The 23-year-old Barfield is having a great spring, hitting .524 (11-for-21) with five doubles, a triple, a homer and 12 RBIs. Bellhorn, meantime, is hitting only .160. Barfield also covers more ground in the field.
"He looks like he belongs," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said of Barfield. "You can see his confidence growing."
Said general manager Kevin Towers: "I don't think we're in position right now to say Josh has got the job, but he certainly hasn't hurt himself with his play."
Another sign that Barfield has won the job is the move the Padres made in the middle of this week, asking waivers on utility infielder Bobby Hill.
Bochy has said that if Barfield wins the starting job at second, Bellhorn will make the team as a utility infielder. Hill essentially plays the same second/third combination as Bellhorn.
"I'm listening to my dad and taking it one day at a time," said Barfield, who hit .308 with 15 homers and 72 RBIs with Triple-A Portland last season. His father is former major league outfielder Jesse Barfield.