May 2, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres third basemanJace Peterson
(3) is unable to make the play on an infield single by Arizona Diamondbacks second basemanAaron Hill
(not pictured) during the ninth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jace Peterson came into spring training having never played an inning at third base. Now, just over a month into the season, he is seeing regular playing time at the hot corner after being pressed into service by an injury to Chase Headley.
The transition began in March when Headley wasn’t ready for the start of spring training. That’s when Bud Black saw an opportunity for the 2011 first round pick to gain some extra playing time and become a more versatile player at the same time. A shortstop by trade, Peterson already had experience seeing the ball from the left side of the infield, but even so, third base is a complete different animal. Drills at third as well as game action helped him adjust in the spring and prepared him for the role he has been thrust into.
Bud Black must have liked what he had seen, because Peterson was the choice the Padres made to fill in for Headley despite just playing 18 games in Double-A. Since being called up, he hasn’t been a superstar in the field or at the plate, but nobody expected him to be one. He’s batting .174 while making 2 errors in 10 games. For a guy fresh out of Single-A ball, I’d say that’s a pretty decent job, and he’s shown this organization that he’ll adjust to fit the needs of team.
Obviously he’ll be back down in Double-A once Headley returns, but his willingness to change positions and the composure he’s shown to play at the big league level will go a long way. I for one, am excited to see his progression and what the future holds for him.