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Asencio building on last year's strong finish

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It didn't surprise the Padres much that Minor League outfield prospect Yeison Asencio started a three-run, ninth-inning outburst on Friday with a single up the middle.

It sure looked like Asencio, 23, picked up right where he left off following a wildly successful 2012, when he won the Midwest League batting crown with a .323/.353/.474 line, including eight home runs and 61 RBIs in 92 games.

Asencio became the first Padres Minor League player to win a batting title since Chase Headley did so for Double-A San Antonio in 2007.

In November 2011, it was revealed that Asencio had been using a false identity -- Yoan Alcantara -- and an age that was 2 1/2 years younger than his real age. Asencio turned 23 on Nov. 14.

Asencio's season didn't begin until May, when he obtained his visa in the Dominican Republic, though he picked up where he left off in 2011, when he hit .348 in the Arizona League.

There's a chance that Asencio could leapfrog Class A Lake Elsinore for Double-A San Antonio, although that won't be determined until later in camp.

"He's going to play," Padres manager Bud Black said of Asencio. "The makeup of our outfield situation … you're going to see [Kyle] Blanks and [James] Darnell at first base some, might open up some innings for this guy."