Blash continues power surge with 5th homer

Padres outfielder is battling for spot on club's Opening Day roster

Blash continues power surge with 5th homer

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Midway through Spring Training, five homers is enough to top the leaderboard in both the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League.

Over in Florida, it's Bryce Harper who has separated himself from the pack with five dingers. (No surprise there.)

But in Arizona? Well, that would be slugging Padres outfielder Jabari Blash, who is fighting for a spot on San Diego's Opening Day roster.

During the Friars' 11-3 loss to Cleveland on Sunday, Blash mashed his fifth tater of the spring -- a solo shot off Steve Delabar in the seventh inning. Since he implemented a minor mechanical adjustment to his swing during a Feb. 28 game against the Giants, Blash is hitting .400 with 13 RBIs and those five long balls.

"The mechanical change has helped me get in better position," Blash said. "Right now, I'm hitting the ball pretty hard."

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In the eyes of Padres manager Andy Green, there's a little more to it than Blash's addition of a toe tap before he loads his swing at the plate.

"He's clearly comfortable right now, and he's confident in who he is," Green said. "Sometimes that takes time. I'm really pleased with what he's done on the field."

In sporadic playing time last season, Blash finished the year with a .169/.298/.324 Major League slash line in 71 at-bats. He has received consistent at-bats this spring, which he says has helped him find a groove.

Blash still appears to be on the outside looking in for a roster spot. Returning outfielders Travis Jankowski and Alex Dickerson are heavy favorites to make the squad. Meanwhile, rookies Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe -- the club's top two hitting prospects, according to -- could be in line for a pair of outfield spots, as well.

But both Dickerson and Margot have battled some minor injury issues this spring, and Blash's strong showing can only help his cause.

"You don't erase a season's worth of performance in a few weeks of Spring Training," Green said. "We're cognizant of what those guys did last year to earn their spot right now.

"But he's making noise. He's pushing them. He's throwing himself into the mix with every swing of the bat, every good play he makes in the field."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.