SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Chris Paddack’s bid to make history as the San Diego Padres’ opening day starter appears to be over.
The 23-year-old right-hander has been so strong this spring that he was a candidate to become the first starting pitcher to make his major league debut on opening day since Al Gerhauser of the Phillies in 1943.
But Paddack was scratched from his scheduled Cactus League start on Monday night. Instead, he pitched in a minor-league game on Tuesday against Seattle at the team’s complex in Peoria. He worked 4 2/3 innings, striking out eight and allowing four runs.
“It wasn’t his cleanest outing, but overall he looks strong and we’re very pleased with what he’s done all spring,” Padres manager Andy Green said Tuesday night.
While Green hasn’t committed to an opening day pitcher yet, the maneuver appears to take Paddack out of the running. He had been working every five days during Cactus League play, and a Monday start would have led him to Saturday and then the March 28 opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Paddack, ranked the 35th-best prospect by MLB.com — one of six Padres in the top 35 — is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He was acquired from the Miami Marlins in 2016 for reliever Fernando Rodney.
In four Cactus League starts, Paddack has struck out 20 in 12 2/3 innings with just two walks and a 2.13 ERA.
“He’s had a tremendous spring, there’s no doubt about that,” Green said.
Green said the delay for Paddock was part of his effort to position the entire pitching staff.
“Every guy has gotten manipulated to some degree in the last week,” Green said. “We had to start doing that to get guys set up for what we want to go into the season.”