PEORIA, Ariz. -- It was no accident that Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso finished Spring Training last year with more at-bats (77) than any other of his new teammates.
"It was a lot, but, honestly, [the Padres] didn't know me and I didn't know them, so it was good to play in that many games to get ready for the year," Alonso said Friday.
Last year was Alonso's first spring with the Padres, and he wanted nothing more than to make a good first impression. The organization, having obtained him from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade, wanted to get a good look at him.
So Alonso played -- a lot. He had the 11th-most at-bats of any Major League player last spring, trailing Hunter Pence of the Phillies by only eight at-bats.
"At the end of spring, I was a little beat," Alonso admitted.
Where San Diego wanted Alonso to play a lot last spring, in particular against National League West pitchers he would see often in the regular season, he might approach that number for at-bats again.
The Padres played their first exhibition game of Spring Training on Friday, the first of a club-record 38 games before Opening Day on April 1. The team figures to get Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman and possibly Mark Kotsay playing first base this spring, but Alonso will see most of the action there.
"Typically, there's a window of 50 to 80 [at-bats] in there, a number we try to shoot for," said manager Bud Black. "In his case, he's what? Twenty-five? He can play."