Hitting Prospects Get In Early Work

For the second year in a row, the Padres invited a select group of position players to come in early and hone their skills at the plate. From young guns Yefri Carvajal and Kyle Blanks, to Tagg Bozied and Corey Smith who are looking to push their way to the big leagues, the group features many of the top hitting prospects in the system.

Peoria, Ariz. - On Monday, many of the top hitting prospects in the Padres system hit the field in Peoria a week before the rest of their colleagues for focused work with instructors from throughout the system.

The camp offers Padres' player development staff a chance to spend intensive time with focusing on the "patiently aggressive" approach which has become the mantra for hitters throughout the organization.

"It's nice to get a head start," said third baseman Corey Smith. "I'm just looking at it as a chance to get out there and take some swings in a strucutred environment before guys get into camp."

The camp includes several players like Smith who are pushing for an opportunity at the big-league level, a few in the middle of the system trying to tweak their swings a bit, and a number of players who are either new to the system or players coming off their first year in the professional ranks.

Among the 19 players in camp are a number of prospects who will compete for time first base, including Triple-A slugger Tagg Bozied, Double-A prospect Michael Johnson, and Michael Baxter, Kyle Blanks, Tim Brown, Daryl Jones and Casey Smith from the lower levels of the system.

Chase Headley, Michael Baxter, Seth Johnston, Will Venable, Casey Smith, Brian Cavanaugh and Drew Davidson, all members of the Padres' draft class from last year, are all in camp as well.

"I'm just really glad to be here," said Headley. "I'm hoping I can carry forward some of the success I had last year."

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