The San Diego Padres signed 16-year-old international prospect Ethan Salas in January, and on Saturday, the teen prodigy made his spring training debut against the Chicago White Sox.

The catcher, who is ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Padres’ portfolio according to MLB.com ratings, went 0-for-1 in his only at-bat for San Diego, but went four innings in the team’s victory. by 6-5. . Although a lot of attention has been paid to his age, Salas insisted that he does not care about those who talk about it.

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Ethan Salas, #85 of the San Diego Padres, stands in the bullpen before a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox on March 11, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona.

Ethan Salas, #85 of the San Diego Padres, stands in the bullpen before a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox on March 11, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona. (Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

«Age is just a number,» he said via MLB.com. «I’ve been prepared for this. I think my preparation is really good: my routine, everything I’ve been working towards in the gym, in the hours after. I think I’ve done pretty well.» [Today was] Just another normal game for me.»

It’s unclear where Salas will start the year once baseball season begins. Normally, an international prospect would start in the Dominican Summer League and then work his way up to the Arizona Fall League before hitting Class-A minor league ball in his second full season.

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Ethan Salas, #85 of the San Diego Padres, catches during a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox on March 11, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona.

Ethan Salas, #85 of the San Diego Padres, catches during a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox on March 11, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona. (Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

However, it has been rumored that he could even start the year at Single-A Lake Elsinore of the California League. He won’t turn 17 until June.

Padres manager Bob Melvin appeared pleased with Salas’s development.

«For a 16-year-old behind the plate, I’ll tell you, he’s way beyond his years,» Melvin said. «You look at the way he frames the pitches, a couple of balls on the dirt that pass him, but he’s got his wit about him… It’s pretty amazing to see a 16-year-old with that kind of composure.»

Ethan Salas, #85 of the San Diego Padres, runs to first base during a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox on March 11, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona.  This marks the first game for the 16-year-old 2023 international draft pick.

Ethan Salas, #85 of the San Diego Padres, runs to first base during a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox on March 11, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona. This marks the first game for the 16-year-old 2023 international draft pick. (Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

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Shortstop Jackson Merrill and right-handed pitcher Dylan Lesko rank 1 and 2 respectively in the Padres’ farm system, according to MLB.com.