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Cordoba takes 1st step in road back to Padres

Former Rule 5 selection returns to game action for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore
MLB.com @AJCassavell

ST. LOUIS -- Allen Cordoba has taken the first step in his long road back to the big leagues.

The Padres' former Rule 5 selection -- who suffered a severe concussion in a car accident during the offseason -- returned to game action for the first time on Monday night. He served as designated hitter for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and went 1-for-5 with a ninth-inning single.

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ST. LOUIS -- Allen Cordoba has taken the first step in his long road back to the big leagues.

The Padres' former Rule 5 selection -- who suffered a severe concussion in a car accident during the offseason -- returned to game action for the first time on Monday night. He served as designated hitter for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and went 1-for-5 with a ninth-inning single.

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Regardless of his line, the Padres were merely happy to see Cordoba's name in a box score. The 22-year-old infielder experienced some scary symptoms in the immediate aftermath of the accident, including sensitivity to light and forgetfulness.

The Padres were extremely cautious in Cordoba's recovery. He missed the entirety of Spring Training and progressed slowly through extended spring at the team's complex in Arizona.

"He's been through a lot over the last few months," said Padres manager Andy Green. "We're really happy he's back on the field."

Now for the hard part. Missing three months of game action would be tough on the development of just about any youngster. For Cordoba, it's especially so.

As a Rule 5 selection from the Cardinals, Cordoba needed to remain on the big league roster for all of last season. But Cordoba had never played a game above Rookie Ball, and he received only sporadic playing time in the Majors, hitting .208/.282/.297 in 227 plate appearances. Cordoba has never played a season with more than 268 plate appearances.

Video: NYM@SD: Cordoba lays out to rob Rivera of a hit

The Padres still view Cordoba as a useful part of their future. But there's lots of development in front of him. Technically, Monday marked the start of a rehab assignment. When that ends, however, he's almost certainly bound for further seasoning in the Minors.

"[He needs] at-bats, opportunity to play," Green said. "He's technically on a rehab assignment at present until we know he's free from all of his symptoms and feeling strong and good and ready to go. At that point in time, there'll be some sort of roster decision. But for him, just being on a baseball field and playing is a really good thing."

Franchy on the mend
Outfielder Franchy Cordero went through batting practice and outfield drills in St. Louis on Tuesday. Barring an unforeseen setback, he'll leave for Triple-A El Paso on Wednesday, and he's expected to begin a rehab assignment Thursday.

Cordero has missed all of June with a right forearm strain. He was shut down for about a week before slowly resuming baseball activity.

A healthy Cordero would present the Padres with something of a conundrum. They're already splitting starts among Manuel Margot, Travis Jankowski, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes in the outfield.

Video: SD@WSH: Cordero belts a 449-ft. homer to right-center

"We're already making decisions," Green said. "The decisions definitely get harder when Franchy's back and when Wil [Myers] is back."

Myers is going through baseball activity at the team's complex in Arizona, as he recovers from a left oblique strain. He's taking batting practice but has yet to face live pitching.

Lucchesi: 'Best he's felt'
Left-hander Joey Lucchesi threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Monday. He's slated to start Thursday for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore.

When he takes the mound Thursday, it will have been precisely a month since Lucchesi sustained his right hip strain in a start against the Rockies. Green said of his Monday bullpen session: "It was the best he's felt."

It's fair to expect Austin Hedges to catch Lucchesi at Lake Elsinore. Hedges began his own rehab assignment on Tuesday as he works his way back from right-elbow tendinitis.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Allen Cordoba