Friday, May 05, 2006

Padres Mark Bellhorn's Bat Wins Him Playing Time

Padres second baseman Mark Bellhorn lost his position during spring training to rookie Josh Barfield, but Bellhorn is battling his way back not up the middle but at first, occasionally third and, soon, even the outfield. Manager Bruce Bochy vows to find ways to keep Bellhorn in the lineup, even if it means having him field flies in left. So far, Bellhorn's .300 batting average has won him a spot, perhaps temporary, at first, replacing 24-year-old upstart Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who may be given another chance if Bellhorn cools down, was batting just .232 in the absence of $6 million man Ryan Klesko. Klesko is out until mid-July following shoulder surgery, and his spot as regular first baseman has been called into question.