Walter Mencken 2:27 p.m., June 18
A lot can happen in a week, some of it meaningful, some of it irrelevant, and some of it surprising. In the case of the San Diego Padres, it's entirely possible that none of that applies at the moment. In splitting a couple of two-game series at the Washington Nationals and hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers with a win an a loss, it's difficult to find either traction or disappointment in the result, and that's no surprise. And after Thursday before the game with the Dodgers, the same can probably be said about the unconditional release of Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson.
“We felt it was time to make a change,” Padres General Manager Josh Byrnes was quoted in a press release. “O-Dog has been a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and a contributor to playoff teams, but at this point, we want to give our younger players an opportunity.”
The release of Hudson doesn't seem to be meaningful, irrelevant, nor surprising, very much like splitting a couple of two-game series. Words that come to mind are understandable, obvious, and foreseeable. Orlando Hudson was hitting just .211 when he cleared out his locker. And it's no secret that the Padres campaigned him as trade-bait before this season.
This is what happens.
No one wanted Hudson, nor shortstop Jason Bartlett, and it's even-money that the Padres didn't ask for much in return. Bartlett was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He was told that there was no guarantee of a starting job when he returned. There is some speculation that the Padres offered to buy out Bartlett's contract as well, but that Bartlett opted to go on the DL instead. It would not be the first time that occurred with a player.
Hudson, who is owed a total of whatever remains this season on his $5.5 million dollar contract, plus a $2 million buy out on the option for 2013, then was picked up by the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox will only have to pay $450,000 of what the Padres owe Hudson, the major league minimum salary. Bartlett is also making $5.5 million this season, but his option for 2013 does not contain a buy-out clause.
The Padres then called up shortstop Everth Cabrera and newly acquired second baseman Alexi Amarista. Amarista came over in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels, the Padres giving up reliever Ernesto Frieri in the transaction. Amarista is listed as 5' 7", 150 pounds. If Amarista is 5' 7" then they must have measured him with 2" spikes on his cleats. And 150 pounds looks like it includes the complete uniform.
Regardless, Amarista is a highly-touted prospect who hit very well in the minors. From Venezuela, Alexi was drafted by the Angels as an amateur free agent in 2007. The Padres control him for a while, but obviously he's unproven at the major league level and he's a little guy that will have to prove he can hold up.
So after these moves, the Padres did manage to take two out of three games from the faltering Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. And then Monday, they dropped a tight game at the St. Louis Cardinals when Andrew Cashner gave up a 2-run blast in the 8th inning. So, truly, nothing much has happened for a week, just a lot of splits.
And likely, nothing that anyone didn't expect.
Pitcher Cory Luebke is history for the season, opting for Tommy John surgery. Manager Buddy Black pointed out that the decision was his to make, not that of the Padres, and after Luebke consulted with a specialist he made his decision. It's a very tough break for Luebke, who had been pitching extremely well up to the point of his injury, and for the Padres, who placed Luebke on the 60-day DL as a formality to open up a spot on the 40-man roster to take his place.
Four days after his first outing since coming off of the DL, Tim Stauffer returned to the 15-day DL with the same elbow issue that landed him there just before the regular season began. He was joined by recent call-up James Darnell, with a partial shoulder dislocation while diving for a ball in left field. To replace Stauffer, the Padres moved recently claimed pitcher Eric Stults, who comes over from the Chicago White Sox Organization. Relief pitcher Nick Vincent comes up and takes Darnell's spot, so the Padres are now carrying 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster.
Tuesday, the Padres play the second game of a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals, sending Edinson Volquez (2-3, 3.04) to the mound to face Adam Wainwright (2-5, 5.77). First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PDST, television on Fox Sports San Diego where you can get it and on radio XX 1090 AM.