Hedges impresses staff with work behind plate

PEORIA, Ariz. -- During Wednesday's split-squad loss to the A's, Padres Minor League outfielder Yeison Asencio made a strong throw from right field to nab a runner at the plate, with catcher Austin Hedges making a nice play for the tag.

"It was a tough short hop. [Hedges] spun back around [for the tag]," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It was a very good play."

Hedges, who caught three innings in the game against the A's, continues to impress the staff with the way he's handled himself in his first big league camp.

Hedges, hitless in three at-bats going into Thursday's game against the Royals, said he's been trying to absorb as much as he can before he's ultimately moved to Minor League camp in March.

"It's been awesome," said Hedges, who is the No. 5 Padres prospect, according to MLB.com. "... I have been trying to keep my ears open and learn everything I can. I feel like I've learned a lot and will try to learn even more."

Hedges, 20, who will begin the season with Single-A Lake Elsinore, said he's picked up more than simply baseball-related information, offensive and defensive aspects of the game that will help him grow as a player.

"It's the all-around game. But one of the big things is learning how to prepare yourself every day, before you go on the field, how you take care of yourself afterwards and learning how players take care of their bodies for the rest of the season," Hedges said.

Hedges, a second-round pick in 2011, estimates that he played 25 games his senior year in high school. Last season with Single-A Fort Wayne, he appeared in over 100 games, including the playoffs.

"I had a few bumps and bruises, but I thought I held up just fine," Hedges said. "It's a little different. But I think I was prepared, and I think even this year I'll be even more prepared."