08/31/08 4:14 PM ET
Kazmar to learn to play outfield
Shortstop to switch positions in Arizona Fall League
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
"I've got an outfield glove on order," Kazmar said Sunday. "I'm assuming it's going to feel a little big."
Kazmar, a rookie shortstop who was recalled Aug. 12 from Double-A San Antonio, will get some looks in the outfield beginning Oct. 7 during the Arizona Fall League season.
"I think the main reason was to get me in there to get some more at-bats," Kazmar said. "But I told them that I was all for it, anything I can do to improve my versatility. I think that it's only going to help me in the long run."
Kazmar, who got his first Major League hit in his first at-bat on Aug. 13, is a shortstop, first and foremost. But learning a different position, he said, can only aid his chances of sticking in the big leagues.
He's got a few examples of players who have done so in the Padres' clubhouse.
Fellow rookie Chase Headley is a converted third baseman who is in his first season of playing the outfield. Veteran Edgar Gonzalez took up the outfield late during his Minor League career to make him more versatile.
"Take Edgar, he can play outfield, infield, and he even caught in Spring Training. ... The guy can do it all," said Kazmar, who has one hit in 13 at-bats with the Padres. "To go out in the outfield and play some ... it's only going to increase my versatility.
"I'm excited to learn a new position. I'm going to try and have fun with it."
Kazmar won't begin to get reps in the outfield until he arrives in Arizona, though he said he might ask coaches Glenn Hoffman or Rick Renteria to hit him a few fly balls at some point in the next month.
Joining Kazmar in the AFL with the Peoria Saguaros will be pitchers Greg Burke, Cesar Carillo, Mike Ekstrom, Wilton Lopez, first baseman Kyle Blanks and outfielders Mike Baxter and Chad Huffman.
Grady Fuson, the Padres director of scouting, said recently that at least two other Minor League players will attempt to add another position in instructional league beginning in mid-September.
Baxter, who hit .270 with seven home runs and 47 RBIs with Double-A San Antonio, will get some looks at catcher.
Third baseman Brian Joynt, who hit .301 with 12 home runs and 64 RBIs for Class A Lake Elsinore, will see some time at first base and the outfield.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.