PEORIA, Ariz.- Heading into spring training, the Padres had two major questions on their mind. Who will fill the backup catcher position? Who will add depth to the pitching rotation?
Right-hander Christian Bethancourt is the answer to both of those questions.
Bethancourt, whose primary role is serving as the Padres backup catcher, pitched in the eighth inning against the team’s 8-7 loss to the Giants, allowing one run that would tie the game.
“I thought he was solid,” manager Andy Green said. “He still runs into those stretches — and everybody does — where he just kind of gets scattershot for a while, and then he seems to be able to bring it back in and find the zone. Those lapses where he loses command have to become less and less if he’s going to be productive in the bullpen at the big league level. But overall, pretty pleased with his development and how he’s throwing the baseball.”
The 25-year-old utility man has caught, pitched, played second base and played left field in one game alone last year for the Padres. He’s a career .223 hitter with eight homers and 46 RBIs in 153 games.
“He is a relief pitcher who can also pinch-hit and catch, and play left field,” Green said. “A ton of versatility. Frees up a lot of pinch-hit decisions. Frees up a lot of matchup decisions.”