02/23/11 3:01 PM EST
Padres' new duo expect to be in sync quickly
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
So it only makes perfect sense that Bartlett and Hudson -- who have never played together before -- would need adequate time during the six weeks of Spring Training to familiarize themselves with each other before the season begins on March 31.
"Two days," Hudson said flatly. "Two days and we'll be fine."
So would that mean that Hudson and Bartlett, who have been working together on a back field here in Peoria with the other infielders this spring since Sunday, are already in midseason shape?
"I'm not saying that we're going to be perfect and turn every double play once the season starts. But we'll be fine," Hudson said.
2010 Spring Training - San Diego Padres
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"He's been in the big leagues for six years and he knows the in and outs of the game. We are not both rookies anymore. A couple of flips here and there and we'll be good."
Hudson, who will be working with his seventh different shortstop in the last eight years, said the first thing he checks when working with a shortstop is his footwork around the second-base bag followed by where he likes the ball on double-play pivots.
"We'll just go from there," Hudson said.
There will be plenty of repetition on ground balls and work up the middle this spring, and Hudson and Bartlett figure to get plenty of time together in Cactus League play beginning Sunday when the Padres face the Mariners in their annual charity game in Peoria.
So far, Padres third-base coach Glenn Hoffman, who works with the infielders, likes what he has seen from Hudson and Bartlett.
"They could be real good," Hoffman said. "They both move really well, they've got good hands and feet and they know the importance of defensive platooning. The good middle infielders have that feel. It's going to be fun to watch."
In truth, it will take more than two days for Bartlett and Hudson to familiarize themselves with their own pitchers and their tendencies. And there will be some new terminology to learn along the way as well.
But these aren't two rookies learning their way.
Hudson is a four-time Gold Glove winner and Bartlett has played 700 games at shortstop over his first seven seasons in the Major Leagues.
"You have got to know where he likes the double-play feed and how he's going to come across the bag," Bartlett said. "It will take us a couple of days. Then it's just baseball."
The Padres traded for Bartlett on Dec. 17, sending away four players to land an everyday shortstop. Last month, he agreed to a two-year deal with the team. Hudson is also under contract through 2012, meaning the Padres will have reliability up the middle for the next two seasons.
Last season, the Padres used four different shortstops and five different second basemen.
Bartlett, originally drafted by the Padres, is not only looking forward to playing for the organization that drafted him, but also pairing with Hudson, known not only for steady play but his gregarious personality.
"I'm looking forward to just how much fun he makes it," Bartlett said. "You see it in practice and during games, with his teammates and even the guys on the other team.
"He's got that deep voice and he's always laughing. He makes it fun. He's a good guy to have."