Padres infield situation still muddled

Manager Green has plenty of options thanks to his players' versatility

March 11th, 2017

PEORIA, Ariz. -- is the starting first baseman for the Padres. That much -- and little else -- is certain in the San Diego infield.

In the estimation of manager Andy Green, the competition for the remaining infield spots is "going to go all the way down to the end of camp".

, and appear to be secure on the Opening Day roster -- though where they'll play remains unclear. All three can man both second and third base.

"I don't know where the breakdown in playing time or position is going to be," Green said. "I think Solarte is going to be out there on a very consistent basis. The other guy is going to win a job."

So Schimpf and Spangenberg are fighting for a starting spot, but they aren't sure exactly where. Schimpf, who is nursing some oblique tightness, was better defensively at third base last season than he was at second. Meanwhile, Green has raved about Spangenberg's play at the hot corner this spring.

"I'm comfortable," Spangenberg said of playing third. "It's just repetitions, and I think Andy does a great job of getting us enough repetitions to feel comfortable at the different positions. ... Anytime you've got versatility, it helps. You can mix and match with different pitchers and who hits who well. It just gives Andy more options."

When Solarte returns from the World Baseball Classic, he'll begin to see time at second base after playing third exclusively early in camp.

As for the shortstop race, things are just as muddled. and are neck and neck, Green said. And if the Padres are going to keep Rule 5 infielder , there's probably only room for one other shortstop on the Opening Day squad. (If the Padres are willing to sacrifice a backup outfielder or Rule 5 catcher , that could change.)

Meanwhile, Dusty Coleman, and are on the outside looking in. They could comprise the infield at Triple-A El Paso.

News and notes

• Spangenberg was removed from the lineup Saturday as a precaution for a blister under the big toe on his right foot. Outfielder (tightness in his rib cage) was also scratched.

• Schimpf went through the team's morning workout Saturday, and the club is hopeful he'll return to the lineup Monday against the Cubs. (left hamstring tightness) probably isn't far behind. He took swings in the batting cage Saturday morning.

• The Padres expect center fielder to return to baseball activity following Tuesday's off day. Margot, the club's top prospect, has been battling left knee soreness.

• The Padres agreed to terms with the 31 players on their 40-man roster who weren't yet arbitration eligible. Among the players whose 2017 contracts have been finalized are Schimpf, Spangenberg, , , Manuel Margot, , Austin Hedges and .