Mailbag: Why is Iguchi starting?

Mailbag: Why is Iguchi starting?

Why is Tadahito Iguchi playing so much more than Edgar Gonzalez? Edgar proved he was worthy of playing second base and deserves to play more than Iguchi because he is better. I haven't seen much of Iguchi this year, but I think that Edgar should be the future second baseman for the Padres. Do you agree?
-- Josh S., Vista, Calif.

I can give you four million reasons why Iguchi is starting at second base and not Gonzalez. Remember, the Padres signed Iguchi to a one-year deal worth $3.85 million to be their everyday second baseman.

And before he separated his right shoulder in June, Iguchi certainly hadn't done anything to merit a change at second base. I don't think anyone figured Gonzalez would hit as well as he has. He'll still play a fair amount, but don't expect Iguchi to sit much. As for the future, I don't think either player pegs as a long-term answer at second base.

Is there any chance that Shawn Estes and Mark Prior will play for the Padres next year?
-- Rich M., San Diego

It's doubtful on Prior, though the Padres might have the best chance to sign him to a Minor League contract. Prior had surgery on May 16 to repair a tear in his shoulder capsule and could be ready for the start of Spring Training. As for Estes, who is now pitching on a rehab assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore, I think the Padres would welcome his return with the chance to compete for an open spot in the rotation next season.

With Khalil Greene injuring his hand recently, what do you expect the Padres to do with the shortstop position the rest of the season? Also, do you see them trading Greene during the offseason?
-- Rob E., San Diego

Hey Rob, I think you can expect to see a lot of Luis Rodriguez the rest of the season, as the Padres aren't especially keen on having Edgar Gonzalez play shortstop.

Rodriguez has a good defensive reputation and has even hit a little since Greene went on the DL. I can see this being essentially an extended tryout for next season. I would have to think Rodriguez would be considered for a bench spot next season if he fares well over these final six weeks of the season.

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As for Greene, I think he stays put. He's still fairly young and isn't breaking the bank. I would have to think the Padres feel he will turn things around next season. There isn't that much of a market for him now.

Now that Chase Headley has been called up, who are the top prospects in the Padres organization and how long before they reach the Majors?
-- Oscar M., San Diego

Oscar, if you like pitchers, you're in luck. Essentially, all of the Padres top prospects are pitchers and a few could make their way to PETCO Park this September when the roster expands to 40 players or possibly challenge for jobs in Spring Training. Wade LeBlanc and Cesar Ramos are names in Portland to watch and Steve Garrison and Will Inman, both with Double-A San Antonio, are pitchers the Padres are very high on.

I know it's been hard for manager Bud Black because of all the injuries, but I would like to see him put an infield together and keep it that way so they can learn to play together. The teams that win usually don't change them every other day.
-- Madge C., San Diego

It's not that easy Madge. Injuries, days off, individual matchups ... they all factor into Black's daily decisions on who plays where.

You can figure that Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff are going to play every day. But with Greene out, Black has options in the middle of the infield with Rodriguez, Edgar Gonzalez and Iguchi. Rodriguez will get most of the turns at shortstop the rest of the way and Iguchi and Gonzalez will see plenty of time at second base.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.