PEORIA, Ariz. -- By no means does Padres third baseman/outfielder James Darnell consider himself to be a pure power hitter.
Sure, Darnell has topped 20 home runs twice in his first four seasons in the Padres' Minor League system, though he pegs more as an average/on-base guy after producing a .301/.401/.508 slash line to show for over his first 1,344 Minor League at-bats.
That might change this season after what Darnell was told following surgery in September to repair the labrum in his left shoulder.
"It's 100 percent now and feels great," Darnell said. "I've been told it's actually better than before ... a little stronger than before. It's stronger in the joint than ever before."
Darnell said he first started to notice a difference during his offseason workouts, and also here in Peoria.
"I'm getting more bat speed on my follow through," he said. "The doctor said I might have more power. I told him that I would take it. I'll always take more power. It felt great."
Darnell hit .222 in 45 at-bats with the Padres in 2011 after hitting .310 with 23 home runs and 79 RBIs between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tuscon. He will see time this spring at third base and in the outfield.
"They talked to me about that last year, about working in the outfield," Darnell said. "I'm going to do both and roll with it. The biggest thing is just to hit."