WASHINGTON -- James Darnell had what his manager considered to be a "highlight-reel play" in Sunday's loss to the Phillies, when he ranged far to his right for a Hunter Pence ground ball and then made a leaping throw all the way across the diamond for the out.
"Wasn't that great? That was somewhat acrobatic," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It was nifty glove work, and a do-or-die play."
Darnell, who had been splitting time between third base and left field with Triple-A Tucson before he was promoted on May 11, said this was the first time he's made a play like that in a game, though not the first time he's worked on it.
"It's a play I've always practiced," he said. "[Pence is] a fast runner. I just had to take a shot at it."
The Padres asked Darnell, a third baseman by trade, to give the outfield a whirl last season in order to increase his versatility, and because third baseman Chase Headley wasn't going anywhere.
Darnell said the biggest adjustment isn't learning how to pursue fly balls -- the routes and angles -- but more so the different throws required. As an infielder, Darnell typically throws from a lower arm angle than in the outfield, where he's been more over-the-top with his throwing motion.
"You have got to make sure your body is adjusted right," said Darnell, who experienced soreness in his right arm last season after playing the outfield, presumably because he was working different muscles. "When you're playing, you have to make a mental note of that."