“The Team-Next Thursday”
1-week from now, the much anticipated opening of the baseball season.
A look at storylines involving the Padres a week out from the first pitch.
..They can breathe a bit easier now..a day after the Fernando Tatis scare. He does not have a collarbone injury, does not appear to have a torn labrum or a shoulder joint issue. Maybe a pinched nerve. But he will have to be monitored going forward and he may have to reign in some of head first slides and dives for ground balls. The wear and tear factor seems to be an issue and he is only 21.
..Tommy Pham looks superb now that he has solved this contact lens problem. At first glance that (0-17) start looked awful in the spring, but he seems to have solved it. Now the chore, stay healthy. He did have 3-injuries the last year and a half and the scary stabbing incident last fall.
..CHRIS PADDACK is a question mark, and I don’t care he threw 5-shutout innings in a simulated game. Let me see what he does in a real start. He had the bad Cactus League start last week, and let’s not forget he had only 2-quality starts in his last 9-outings last season, 60-game schedule not withstanding. That (5.17-ERA) has to be concerning last year, and he is over (5.00) this spring again.
..DINELSON LAMET likely stays behind in extended spring training to get intrasquad starts and build arm strength, coming off the off season Plasma Platelet injection in his forearm. The vicious slider made him a dominant pitcher last summer, but that slider also took a toll on his arm too. Can he throw it with regularity? Will he dial back on it? Will he have more forearm issues? Will he be on a pitch count? Only time tells.
TRENT GRISHAM…Coming off a really good first season, now coming down with this hamstring issue. It’s been a good three weeks and he is not running bases yet, so it is slow-go for him. Hitting and shagging flyballs are one thing, but he needs his wheels underneath him to to do what he did last year, play really well at the top of the batting order. Not ready yet, maybe not for 2-weeks.
HA KIM…He did lots of good things in Japan, coming off that (.305-30HR) season, but he has not hit this spring. Yes he has hit some linedrives but a (.130) batting average is not what we expected when GM AJ Preller handed out a 3Y-21M contract. It appears he will be a utility player to start the season and to see if his career skills can catch up with MLB pitching.
JURICKSON PROFAR…That is some free fall this spring. Last year’s surprise play (.270) with power was a real bounceback season. But this spring’s (.031) batting average is a shocker…and this guy is making 7M a year too.
DREW POMERANZ…Hold your breath that the nearly 3-week shutdown because of discomfort in his forearm is a thing of the past. He is being counted on as the lead closer in the bullpen brigade, but it may be he cannot pitch back to back games. He’s had this forearm issue in the past, when he was a starter. That led to him flipping into a reliever and the brief success he had in Milwaukee out of the pen, and what he did with the Padres. He has to be monitored.
MATT STRAHM…Been tough, all these knee surgeries he has had. He likely stays in extended spring training with Lamet to build leg strength coming off his own off season surgery.
ADRIAN MOREJON…Full systems go as the extra starter in place of Lamet. He will require monitoring too, for he had four different arm issues in the minors. So far in San Diego, so good, and he looks ready to slot in case there are problems with Paddack or a delay in Lamet’s return.
RYAN WEATHERS…The next one on the assembly line of young arms, and his outings in the Cactus League have been solid. He is behind Morejon is being ready to put in innings as a starter. He might be the lead guy if there have to be bullpen days.
JACOB NIX…The latest to have elbow surgery, and will miss the year.
JOSE CASTILLO…What a star-crossed career, it will be 3-seasons since he really pitched, once he goes thru this latest elbow surgery. Shoulder lat, elbow ligament, broken finger, what a tough time he has had.
AUSTIN NOLA….Seems like they are rushing him back from this broken middle finger on left hand. I’d be careful. I’d rather sit him a couple of more weeks to let the fracture heal. The Friars have run thru, and run-off alot of catchers, Hedges-Castro-Mejia-Torrens, they need to handle Nola’s return to health carefully.
1-week from today…baseball at Petco Park.
The Padres are good, but not 100% healthy right now, and that’s a 162-game grind dead ahead.