The San Diego Padres have not named a starting second baseman yet, but when they did it is expected to be former West Virginia University star Jedd Gyorko.
Gyorko entered camp as the top prospect in the Padres' organization, but needed to make the transition from third base to second base. He was named the top third baseman in all of triple-A last year.
"I am excited," Gyorko said from spring training in Peoria,
Arizona. "I am looking forward to it. We have a lot of great coaches that are
teaching me a lot and giving me a lot of reps at second base."
Gyorko's real asset is his bat. He can hit for both average and power, two qualities not found in most Major Leaguers at the same time.
Gyorko has played in 19 games for the Padres this spring. He is batting .283 in 53 at bats with three Home Runs, five doubles and 10 runs batted in.
The Padres have done a good job brining Gyorko through the ranks. This was his second invitation to the Padres' Major League camp at Spring Training.
"Last year I was introducing myself to everybody and kind of learning the ropes of how things are done," Gyorko stated. "This year I have come in with a lot more confidence. I know what is going to happen and I am definitely ready to compete for a starting job."
Gyorko is competing for the starting job at second base with Logan Forsythe who played for the major league squad last season. Gyorko is doing all he can to continue to improve his defensive skills and show the organization that he can be an everyday second baseman.
"I am trying to get used to work around the bag and get used to the ball coming at a different angle," Gyorko said. "I am taking a lot of reps and catching a lot of ground balls and working on my pivot. I am also taking balls from short and third so I can work on turning a double play and reading the ball off the bat."
Published reports indicate Gyorko is on the verge of winning the starting job. The Padres have just nine spring training games remaining before their season opener at the New York Mets on April 1.
"I think I am ready," Gyorko stated. "I have the ability to make that step. I have to keep working and keep getting better at second. I have to keep getting better at my approach at the plate. Overall I think I am ready, but I have to go out perform well and finish the spring strong."
Gyorko has not yet made his Major League debut. He hopes to change that this season, perhaps as early as that season opener against the Mets on April 1.