Salazar not adding pressure to role
Veteran comfortable filling in for injured All-Star Gonzalez
MIAMI -- Oscar Salazar has some big shoes to fill.
The 31-year-old faces the tough task of playing in place of injured first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. One day after collecting a career-high three hits while playing first for the Padres, Salazar says he will not put any extra pressure on himself when he is filling in for the team's biggest star.
"I don't feel any pressure," Salazar said. "Filling in for a guy like Adrian isn't easy, but I'm just trying to do the best that I can to help the team. I'm going to continue to work hard and do my job. Whether it's hitting, fielding, moving runners over, whatever it may be, I'm just going to do my best to help us win games."
Gonzalez, who is day-to-day with a strained left bicep, was pulled from Friday's game by manager Bud Black because he felt soreness in his arm. The All-Star first baseman did not play Saturday and was not in the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Marlins.
"It's still tight," Gonzalez said. "I think it happened a couple of days ago. I feel it throwing and swinging. We're just taking these days off for precaution."
The Padres star could come back any day, but Black is confident that Gonzalez's replacement will be a productive bat in the San Diego lineup.
"He came advertised as a guy who could hit," Black said of Salazar. "The bat gets through the zone and he has a good idea on how to hit."
Salazar, who was acquired in a July 19 trade with the Orioles, appreciates his skipper's confidence and uses it as motivation to always be ready when an opportunity arises.
"It's always nice to have the manager's confidence, especially being a player that got here in the middle of the season," Salazar said. "I appreciate that he has confidence in me, because I am willing to do whatever he needs me to do. Whether it's playing first base, third, left field, pinch-hitting or anything else he needs, I am always ready for when he calls on me.
"Having his confidence is really big for me."
David Villavicencio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.