Padres could go with three backup backstops

Though unlikely, Bethancourt, Torrens, Sanchez all may make roster

Padres could go with three backup backstops

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Four catchers on an Opening Day roster? Even Andy Green would've found the idea nonsensical a month ago.

"If you had ever asked me that in a vacuum, I would've laughed at you," the Padres manager said. "But, yeah, I think it's possible at this point in time. I don't think any team goes into spring saying we're going to carry four catchers. But it's a unique set of circumstances."

Those circumstances revolve around Christian Bethancourt, Luis Torrens and Hector Sanchez. All three are vying to serve as the backup to starter Austin Hedges.

Two backups is a distinct possibility, but Green was quick to clarify that it remains unlikely all three make the club.

"It is possible," he said. "I wouldn't characterize it as probable."

• Long shot Sanchez making case for roster spot

How, exactly, would it be possible, given the constraints of a 25-man roster? Well, Bethancourt's versatility certainly helps. He's spent much of the spring converting into a pitcher/catcher hybrid. And on Friday, he received his first action in the outfield as well.

Bethancourt on his versatility

"You have the ability for Hector to slide out and play first base," Green said. "You have the ability for Christian to go to left field. You have some versatility there that most teams wouldn't have if they were carrying four true catchers. Luis Torrens, from an upside perspective, we like a lot of the things that he's shown early in camp."

The Padres are extremely high on Torrens, but the 20-year-old Rule 5 pick -- who has never played above Class A -- has almost no chance of serving as the primary backup.

Bethancourt, meanwhile, is out of options, so the Padres are in a similar bind -- though they feel he's more than capable of being their No. 2 catcher.

That would seemingly leave Sanchez as the most likely option to start the year at Triple-A. But he's mashed this spring with a .280/.333/.680 slash line and three homers.

"If we like the way Christian Bethancourt is throwing the baseball, and we like the future of Luis Torrens, and we like the left-handed bat of Hector Sanchez -- It's a unique skill set that each one of those guys brings to the table that makes you want to carry them all," Green said.

Worth noting

Ryan Schimpf tested his tight left oblique Monday with a handful of at-bats in a back-field game. The second baseman "looked fine getting his timing and rhythm back," Green said. Schimpf could return later this week.

Yangervis Solarte and Jhoulys Chacin rejoined the club Monday after playing for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Solarte received his first spring start at second base, while Chacin threw a bullpen session.

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