San Diego Padres: Will Kyle Blanks Make a Difference in 2013?

Gary Ousdahl@@GaryOusdahlCorrespondent IIFebruary 27, 2013

Kyle Blanks - 2013 Spring Training
Kyle Blanks - 2013 Spring TrainingChristian Petersen/Getty Images

Though he's been riddled by injuries since he reached the big leagues in 2009, The San Diego Padres' Kyle Blanks could prove to be an interesting player to keep your eyes on this spring.

Blanks is already off to a lighting start, going 5-for-8 with a .625/.667/.875 slash line.

Of course, it's way too early to predict how Blanks will perform before Opening Day, but the 26-year-old looks to be healthy this spring after missing most of last season with an April surgery.  

Injuries have always slowed Blanks' progression since breaking into the major leagues at 22. 

He suffered a partial tear in his right foot in his rookie season. A year later, he needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Not long after, Blanks suffered a torn left labrum that ended his season last year.

Per Corey Brock of MLB.com, Blanks is ready to put those days behind him:

"'When you're hurt, people think you're gone,' Blanks said. ... 'Those days are long gone,' he said Tuesday. 'That's a losing proposition.'"

A dominant hitter in the minors, Blanks has played a total of seven seasons in the Padres system with a .305 average, 88 home runs and 393 RBI in 2,013 at-bats, including hitting .352 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI in 134 at-bats in 2011 with Triple-A Tucson.  

Blanks can play the outfield as well as first base. And though he hasn't had a ton of major league experience, he's only committed one error in 837.2 innings played.  

Pretty impressive for a big guy who has the potential of hitting the long ball with average.  

Don't expect him to take over out of spring, but you should definitely keep track of his production, as he could turn some heads if given the opportunity to play regularly.  

And have Padres fans forgotten about him?

"'Quite honestly, I don't really care,' he said. 'If I'm not on the field, I can't do anything about it. All I can do is work hard to get back on the field.'"

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