Gyorko Waiting For His Shot In San Diego

SAN DIEGO Jedd Gyorko has made a strong case for promotion to the Padres.

The third baseman appears primed for a September callup after hitting .312/.373/.531 in 433 at-bats between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson this season. Whether Gyorko has a shot at a starting job with the club, however, could depend on whether the Padres trade third baseman Chase Headley.

Third base is Gyorko's best position, according to scouts. They're less enamored with him at second base, where he has also played and where the Padres seem committed to prospects Logan Forsythe and Alexi Amarista.

Headley has been the subject of trade rumors for the last two years, leading to speculation the Padres will deal him this offseason, both to strengthen their talent pool and to make room for Gyorko, 23. He's played in 311 minor league games, most of them at third base.

"He's an excellent defensive third baseman," farm director Randy Smith said. "He moves very well there. He's comfortable at third. He makes a lot of athletic plays."
Any hitter who joins the Padres will be tested by the team's extreme pitcher's park. Headley, for example, said he had to pare his swing to counter the deadening effects of San Diego's coastal conditions.

Gyorko has hit 17 of his 23 homers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, and posted better results in Tucson (.330/.378/.571) than San Antonio (.262/.356/.431). Regardless of the ballpark, he has the ingredients to become a good major league hitter, Smith said.

"He hits the ball to all fields. He hits the ball on a line," Smith said. "He knows what he's doing. He's got a real solid approach—this guy can hit. He's always had a pretty good understanding of what type of hitter he is, an idea of the strike zone and pitch recognition. He's a polished hitter and probably not far away from hitting in the big leagues."

Smith said Gyorko was recently married. The farm director stopped short of saying the prospect's next big life event will be a promotion. "It's safe to say his performance warrants consideration," Smith said.


• One season after being named the top prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League, high Class A Lake Elsinore right fielder Yeison Asencio had 17 assists in 61 games and a .329/.361/.518 average.

• Double-A left fielder/third baseman Edinson Rincon, 21, hit .341 with eight doubles and three home runs in 33 games after the all-star break.