Crabbe was long shot to make Padres
Speed, versatility led to youngster obtaining roster spot
SAN DIEGO -- Callix Crabbe will be the first one to tell you that it wasn't one specific aspect of his game that he performed well in Spring Training that allowed him to make his first Major League roster.
"I don't think it was one big thing that helped me make the team, it was a lot of things," Crabbe said.
Or, as it was, Crabbe's ability to play many positions, something that he did during what amounted to a six-week tryout in Arizona that, obviously, ended well as Crabbe earned one of the few vacant spots on his first Opening Day roster.
"I think showing that I was able to do that [play the infield and outfield], I swung the bat well, but I don't think that was the biggest thing. I think I have the ability to come in and steal a base. I know I can steal a base if we need one," Crabbe said.
Crabbe hit .309 during the spring and had more hits (21) and at-bats (68) than any other player on the roster. He played second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions during Spring Training.
It was Crabbe's defensive proficiency that allowed San Diego to option infielder Luis Rodriguez to Triple-A Portland last week, instead of keeping him on the roster.
"The versatility that he brought and the ability to go to the outfield and the infield, I think probably gave him the edge," Padres manager Bud Black said of his decision to keep Crabbe and not Rodriguez. "But it was close. It was a tough decision. Both of them were capable of playing short, second and third. Callix can swing to the outfield a little bit, he's a little better runner. I think offensively, they both do similar things."
But in the end, it was Crabbe -- a Rule 5 selection from the Brewers who had to remain on the Padres' roster all season or be offered back to Milwaukee -- who made the roster. He's very much appreciative to the Padres for keeping him.
"I appreciate being here," he said.
Crabbe's mother and father, Alana and Elvin Crabbe, flew to San Diego from their home in the Virgin Islands on Saturday. Crabbe's girlfriend and his brother and sister are also in San Diego this week.
Crabbe's mother came to the Padres' workout on Sunday where she got a chance to meet her favorite player, pitcher Greg Maddux. Maddux gave her a signed bat.
"I'm not mad at her," Crabbe said. "He's my favorite player, too."
Another guest of Crabbe's was former Major League slugger Cecil Fielder, who served as an offseason hitting instructor for Crabbe in suburban Atlanta.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.