Mark McGwire absent from Padres camp while tending to family matter

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

PEORIA, Ariz. -- New Padres bench coach Mark McGwire is absent from spring training while he takes care of family matters back in Southern California.

New manager Andy Green said McGwire, the one-time home run king, was in camp earlier, and the two talk by phone every day.

"Family to us is the most important thing," Green said Tuesday morning. "We consider ourselves a family here. We want to make sure he's got ample time to make sure he feels good about where his family is before he comes back this way."

Big Mac had been the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the last three seasons before being hired by Green.

Position players were having their physicals on Tuesday and the first full-squad workout is Wednesday.

"Everybody looks good, feels good," Green said.

The Padres are going slow with relievers Fernando Rodney and Kevin Quackenbush, who have hamstring strains.

One guy who needs to stay healthy is Wil Myers, who's being penciled in as the starting first baseman. He had surgery on his left wrist in mid-June and was limited to 60 games. The most games he's played in a season was 88 in 2013, when he was named the AL Rookie of the Year while with Tampa Bay.

"The last two years, obviously I haven't played very many games at all," he said. "I think this offseason went by really slow for me just because I hadn't played in two years and I was just ready to get going again. So I'm very excited for this year, I'm very prepared for this year, I worked out probably harder than I ever have. I'm ready to get going this year."

He was San Diego's opening day center fielder last year but is moving to first base.

"I'm very excited about that. It's my favorite position I've played so far in professional baseball, and I'm looking forward to playing a full year there," he said. "This will be my first time ever going through bunt coverages, cutoffs, relays, things like that. Once I get used to that, I think I'll pick it up pretty easy."

Myers did some work with McGwire in San Diego in the offseason.

He hopes to stick to just one position.

"I played infield growing up, all my life, and just to be able to do this, play infield full time, will be fun. Being able to be involved in just about every play is going to make the games go by quicker and make me focus more."

Myers would like to get 600 plate appearances.

"That would be huge," he said. "And just to be able to have 600 plate appearances, with the talent level I have, I think I'll be able to put together a lot of great at-bats in 600 plate appearances. That's one thing I'm looking forward to, is just staying healthy all year."