SAN DIEGO -- Edward Olivares' ascent from unheralded prospect to the Padres’ Opening Day roster happened mostly behind closed doors. As such, it was shrouded in mystery.
Who was this toolsy 24-year-old who had entrenched himself squarely in the Padres' outfield mix? On Saturday night, Olivares gave Padres fans a taste of what team decision makers have been seeing for the past month.
In the Padres' 5-1 victory over the D-backs, Olivares notched his first career hit, and he did so with authority. He turned around a 96 mph fastball from Robbie Ray and sent a rope into the left-field corner. Statcast tracked the exit velocity on Olivares' double at 110 mph -- the hardest-hit ball by a Padre through two games.
"It's great for him to get that first one out of the way and special that it was a double," said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. "The most special thing ... was just the way his teammates reacted, the way they were pulling for him and how thrilled they were for him to get that first one."
Olivares was a $1,000 signing out of Venezuela by the Blue Jays in 2014, and he landed in San Diego in January 2018 in the deal that sent Yangervis Solarte to Toronto.
Currently the team's No. 19 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, Olivares broke out last season at Double-A, leading Amarillo to a Texas League crown while batting .283 with 18 homers and 35 steals. He continued that progression into Spring Training and Summer Camp.
"He obviously played his way onto the roster," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said earlier this week.
Added fellow outfielder Wil Myers: "Other than the fact that he's just a really good ballplayer, he's very explosive. When you get this guy in the outfield, you get this guy on the bases, he can really change the game. And at the plate, he's really turned a corner."
Eric Hosmer returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing Saturday's game due to an illness that was "not COVID related," according to the team.
Hosmer opened the season in style with a six-RBI night on Friday, becoming the first player in 10 years to drive in six runs on Opening Day. But an hour before first pitch on Saturday, he was scratched. Afterward, Tingler hinted it was due to a stomach bug.
Hosmer returned to the No. 5 spot in the lineup, but the Padres reshuffled some things around him as they faced their first right-handed starter of the season. Lefty-hitting Trent Grisham moved from the No. 9 spot to No. 2. Meanwhile, Jurickson Profar, who batted cleanup in the first two games, dropped to seventh. A switch-hitter, Profar has always fared significantly better against lefties than righties.
Pham runs wild
The Padres brought Tommy Pham on board during the offseason partly because of his on-base chops and partly because they felt his workmanlike demeanor would pay dividends in the clubhouse. The speed? That's a bonus.
Through two games, Pham has swiped four bases, joining Myers (2015) as the only players in Padres history with multiple steals in each of the club's first two games.
"I don't know if I expected it," Tingler said. "But I know he's capable of doing it. ... He's getting good jumps and good reads, and it certainly helps that he's getting on base and having opportunity."
Perhaps it's an indication that Tingler will give his baserunners a bit of freedom to run, so long as they do so smartly. Pham's steal attempts have all fit that description. He took off twice on Friday night with Fernando Tatis Jr. on third -- hoping to draw a throw, so Tatis could dart home. (The throw never came, and Pham cruised into second both times.)
Pham stole 25 bases last season and was caught just four times. Among players with at least 20 steal attempts, only Christian Yelich and Trea Turner bettered Pham's 86.2 percent success rate.