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Big day for Upton, Giron, Butler on Padres' farm

Upton starts rehab assignment, Giron has 6 hits in debut, Butler promoted to Double-A
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres were idle Monday.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres were idle Monday.

But that certainly wasn't the case in the club's Minor League system. Center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. started his much-awaited rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso, 18-year-old shortstop Ruddy Giron had six hits including a home run in his debut at low Class A Fort Wayne, and right-handed starting pitching prospect Ryan Butler was promoted from high Class A Lake Elsinore to Double-A San Antonio.

A closer look at each development:

• Upton, who has been on the disabled list since San Diego acquired him from Atlanta at the start of the season, went 2-for-5 and stole a base for El Paso. He also drove in a run and scored a run. Upton, who had been in a protective walking boot until recently to protect an inflamed sesamoid bone behind the ball of his left foot, will get at least 50 at-bats with the Chihuahuas before joining the Padres.

"This is his Spring Training," Padres manager Bud Black said of Upton's rehab assignment. "Early on, he'll play and get a day's rest. He might appear in some games as a pinch-hitter. Rehab assignments for position players can last up to 20 games."

• Giron, from the Dominican Republic, capped his 6-for-6 debut night with a home run. He also stole a base and started two doubleplays at shortstop. Giron was officially promoted from extended spring camp earlier in the day. He arose at 3:30 a.m. for flights to Chicago and Cleveland and a car ride to Eastlake, Ohio, where the TinCaps were playing.

Giron becomes one of the younger players in the Midwest League. At the age of 17, he hit .168 in 48 games for the Padres in the Arizona Rookie League last summer. Giron is 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds.

Giron's arrival in Fort Wayne likely means error-prone shortstop Franchy Cordero will be moving to the outfield. Cordero, 20, also from the Dominican Republic, had made 126 errors in 207 professional games since signing with the Padres. He had also shown potential as a hitter. Cordero had already played several games in left before the arrival of Giron.

Giron became only the second hitter in Fort Wayne history with a six-hit game and the first since 1993.

• Butler, 23, was San Diego's seventh-round pick in last June's Draft. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander was 3-2 with a 1.96 ERA in seven starts for Lake Elsinore. He had 25 strikeouts against seven walks while allowing 42 hits in 41 1/3 innings.

• Butler becomes part of a San Antonio rotation that includes right-handers Colin Rea (1.38 ERA), Elliot Morris (3.08 ERA), Justin Hancock (2.29 ERA) and Bryan Rodriguez (5.12 ERA). Rea has the third-lowest ERA in the Texas League. Hancock ranks sixth in ERA and Morris 10th.

To make room for Butler at San Antonio, left-handed reliever Brandon Alger was transferred from the Missions to Lake Elsinore. To make room for Giron at Fort Wayne, outfielder Henry Charles was transferred to extended spring camp.


Triple-A El Paso (20-18): Chihuahuas 15, Fresno 9 -- El Paso trailed 9-2 early. Three Chihuahuas had three RBIs apiece. 1B Cody Decker (.272) was 3-for-4 with his seventh homer, three RBIs and two runs scored. C Rocky Gale (.361) was 3-for-5 with a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored. 3B Brett Wallace (.278) was 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. DH Alex Dickerson (.324) had a double and a triple in four at-bats with a RBI and three runs scored. RF Rymer Liriano (.260) was 2-for-4 with a double, two walks and two runs scored. Starting RHP James Needy from Santana High allowed eight runs on nine hits and two walks with two strikeouts in three innings. RHP Stephen Kohlscheen (2-1, 6.98 ERA) allowed a run on two hits with three strikeouts in three innings. RHP Daniel McCutchen (5.01 ERA) allowed a hit with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

Double-A San Antonio (16-21): Corpus Christi 3, Missions 1 -- Rea (1-2) allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. RHP Luis De La Cruz (5.52 ERA) allowed two hits and a walk in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.  RHP Dennis O'Grady (6.35 ERA) allowed a hit and a walk with a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. CF Travis Jankowski (.343, the third-highest average in the Texas League) doubled in four at-bats and scored the Missions lone run. SS Trea Turner (.326) was 1-for-3 with a RBI and a steal.

Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore (16-21): RANCHO CUCAMONGA 5, Storm 2 -- CF Auston Bousfield (.308) was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk with a RBI. Starting RHP Matthew Shepherd (0-2, 9.00 ERA) allowed five runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. LHP Brandon Fry (2.08 ERA) allowed two hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Alger struck out one in a perfect inning in his season debut with the Storm.

Class A Fort Wayne (12-23): Fort Wayne 9, Lale County 2 -- LF Nick Torres (.343) was 3-for-5 with a double and a RBI. RF Franmil Reyes (.235) had two doubles in five at-bats with a RBI. C Miguel Del Castillo (.235) was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Starting RHP Chris Huffman (1-1, 3.00 ERA) allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in five innings. RHP Seth Lucio (5.82 ERA) allowed a hit in two scoreless innings.

San Diego Padres