After getting his first big league knock off of the likes of Washington Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasberg, Padres’ rookie infielder Jace Peterson is all smiles:
Any time you can get your debut and also do something to help the team, it makes you feel better. At the end of the day, you want to win, and that’s the most important thing.”
It wasn’t too long ago that Peterson was just a Padres’ farmhand at one of the bottom rungs of the system, toiling as a shortstop at Lake Elsinore for the Storm. Fast-forward eight months later, and he as doing the same for the Double-A affiliate of the Padres, the San Antonio Missions. Now? He’s the starting third baseman for the San Diego Padres. Okay, he didn’t beat anyone out for the job, but has done a good enough job in the minors to get the call-up from the big club when Chase Headley went on the disabled list with an injured calf. While not a power threat for a middle infielder, he brings a combination of consistency and speed to the Padres, with career minor league numbers of .303/.382/.454 to go along with 7 bombs, 66 runs driven in, and 42 thefts last season.
A couple of days after his first big league game, he followed up with a 2-for-4 performance on Monday. Padres’ manager Bud Black has been impressed with what he’s seen thus far:
Jace has done a nice job,” Black said. “Made a couple nice plays yesterday, made a couple nice plays in Washington. Jace plays at a pace that lends itself to good baseball. He’s competitive, but yet plays with an in-game awareness. For a young player, that’s good to see.”
While it hasn’t been mentioned or spoken of publicly, the Padres have to be thinking in the back of their minds, is that if Peterson can handle big league pitching, along with being mature enough to handle life in the show, he could become an internal candidate to replace Headley permanently if the incumbent third baseman chooses to leave San Diego for greener pastures. It’s never too early to start evaluating all possible options as the season moves along.