Feb 6, 2011, 10:38 AM EDT
Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera turned some heads in 2009 when he swiped 22 bases and posted a .255 batting average and .342 on-base percentage as a 22-year-old rookie. He failed to make any sort of improvement last season, however, and finished the 2010 campaign with an absolutely brutal .208/.279/.278 batting line.
The Padres spun a trade with the Rays for Jason Bartlett this winter and plan to start the more offensive-minded shortstop on most days and nights this season. Orlando Hudson was also brought in as a free agent to play second base.
Cabrera is no longer guaranteed a big league roster spot. And even if he makes the team, it will only be as a backup middle infielder. He needs to have a good showing this spring.
For what it’s worth, he has already put on quite a show this winter.
According to Jesse Sanchez, who is covering the Caribbean Series for MLB.com, Cabrera hit .301 with eight stolen bases over 83 at-bats for Mexico’s Obregon Yaquis this offseason and is now helping the club compete against teams from Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the playoffs. A team from Mexico has won the Caribbean Series only five times since 1970.
The level of competition is a bit different and Cabrera still has miles of proving to go, but he seems to be seeing the ball well at the moment and he may be able to ride the hot streak into Cactus League play.
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