Padres look to get Myers 'locked in' at first
SAN DIEGO -- Without picking up a phone and without sending a single email, A.J. Preller, the general manager of the Padres, added a first baseman this past week.
Preller essentially proclaimed Wil Myers -- the team's 2015 Opening Day starter in center field -- as their first baseman moving forward.
"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."
On Wednesday, the Padres dealt first baseman Alonso to the A's, which, in essence, paved the way for Myers to slide over to first base, a position he had played just five games at as a professional before this past season.
The move was music to Myers' ears, as he essentially fell in love with the position during his 22-game stint there, so much so that he told Preller before the Alonso deal was made that he preferred to play there in 2016.
"I enjoy first base the most. If I had a preference, it would be first. I've told them that," Myers said Tuesday. "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."
Myers, one of Preller's big offseason additions from the Rays, played in only 60 games last season, the result of a nagging left wrist issue that eventually led to surgery in June. He returned in September but was shut down again because of lingering soreness.
"The last year has been tough. Since I was 5 years old, I have been able to play baseball when I wanted," he said. "... That was taken away from me the last two years. The only goal I have this year is to stay healthy. If I stay healthy, I'll be able to put up the numbers that I want to."
The Padres opted to move Myers to first base May 8 after Alonso suffered a bone bruise in his shoulder. Myers played in 15 games at third base while in the Minor Leagues and wasn't a total stranger to the infield.
But as Myers' promising season with the Padres was beginning 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.
Myers said he's changed his offseason workout program from a general program to one designed to help him with areas that have given him fits before -- such as both wrists.
With Myers looking like he's locked in at first base, the Padres will likely open with Melvin Upton Jr. in center field while looking for a left fielder to fill Justin Upton's spot. Upton is a free agent after his one season with the Padres.