Padres look stronger up the middle

It wasn’t more than two days after the 2010 regular season ended when Padres general manager Jed Hoyer told reporters that he wanted the team to be stronger up the middle in 2011.

Hoyer then went out and traded for center fielder Cameron Maybin and shortstop Jason Bartlett and signed free second second baseman Orlando Hudson.

All three have made nice first impressions on Opening Day, as Maybin had a sliding catch in shallow center field on the first play of the game.

Bartlett and Hudson — with an assist to pitcher Tim Stauffer, of course — have combined to turn three double plays through the first five innings of Thursday’s game.

Strong up the middle, indeed.

— Corey Brock

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