Padres have high hopes for Medica on offense

Padres have high hopes for Medica on offense

Padres have high hopes for Medica on offense

PHILADELPHIA -- The Padres still aren't quite sure what to make of first baseman Tommy Medica, who two days ago was helping the Double-A San Antonio Missions advance in the Texas League playoffs.

They're about to find out, though.

"There's a little something in his bat," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We think here in September that he brings us another bat on the bench. He'll get some starts, too. We're looking forward to getting him into the lineup. We feel as though he's deserving of this."

On Tuesday, the Padres added the 25-year-old Medica to their roster before the start of a three-game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Black said there's a good chance Medica could get his first start Wednesday against Phillies left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee.

Medica hit .296 with 20 home runs, 65 RBIs and 45 extra-base hits this season between five games in the Arizona League and 76 games with the Missions.

Medica missed a little more than two months on the disabled list earlier this season with a strained left oblique.

This promotion will give the team a chance to look at Medica before he heads to play in the Arizona Fall League next month.

He didn't see this promotion coming at all.

"It's just a huge shock," he said. "It was the last thing on my mind."

Medica, who was drafted in the 14th-round in 2010 out of Santa Clara University, is a .295 hitter in four Minor League seasons with 49 home runs. He has a .538 slugging percentage and a .926 OPS to show for 300 games in the organization.

"Tommy, when he's been healthy, has always hit and put up numbers," said Randy Smith, the Padres' vice president of player development and international scouting. "He has a knack for driving in runs."

A former highly-regarded catcher at Santa Clara, Medica has had two surgeries on his right (throwing) shoulder, once while in college in April 2009 and another in September 2011. He's been building his arm strength ever since, and this season, he said, it felt good.

"I could play every day without my arm being sore or tired," Medica said. "It's the strongest that it has felt."

Medica wouldn't rule out a return to catching at some point and neither will the Padres. They liked him behind the plate previously.

"He can really catch, he runs the game well," Smith said. "The game goes smoothly when he's behind the plate."

For now, Media will focus on the here and now.

"That would be a goal," Medica said of catching again. "But for now, I'll get the bat going and see what happens."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.