Now Commenting On:

Versatile Amarista fills perfect role for NL club


PEORIA, Ariz. -- Utility man Alexi Amarista is far from a perfect player, but he might just be the ideal bench player for a National League team, according to manager Bud Black.

"His skill set does line up to be a very valuable part of a National League team," Black said Tuesday, when Amarista went 1-for-4 with an RBI and run scored against the Reds, starting at second base before moving to center field. "[He can play] second, short, third, left, right, center. He can do the little game, he has a little bit of pop, and I trust him on defense."

The Padres acquired Amarista from the Angels in May 2012 along with right-handed pitcher Donn Roach in a deal that sent reliever Ernesto Frieri to Los Angeles.

Amarista hit .240 with five home runs and 32 RBIs in 275 at-bats, and played everywhere in the infield but first base while seeing time at all three outfield positions.

"I was very happy with the work I did," Amarista said through an interpreter. "This year, I need to do a little more. I'm trying to make adjustments. My job is to get on base."

Amarista did plenty of that following the trade, as he hit .341 in June and .282 in July. But he struggled thereafter, often expanding the strike zone. Once August hit, he batted .198 with 20 strikeouts.

"He's got to walk a little more," said Black, noting Amarista had 17 walks in 105 games.

Amarista, who is listed at 5-foot-8, hit two home runs in a June 30 game at Coors Field. And two days before that, he hit a grand slam off Brett Myers as part of a six-run ninth inning in Houston.

"He's got a little bit of scary pop," Black said.

Black said he has no qualms about using Amarista late in games, no matter the position.

"He'll never lose you a game on defense," Black said.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español