Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Job: What's It like Being the Starting Catcher for San Diego Padres?

Austin Hedges has been preparing for his MLB gig since his tee-ball days


Published:

Austin Hedges’s gig isn’t all sunflower seeds and squats. The starting catcher for the San Diego Padres has to be on the ball nonstop, in-season and off. But it wasn’t necessarily the rush of strategic defense that led him to the position.

“To be honest, I just thought the gear was cool,” he says. “Ever since I started playing tee ball, I dreamt of being in the big league.”

Hedges was drafted by the Padres out of high school in San Juan Capistrano in 2011, pulled up to the major league team four years later, and named the team’s starter last season.

His off-season doesn’t look all that different from a regular nine-to-fiver. There’s the 7 a.m. wakeup call, getting to “the yard”—his name for Petco Park—an hour later, and breakfast. From there, it’s training time. He meets with the team’s physical therapist, then hits the weight room and some balls. By late afternoon, he packs up his gear—everything but his personal iPad stays at “the office,” aka locker room—and heads back home to Point Loma to take his dog for a walk, make dinner, and watch sports. Bedtime is usually no later than 11 p.m., with weekends off.

The in-season is a different ball game, with an unruly schedule: 162 games in six months.

“There are times you’re playing 20 games without a day off,” Hedges says. “By August, some plays that were easy to make in April are tougher and might translate to you having an off night. That’s what makes great players great. They’re capable of playing at their sorest.”

That grind, he says, is the hardest part of his job. Which is why preparation is key and, fortunately for Hedges, what he most looks forward to on game days.

He arrives about six hours ahead of the first pitch. A soak in the hot or cold tub, stretches, and foam-rolling ready his body, while the right music and reviewing film ready his mind.

“I love getting in the video room, preparing for two or three hours, and then going out and executing,” Hedges says. “There’s no reward like it. I get to play the game I love. I get to live out my dreams.”


Opening Day!

San Diego Padres vs. Milwaukee Brewers
March 29
Petco Park
padres

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Glam Squad Targets San Diego’s Low-Income Seniors

Charity project hopes to boost self-confidence by gifting makeovers

Sky of Blue and Sea of Green

Our copy chief reflects on the unique relationship his father had with the afterlife

Sophia Loren Comes to Escondido

The legendary actress spares time for a Q&A
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Problem With Bright Red Tuna
    Many Americans still think bright red tuna means it’s fresher (it’s not)
  2. First Look: Animae
    Puffer Malarkey Restaurants unveil 5.5 million-dollar pan-Asian concept
  3. Jason Mraz and his Historic Coffee Bean
    The singer and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters unveil the first California-grown Geisha coffee
  4. The Hunt For San Diego's Best Chicken Wings
    How wings became the No. 1 kickoff food in the U.S., and our hunt for the best
  5. How San Diego Are You?
    Take our quiz to see where you land on the newcomer to old-timer spectrum
  6. First Look: Zinqué
    L.A. success story brings the soul of French zincs to Little Italy
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles

October is Rideshare Month

Join the Rideshare 2015 Challenge and get there together
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

’Tis the Season for San Diego Fun

Here's where to play and stay this winter in America’s Finest City

We Chat with the Crew behind Hornblower Cruises and Events Aboard the High Spirits Ship

Sponsored by Hornblower
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags