Blake Snell made a rehab start with High-A Fort Wayne on Thursday as he works his way back to the Padres’ rotation after being sidelined due to left adductor tightness.
Snell looked good, throwing four scoreless innings on 44 pitches, yielding two hits while walking none, hitting a batter and striking out four in Fort Wayne’s game against Dayton at Parkview Field. Five days prior to making his rehab start, the 29-year-old left-hander threw 38 pitches in a simulated game at Petco Park.
Following two Cactus League starts in which he gave up five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, Snell was a late scratch before his scheduled regular-season debut on April 10 against the D-backs at Chase Field. The injury was of the same type that caused him to miss his final two scheduled starts of 2021, though Snell said this time it was “way more minor.”
The Padres’ rotation has been thinned by injuries early on, with right-hander Mike Clevinger having yet to make his season debut due to a knee injury. (He missed the entire ’21 campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery.) San Diego swung a trade with the A’s to land left-hander Sean Manaea after Clevinger’s injury during Spring Training, and called up the organization’s No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, left-hander MacKenzie Gore, to replace Snell in the rotation. Gore has pitched well over three starts so far, posting a 1.76 ERA and a 32% strikeout rate.
Snell, meanwhile, hopes to return to his 2018 form, when he won the American League Cy Young Award by posting an AL-best 1.89 ERA over 31 starts with the Rays. He hasn’t been the same pitcher he was with Tampa Bay during his tenure so far in San Diego, finishing his first year as a Padre with a 4.20 ERA over 27 starts last season.