Cabrera is thriving in leadoff role

Cabrera is thriving in leadoff role

SAN DIEGO -- It wasn't all that long ago when Padres infielder Everth Cabrera approached manager Bud Black with a question pertaining to his spot in the lineup.

"He's mentioned it before, 'How do I go from the bottom of the order to the top?'" Black said Tuesday.

The short answer, Black said, was to produce. To that end, Cabrera has done so in starts Sunday and Monday from the top of the order, going 6-for-10 with one stolen base and two RBIs.

Not surprisingly, Cabrera was back in the leadoff spot Tuesday against the Pirates. Two games surely rate as a small sample, though Black is encouraged and intrigued about Cabrera hitting leadoff.

"It's more about the potential," Black said. "Based on the speed component, Cabbie has the potential to impact the opponent with his basestealing. Having that at the top of the order is advantageous for our club."

These are the first three games this season that Cabrera has hit leadoff. The Padres have also used Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, Alexi Amarista, Chris Denorfia and Logan Forsythe in that spot.

Cabrera, a switch-hitter, has been far more effective hitting left-handed (.290) than right-handed (.190) this season. But Black wasn't about to make any sweeping, definitive statements about Cabrera, who is 25 years old.

"It's a process for Cabbie," Black said. "He's still developing as a player. He's not a finished product by any means."

Entering Tuesday's game, the Padres' leadoff hitters had the 11th-best on-base percentage in the National League at .316 and the 10th best batting average (.253).