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Hagerty gets reps, game action at first

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Catcher Jason Hagerty is no stranger to first base, though when he arrived in Peoria last month for the start of Spring Training, he wasn't thinking about the position at all.

But with five other catchers in big league camp -- Austin Hedges, Nick Hundley, Yasmani Grandal, Eddy Rodriguez and John Baker -- the Padres asked Hagerty to take some reps at first base in practice.

Also, with James Darnell nursing a sore right oblique, the Padres were down to Yonder Alonso, Jesus Guzman and Kyle Blanks at first base. Hagerty has given them some depth there.

That has led to playing time at first base in Cactus League games, where the ball has already found him on several occasions.

"It's been fun," Hagerty said.

Hagerty said he played first base some in college at the University of Miami (2007-09) before the Padres drafted him in the fifth round in 2009. In fact, his time at first base in college came in his last season as former Hurricane Grandal got most of the time behind the plate.

Hagerty played eight games at first base that summer for short-season Eugene, five games at Class A Fort Wayne in 2010 and 10 games at first base in two Minor League stops the following season.

But Hagerty didn't catch a single game last season with Double-A San Antonio.

"It's a little bit different, because I haven't done it much," Hagerty said. "But I've been getting reps there in practice, so once you get the feeling back, it's a lot easier."

Despite the abundance of playing time at first base, Hagerty, who has a .273/.377/.442 line over his first four seasons, hasn't given up on his true position.

"Catching is still what I love to do," Hagerty said. "But whatever way I can get up [to the big leagues], I'll do it."

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