1 starter for Triple-A El Paso during its playoff run.

The 22-year-old right-hander has one more hurdle to climb.

Lockett tossed a pair of scoreless innings in his first spring start as the Padres topped Team Mexico, 7-3, on Tuesday. He doesn't have much of a chance to crack the Opening Day rotation. But given how quickly he's moved through the Minors, a big league debut doesn't seem far off.

"It's exciting," Lockett said. "Obviously everyone likes to do speculating on what the rotation will be. I'm trying to keep it day by day, enjoy this camp and pick up things here and there. Just learn, basically."

At November's deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft, Lockett said he spent the day "huddled around a phone." Eventually the Padres called to notify him he'd been placed on their 40-man roster.

Among other things, that meant his first trip to big league camp. Lockett has made the most of it with five shutout innings thus far.

"It's great to see a young guy come up, not be rattled at all and have the opportunity to show who he is," Padres skipper Andy Green said after the game.

Between four Padres affiliates last season, Lockett posted a 2.96 ERA in 28 appearances.

He's become something of a veteran at receiving promotions. One more, of course, would mean a trip to the big leagues.

"That's probably the main goal," Lockett said.

Bethancourt slams the door

The Christian Bethancourt experiment continued Tuesday -- somewhat unexpectedly.

Video: MEX@SD: Bethancourt comes in, closes out the game

Bethancourt, who is being converted into a pitcher-catcher hybrid this spring, was originally slated to throw in the bullpen. But when Kyle McGrath loaded the bases in the ninth, Green called on Bethancourt.

The 25-year-old right-hander needed only two pitches to induce a popout from Chris Roberson. In the process, Bethancourt recorded his first save in a Padres uniform.

"It's just a good situation to see a guy that had never come in in the middle of an inning," Green said. "He was good. He made two pitches, but it was good to see him come in and attack."

Cordero swinging a hot bat

Outfield prospect Franchy Cordero won't stop hitting. The 22-year-old center fielder is 4-for-12 with three extra-base hits in the Cactus League. And those numbers don't count a brilliant past couple of days.

He had two hits -- including an opposite-field home run in Monday's "B" game against Seattle. And he followed that by going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI against Mexico.

Video: MEX@SD: Cordero extends lead with an RBI double

"I'm really impressed with what he's doing right now," Green said. "... He's hitting the ball to all parts of the ballpark with authority. He looks really good. It's fun watching a young kid come up and play that well in Spring Training."

Cory Spangenberg, who is competing for the starting second-base job this spring, also had three hits.

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

San Diego Padres, Christian Bethancourt, Franchy Cordero, Walker Lockett