4/6/2014 1:40 P.M. ET
Young Medica gets chance in key spot
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Tommy Medica appreciated his manager going to him in a critical situation during the Padres' loss to the Marlins on Friday.
Bud Black called on Medica, the 25-year-old rookie first baseman/outfielder, to pinch-hit in the fifth inning with one out and the bases loaded against Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler.
Trailing 5-0, Black lifted starting pitcher Eric Stults to take a stab at cutting into the Marlins' lead.
"He's got some faith in me, which is great to see," Medica said.
Medica got some pitches to hit, but fouled off Koehler offerings on a 2-0 and then a 3-1 count. He ended up popping up in foul territory for the first out.
"I got into good counts, 2-0 and 3-1, where I knew he wasn't going to mess around and try to walk me," Medica said. "He came right after me and I took some good hacks. You want to get something to the outfield and at least get one run.
"When you get in the power counts like that, and he's going to give you something to hit, you've got to take advantage of those."
To that point, Black hadn't used anyone on his five-man bench. But he opted for Medica in that spot for a few reasons.
"He had a very good Spring Training and I thought his at-bats, as limited as they've been this year, have been pretty good, with good swings," Black said. "In a 2-0 count, he had a good swing, and at 3-1, he just missed it.
"I think he's seeing the ball well. I think that matchup was our best one for Tommy to get a hold of one. This is baptism under fire for Tommy. He will get his starts moving forward, but part of the reasons he's on this team is for situations like that."
Medica, who has one hit in his first six at-bats this season, got the start Sunday in left field against the Marlins.
Cabrera lone Padres hitter off to good start
MIAMI -- You'll have to dig pretty deep to find a Padres position player who has swung the bat well in the first week of the season.
"We've got to swing the bats better," said manager Bud Black.
Going into Sunday's series finale against the Marlins, leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera leads the team with six hits, four more than Yonder Alonso. Better still, Cabrera, who is hitting .316, has collected five hits in his last 13 at-bats.
"I like the fact that he's putting the ball in play with two strikes," Black said. "We talked about it last year, but he has the ability to work the count. Overall, his at-bats have been very good."
The Padres would like to see Cabrera cut down on his strikeouts -- he has five in 20 plate appearances -- and hit more balls on the ground, like he did Friday when he beat out an infield single. That marked his first infield single of the season. He had 21 of them a year ago, and 24 in 2012.
Padres balancing having three catchers on roster
MIAMI -- Carrying three catchers has created a unique challenge for Padres manager Bud Black -- finding playing time for all three to keep them game ready.
On Sunday, Yasmani Grandal made his third start of the young season. Rene Rivera has made two starts, catching Andrew Cashner both times. Nick Hundley has started one game.
"You'll see Nick in Cleveland," Black said of the team's upcoming three-game trip to play the Indians, which begins on Monday. "With three catchers, you're trying to do the best you can to keep them current."
Hundley got a hit Saturday and has three hits in six at-bats. Grandal is 2-for-5, but has already walked five times. Rivera is still looking for his first hit in four at-bats.
Grandal, now eight months removed from ACL surgery on his right knee, is not to the point where he's able to catch nine innings in consecutive games.
The Padres also opted to keep three catchers on the Opening Day roster for fear of losing Rivera, who was out of Minor League options and would have certainly been plucked from the waiver wire during the final week of Spring Training.
San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes said the team will not keep three catchers on the active roster all season.
• The Padres open a three-game series in Cleveland on Monday, where the forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of rain. There's a 50 percent chance of showers on Tuesday, which could make for a long three days unless something changes. Black knows all about the early-season weather in Cleveland.
"I pitched in some snow showers before in Cleveland," said Black, who faced the Indians a lot during his time with the Royals. He also made 11 appearances with the Tribe in 1995 before retiring.