Padres need breakout year from Yonder Alonso

The news coming out of the Padres' camp has seemingly been all gloom and doom of late. Which makes Yonder Alonso's recent resurgence at the plate all the more refreshing, even if these are still exhibitions.

Over the last seven games, the Padres first baseman is 6-for-19 with three home runs and six RBIs. This after he started the spring 3-for-22 and struggled to make contact, much less hard contact.

When the games do start to count, Alonso, soon to be 26, may remain the Padres' best bet at a ray of sunshine.

With Chase Headley out, Carlos Quentin coming back from a balky knee and Yasmani Grandal suspended, Alonso for now is the preeminent power bat in the lineup (not counting an unproven Jedd Gyorko), even if he did hit only nine home runs in 2012.

The evidence suggests he's capable of more.

He hit a team-high 39 doubles last season (eighth in the NL), he posted good power numbers in the minors and, tossing aside less meaningful spring trends, he consistently makes contact.

The next and needed step for the Padres: He breaks out in 2013.

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