"It hadn't been that tight," Hedges said late Monday night. "I'd been dealing with it for a while now, but it was nothing that I couldn't play through. Today was just a different story."
The Padres recalled lefty-hitting catcher Raffy Lopez to replace Hedges, and Lopez will share time behind the plate with veteran A.J. Ellis. Lopez made the Opening Day roster, but was optioned to Triple-A El Paso on the second day of the season.
An offseason free-agent signing, Lopez was hitting .300/.372/.657 for the Chihuahuas this season. The Padres think highly of his left-handed bat, and they inserted him directly into the lineup on Tuesday night against the Giants.
"The goal is the big leagues," Lopez said. "You want to perform in the big leagues and do the best you can here. When you get your chance, you just want to play. I'm going to do everything I can to make the most of it."
Manager Andy Green indicated that Lopez and Ellis would likely be in a platoon dependent upon that night's starting pitcher. With that in mind, it's likely the lefty-hitting Lopez gets the bulk of the playing time, Green said.
As for Hedges, the 2018 campaign has been a grind from the start. Early in the year, he missed two games with tightness in his upper back. He's posted a .173/.235/.293 slash line.
Hedges didn't play Sunday, but he appeared to be turning a corner offensively with a promising three-hit night Saturday against the Mets. Despite his struggles at the plate, Hedges' defense has been stellar as usual.
"You couldn't watch a single Austin Hedges throw all year and discern there was anything wrong with his elbow," said Green, who noted that Hedges hadn't informed the training staff of his ailment until Monday.
Hedges is among the Majors' most effective pitch framers. He's been lauded for his work game planning, too, and working with the pitching staff. Even with his poor offensive numbers this season, Hedges leaves a big hole to fill.
"Nobody is expecting Raffy to be Austin right now," said Green. "But, Raffy brings a component with the bat, with the offensive profile, with patience and power. We haven't put a ton of runs on the board, so I think we're eager to see what he can do that's uniquely him."