By now, anyone who has been paying attention to the happenings within the San Diego Padres organization this spring has heard of the growing legend that is Tommy Medica.
If you’ve just checked in and somehow haven’t heard of Medica, let me fill you in. In a nutshell, the 25-year-old former catcher has been a hitting machine this spring. The word “former” is attached to catcher because Medica injured his shoulder a couple of years ago, and as a result, lost the necessary arm strength to play the position.
In a brief stint with the big club in 2013, Medica played 19 games at first base, all in the absence of an injured Yonder Alonso; by the way, Medica hit .290 with three home runs in those 19 games.
Enter Spring Training 2014, and the Padres have a healthy Alonso playing well and still have a hot hitting Medica; when I say hitting, I mean hitting the best in the MLB type of hitting at one point.
Given his position limitations, it was assumed that his efforts this spring would amount to a return to the minors once the regular season came around, but it’s come to a point where Medica’s bat has caused the coaches to brainstorm on how the team could get Medica’s bat in the lineup.
Rumors of trying Medica in the outfield surfaced on the Mar. 5 and at the time, it was believed that Medica’s time in the outfield would be reserved to pre-game workouts and not actual games this spring. Well, that was the case for about a week.
Medica played in a couple of simulated games early this week without incident and made his Cactus League debut on Wednesday’s 12-7 loss against the Cleveland Indians, playing left field.
The Padres committed two errors in the game, none by the experimental outfielder. Actually, Medica’s stay in left field was pretty uneventful, as he had zero balls hit his way for the first seven innings of play, then all of a sudden, it seemed like the ball couldn’t stay away from the left side of the field.
After seven innings of no action in left field for Medica, the Indians would place three straight balls in his direction in the eighth, all hits, but most importantly, no mishaps on Medica’s part. Oh yeah, Medica got another hit in the ballgame, a double.
So far so good on the Medica outfield experiment, but until he actually has a play in the outfield to make, it’s going to be hard to gauge how close to game ready he is at the position. I’m also interested in how his throwing arm will translate to the outfield. I’m sure we will get an answer on all of the above soon enough.
Hopefully Medica can pull this off, because his bat in the Padres’ lineup could make a world of difference.