With only 19 position players in camp for the early hitters' camp, several guys are already working on different positions. Tagg Bozied is taking ground balls at third base, a position he played in college and during his winter league stint in the Dominican. "All my options are open at this point," said Bozied. Another guy giving his first baseman's mitt a rest is Mike Baxter, who is exploring the outfield early in camp. With a number of players in the mix for the first base job at Fort Wayne, Baxter's attempt gives both him and the organization some flexibility.
Joey Gomes, taken from Tampa Bay in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, made a big impression with his hitting Wednesday. An eighth round pick out of Santa Clara University in 2002, Gomes was left sent back to the California League for the third year in a row last year while watching his younger brother Jonny impress in the big leagues. After the initial disappointment, he put up an impressive .325/.383/.460 line. In his third full day on the field with the Padres, Gomes left the coaching staff talking about an impressive array of smashed line drives and aggressive approach at the plate.
On the mound, lefty Orlanda Lara, 20, made a strong impression with his first bullpen session. The Veracruz, Mexico, native displayed an impressive fastball and curve. As one of the few guys not wearing his name on his jersey, when we caught up with Colt Morton to ask who it was who'd been getting such a great pop from his glove, he replied, "That's the same question I asked as soon as he finished." A year after putting up a 2.15 ERA in 50 innings for Sonoyta in Mexico's Sonora League, Lara is looking to earn a roster spot in a full-season league.
Daniel Moore last appeared in competitive action in July of 2004, suffering through rotator cuff problems and poor performance in the rare instances he was on the mound. After almost two years, Moore is looking to show the Padres the ability that led them to take the big lefty in the secound round of the 2003 draft. "I can't wait to see him get in a game," said Morton, who played against the UNC product at North Carolina State. "He's got control of his pitches, although it's still obviously early."