PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres haven't officially settled on a starting catcher for Opening Day, though the odds-on favorite is likely Josh Bard, considering how well he played in the second half and how he handled the pitching staff. But that doesn't mean Michael Barrett will be relegated to typically backup duty, which for most teams consists of catching one or two days a week. The Padres think they have two No. 1 catchers. Now the trick is trying to figure out how to best utilize them.
"Michael was a very productive player for a number of years," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Last year when he came over he didn't play like he was capable and Josh played well for the second half of the season. "So we realize that Mike has talent and we're not going to disregard that. ... He's been an everyday catcher. We have two guys who could arguably catch every day." Bard started each of the Padres' pressure-filled 11 games to end the regular season as well as the play-in game to determine the National League's Wild Card entry. And Bard was more than durable, as he hit .372 during that important stretch. Even with Barrett healthy after recovering from a concussion, Black found it increasingly easy to pencil Bard's name on the lineup card late in the season with little trepidation. "Josh wants to solidify himself as an everyday catcher. ... Last year, Josh didn't disappoint at all," Black said. "He handled the pitching staff, calls a good game, works well with the pitchers and offensively had a good year." Both players have looked good so far early in camp and Barrett seems to have found his swing again after a rough transition after being traded last season to the Padres, when he hit just .226. Barrett, for one, doesn't see any reason why a job-share situation of some sorts wouldn't work in San Diego. After all, the catching position is such a volatile position and both players spent time on the disabled list last season. "We're in this thing together, so let's look at it as if we're one unit," Barrett said. "I'm not as good as Pudge Rodriguez. But as a unit, Josh Bard and I can be better than Pudge and his backup. That's the way that I look at it. Do we help our team win? How are we doing collectively there?"
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.