San Diego Padres: Bethancourt Set to Take Next Step in Unprecedented Experiment

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Aug 16, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Christian Bethancourt (12) smiles as he works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 16, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Christian Bethancourt (12) smiles as he works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Making his spring debut on the mound on Wednesday, Christian Bethancourt is looking to prove to the San Diego Padres that he still has a place on the roster.

It is one of the stories of spring training so far for the San Diego Padres. Christian Bethancourt, a catcher, pitcher, and outfielder all at once, is seeking to become baseball’s most versatile player.

On Wednesday, his transformation to the mound will take the next step, as he is scheduled to pitch in one of San Diego’s split squad spring training games. Bethancourt has pitched an inning and two-thirds in his major league career, including two appearances last season in lopsided contests.

The Padres will play in Peoria against Oakland on Sunday, and also in Colorado’s training facility. As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune, it has still yet to be determined which game Bethancourt will appear in.

Related Story: Bethancourt’s Versatility Gaining National Attention

Bethancourt’s transition will be beneficial to San Diego if successful, as the Padres could use pitching, even relief pitching. Since 24-year-old Austin Hedges is going to be the starter, and Luis Torrens is also in the mix as catcher, Bethancourt brings little to the table behind the dish only.

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He also has had his share of struggles at the plate at the major league level. With a career batting average of just .223 with 103 hits, Bethancourt can be a liability in the order. As a relief pitcher, there shouldn’t be any circumstances under which the 25-year-old will need to step into the batter’s box.

If there is a need at another position though, the Padres will still have Bethancourt as an option. It is unlikely that the club will call on him to play in the outfield given the current makeup of the roster. Pitching is the area where the team needs all the help they can get, so Bethancourt’s transition can only benefit the Padres.

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Of course, this entire story is still in the experiment stage. No one knows just how Bethancourt will pitch, or if it is even possible to be an effective player while performing at multiple positions. But Bethancourt is going to give it a go on Wednesday, so fans will know a bit more then.

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