Wil Myers Motivated to Play Center Field


Wil Myers is excited about playing center field.

It remains to be seen how good he can be there.

The Padres will hold a news conference on Tuesday to introduce Myers, who was obtained in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays on December 18th. Myers was one of three high-profile outfielders obtained by the Padres in December, joining Matt Kemp and Justin Upton as newcomers to San Diego.

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All three outfielders are better suited to play corner outfield positions, but the rumors have been that Myers will man center field.

The 24-year old former American League Rookie of the Year has played a total of nine major league games in center. Last season, he played there in only one game.

According to Ken Rosenthal, Myers has told the Padres that he is “…excited and motivated to play center field.”

Myers played some center field in the minors. After he spent his first two professional seasons as a catcher in the Royals organization, he was moved to outfield in 2011, playing both center and right. He racked up 100 games at center in 2011-2012, but was moved almost exclusively to right field after being traded to the Rays prior to the 2013 season. He has played 150 of his 175 major league games in right field.

Rosenthal ponders how Myers will prepare for his new home on defense:

"It will be interesting to hear if Myers is adjusting his conditioning to prepare for the position change. (Andre) Ethier lost weight last offseason knowing the Dodgers again would use him in center, wanting to become lighter so he could better handle the position."

The 6’3”, 205-pound Myers doesn’t appear to have a lot of excess weight to lose. But with range that was slightly below average for right field, Myers may want to look for every possible advantage now that he’s moving to the vast outfield of Petco Park.