Padres to gauge Medica's ability in outfield

Padres to gauge Medica's ability in outfield

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres have liked what they've seen offensively thus far from Tommy Medica, as he recorded eight hits in his first 11 at-bats of Cactus League play.

Now, the Padres want to see how Medica, a first baseman, looks on defense in the outfield, which not only could increase his versatility but could also be a determining factor on whether he lands on the 25-man Opening Day roster or heads to Triple-A El Paso to begin the season.

"We're exploring that possibility," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We'll see how that looks. We'll see. He's athletic, he runs well and has good hands. But you look at the breaks, the routes, things that come harder for a guy who hasn't played the outfield."

Depending on how they cut up the roster, the Padres could have room for Medica on the Opening Day roster as outfielder Cameron Maybin will miss upwards of two months after rupturing his biceps tendon on Sunday while making a diving catch.

For now, Medica will play first base in spring games. The Padres are comfortable with his development during morning drills under the watchful eyes of bench coach Dave Roberts and new first-base coach Jose Valentin.

"In order for him to project as an outfielder in the Major Leagues, there's a lot to work on," Black said.

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