Welcome to our multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at San Diego's projected starters and backup options going into Spring Training. On Thursday, we examined the catcher position. Now, it's first base.SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres traded Yonder Alonso to the A's in December, the move
Welcome to our multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at San Diego's projected starters and backup options going into Spring Training. On Thursday, we examined the catcher position. Now, it's first base.
SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres traded Yonder Alonso to the A's in December, the move didn't leave general manager A.J. Preller unprepared for what the team would do at first base in 2016.
Preller already had an option in mind -- the team's 2015 Opening Day starter in center field, Wil Myers.
"It's definitely an attractive option getting Wil locked in at first base," Preller said. "Part of the move in moving Yonder [Alonso] was getting Wil locked into a spot."
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You can expect to see a lot of Myers at first base this season, which is funny considering that before last season he had played just five professional games at the position.
But the Padres were impressed with Myers' footwork and different throws he had to make in a 22-game stint at the position. He was just starting to settle in at the position before injuring his left wrist in May.
This offseason, Myers even went as far as to tell Preller he preferred to play first base.
"I enjoy first base the most," Myers said in December. "If I had a preference, it would be first. I've told them that. I had never played first base at the professional level until last year, but I enjoyed it. I think I can play first base really well."
The Padres opted to move Myers to first base on May 8 after Alonso suffered a bone bruise in his right shoulder. Myers wasn't a total stranger to the infield, playing 15 games at third base while in the Minor Leagues.
But as Myers' promising season with the Padres began to take off, he hurt his wrist during a game against the D-backs. He was hitting .291/.340/.493 with five home runs and 19 RBIs at the time.
Myers missed a month before returning, but went back on the disabled list four days later. At that point, he opted for surgery to remove a bone spur that was located on the back of the wrist.
"Right before I got hurt, I was starting to get hot," Myers said.
The Padres will have some other options to look at if they want to spell Myers on occasion. Catcher Derek Norris appeared in 17 games at first base last season as the Padres sought to give his body a break from the rigors of being behind the plate.
The team would like to give Norris more rest this season, but it remains to be seen how they will do so -- some work at first base, possible time as the designated hitter in the team's 10 Interleague road games.
San Diego also used Brett Wallace at first in 17 games. Wallace, who was a Minor League free agent last spring, impressed the team with his bat so much -- he hit .302/.374/.521 in 64 games -- that the Padres signed him to a big league deal this winter.
Wallace was especially good coming off the bench, batting .349 with four home runs in 43 pinch-hit appearances. His left-handed bat makes him an ideal piece late in games for a National League team.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast