Nady could make Padres forget Roberts

Look at Xavier Nady now. It wasn't that long ago that his future with the San Diego Padres was being questioned.

In fact, as Padres general manager Kevin Towers talked to other clubs last winter, one San Diego player's name kept coming up -- Xavier Nady.

"Everyone inquired about our plans for X," said Towers. "The question most asked me was 'Is Nady available?'"

If he had been, no one met the Padres asking price ... which has turned out to be the team's best move of the offseason.

In his first game of the year, Nady crushed two homers, including a three-run blast in the sixth inning. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and four RBI's.

"Nady has become a very important part of our plans," Padres manager Bruce Bochy admitted.

"It's only one game," Nady warned – and the result was a Padres loss.

Because Dave Roberts started the season on the 15-day disabled list due to a groin injury, Nady opened the season in center. Had Roberts been healthy, Nady would probably have been the Opening Day third baseman. During the course of the season, Nady also figures to see action at both corner outfield slots, as well as first.

As spring training dawned, Towers said he viewed Nady as a "super sub" and said he wouldn't be surprised if Nady got 400 plate appearances. Now that number seems low.

Nady figures to be starting: A. anytime Roberts is not, B. anytime the other team is starting a left-hander, C. almost anytime that Sean Burroughs needs a day off at third, or D. almost anytime Ryan Klesko and Brian Giles need a blow in left and right, respectively.

The Padres' biggest concern had been how many games Nady might be starting in center.

But that point may become moot if Nady's bat continues to shine, as it did all last year while playing in Portland.

Roberts is still in the early stages of his rehab process as he sits on the shelf.

"I need some time to rest this and get it better," Roberts said. "I don't think it will be that much time."

The Padres expect Roberts to be ready to play by April 15 -- meaning he would miss only nine games under the best case scenario.

"Psychologically, I think going on the disabled list is going to help Roberts," general manager Kevin Towers said. "If he knows he's going to be shut down for 10 days, he'll rest it, and the rest will be good for him."

The concerns, however, have been severely lessened after Nady's debut. Days like that are welcome all the time.

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