SAN DIEGO—Carlos Asuaje doesn't mind being a utility infielder. He's not offended by the term. He doesn't run from it. Unlike many minor leaguers, he embraces it and is proud of it.
"It's about accepting the role," Asuaje said. "A lot of guys resent it a little bit. If you accept the role it becomes kind of fun. Baseball can be monotonous. But when you switch up positions, it makes it exciting."
That versatility also gave Asuaje his chance to develop into a prospect. In 2014 with low Class A Greenville, Asuaje bounced between second base, third base and left field so that the Drive could keep him in the lineup.
"I think everyone has said my strength is my hitting, my offense. For me to progress in my career I needed to be in the lineup every day," Asuaje said. "If that took playing six or seven positions, that's what I was going to do.
It was in Greenville that the 11th-round pick demonstrated his hitting ability that showed he was a legitimate prospect. But here's where the plot twists. Asuaje was so good as a hitter that he stopped being asked to play everywhere.
Since he was promoted to high Class A Salem at the end of 2014, the Red Sox had Asuaje focus on playing second base. After he was traded in the offseason to the Padres as part of the package that sent Craig Kimbrel to Boston, San Diego has had him playing second base almost exclusively with Triple-A El Paso.
He's hitting .323/.386/.463 for El Paso. Now, Asuaje is making a case to be the Padres' future second baseman.
But if San Diego instead calls him up to play a little bit of everywhere, well Asuaje would be happy to fill the role.
"It's about accepting it and seeing it adds value to a team," Asuaje said.