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Myers says he's warming up to playing hot corner

September 15, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- A month into William Myers' transition to third base, Myers looks like -- well, he looks like he started playing third base a month ago.Myers has done some nice things for the Padres at the hot corner. But for the most part, the learning curve has been

SAN DIEGO -- A month into William Myers' transition to third base, Myers looks like -- well, he looks like he started playing third base a month ago.
Myers has done some nice things for the Padres at the hot corner. But for the most part, the learning curve has been steep.
"I'm not going to give myself an A, that's for sure," Myers said. "But right now, I'm starting to overcome some things, some of the unsure plays I've had. The only way I can get better at third is for me to be exposed at third base."
Myers has committed five errors in 24 starts there. He's made at least as many mistakes that won't go into the scorebook as "errors," but have cost the team nonetheless.
In the Padres' eyes, there are positives to be taken from those mistakes. For the most part, Myers' miscues have been situational. He's been in the wrong spot on a bunt. He's been late to cover the bag on a steal.
"Those are the ones you knew were coming," Padres manager Andy Green said. "And those are the ones you can live with. ... You have to live through that. Most guys live through that in the Minor Leagues. He's living through that in front of everyone."
Friday night offered the latest example. Myers made the wrong split-second decision on a first-and-second ground ball hit his direction in the fifth inning. Instead of starting an around-the-horn double play, he opted to step on third base. Forced to rush his throw to first, Myers airmailed it.

"You can't simulate that during ground balls," Green said. "You can't simulate, 'Do I go to third? Do I go to second?' You have to live through it. He needs the reps. He needs the opportunity."
The transition happened fast, of course. Myers began working extensively at third base at the end of July. Three weeks later, he was a regular starter there.
For the Padres, the timing simply made sense, even if it meant throwing Myers into the deep end. They're not contending this year. In the long term, they'd like to turn Myers into a versatile roster piece who can move between third base and the outfield.
It's been ugly at times, but the Padres don't seem ready to scrap their plan.
"We're going to get to the end of the year, watch, observe, then make our best decisions going forward," Green said. "We've always felt his ultimate role would be moving around a little bit, and I don't think that's changed at all."
There are also intricacies of the position that the Padres have asked Myers to avoid entirely. They don't want Myers overthinking things on the diamond, preferring to let his athleticism take over.
An example: Myers' footwork clearly isn't at the caliber of a big league third baseman. But rather than completely overhaul it in-season, they'd prefer that Myers not fixate on every step he takes. That can be addressed during the offseason and Spring Training.
That's not to say Myers isn't actively working on the position's nuances. Every day, he hones some aspect of his game well before regular batting practice. On Saturday, he worked on the timing of his throws, so he could better understand his internal clock.
But the stark reality is: Myers can't improve on everything at once, and his progress has been incremental. He's going to continue to be thrown into the fire, and he thinks that's the best way to do it.
"I know my work is really good, and I know it will start translating into the game," Myers said. "I know I can play third base. I'm going to figure this out."
Noteworthy
• Javy Guerra made his first career start on Saturday night, playing shortstop while Freddy Galvis shifted to second base. Once a highly touted prospect acquired in the Craig Kimbrel deal, Guerra's bat never came around.
"He's an elite defender with one of the best arms you'll ever see at shortstop," Green said. "He does have a lot of pop, so he can run into a baseball. But it's not the on-base percentage we're looking for, and that's why other guys have moved in front of him, to be honest. … If he can get his bat to where it's serviceable at the Major League level, he's got a real role with his ability to defend the field."
• With the Rangers using left-hander Alex Claudio as an "opener," Green countered by loading the top of his lineup with three right-handed sluggers -- Myers, Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe -- while moving regular leadoff man Travis Jankowski to the No. 9 spot.

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