Tony Gwynn’s inability to play in the San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis game is nevertheless cause for optimism.

PEORIA, Arizona – In the San Diego Padres’ training camp, Jackson Merrill is really moving around, moving from shortstop to center field.

The 20-year-old prospect, who has played just 200 minor league games (196 at short and exactly 0 in center), accepted the challenge of making the adjustment with much anticipation this spring.

In an MLB Tonight interview, Merrill said to Jonathan Mayo, “It is been great, kind of open and loose.” “Go retrieve the ball outside; there is plenty more time.”

Padres of San Diego Photo Day
PEORIA, Arizona: Jackson Merrill is putting in a bid to start for the San Diego Padres in 2024. [+]GLORIOUS PICTURES
“I will continue to work toward becoming a shortstop; I will never give it up. Everything they have given me, I have accepted. I find it interesting that there is a position available (in the center).

Merrill argues that if necessary, he can assist the club in either capacity. According to manager Mike Schildt, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound rookie’s agility suited either position.

Selected 27th overall in the first round of 2022, Merrill earned a $1.8 million signing bonus upon graduating from high school. The following eight players chosen received a total of over $2 million. When questioned about the feeling of receiving that bonus by the Baltimore Sun, Merrill seemed to be unaffected by the money.

In any case, his financial account will rise dramatically if projections come true. Scouts are optimistic about the left-handed swinger in large part because of his ability to drive the ball when he chooses the pitch he wants and his patience at the plate.

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