Tucson Padres: Galvez learns to play 3rd

2013-05-14T00:00:00Z Tucson Padres: Galvez learns to play 3rdZack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When Jonathan Galvez came to America from the Dominican Republic in 2009, he was 18 and couldn't speak a lick of English.

But in the four years since, he's learned enough to hold a conversation.

Playing third base, though, is another story.

For the Tucson Padres this season, Galvez - who considers himself a second baseman - has played all over the field at the behest of manager Pat Murphy.

Galvez, 22, has four errors in 19 games played this season at third, compared to two in 21 games at second base, so it's been an adjustment for the youngest player on Tucson's roster.

"It's a little hard because in my first year I played a different position," Galvez said. "But, like, I have to make the adjustment to feel comfortable. Third base is a little different because it's going to a different angle, but like I said I have to make the adjustment."

Murphy started Galvez in left field on Monday night against the Round Rock Express, the fifth time he's played the outfield this season.

So for Murphy, Galvez has become the go-to utility guy.

"He's being asked to play positions he's rarely played," Murphy said. "It's been a struggle for him but he comes with a great attitude every day and offensively he finds ways to get his hits. He's a great competitor, if I was in a struggle somewhere and I need help, he'd be the kid to go to for sure."

But, Murphy said, Galvez doesn't act like a kid. He's batting .286 on the season (before the game against Round Rock) and is second on the Padres with eight steals. He might be the youngest player on the team, but he doesn't show it. Galvez doesn't get intimidated.

"That's his persona," said outfielder Travis Buck, one of the Padres' elder statesmen at 29. "That's his personality and that's big, because nowadays guys are making it in the big leagues really young, and the less intimidated they are, the less they let things get to them."

Added Murphy: "He doesn't take crap from anybody. He's respectful, but he doesn't take crap from anybody."

Recently he hasn't taken "crap" from pitchers, either. In the last eight games entering Monday night, Galvez was batting .458 with five runs and two steals.

Galvez has been playing baseball since he was 7, and he's been in Major League systems since 18.

He never played third before this year, though, and never spoke English before coming to the U.S.

So, which one is harder?

"Both," Galvez said, laughing. "Right now I can speak a little more English. It gets better every year."

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