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Cordero moves closer to September return to SD

@AJCassavell
August 24, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- For nine games in March and April, Franchy Cordero's dynamic skill set balanced the Padres' outfield and their righty-heavy lineup. When healthy, Cordero is a weapon. But keeping him healthy hasn't been easy. The Padres have spent the past four months waiting for Cordero to return from

SAN DIEGO -- For nine games in March and April, Franchy Cordero's dynamic skill set balanced the Padres' outfield and their righty-heavy lineup.

When healthy, Cordero is a weapon. But keeping him healthy hasn't been easy. The Padres have spent the past four months waiting for Cordero to return from two major injuries.

On that front, Cordero took an important step on Saturday, as he works his way back from the left quad injury he sustained in June (while rehabbing a right elbow sprain).

Cordero began a rehab stint on Saturday night, serving as designated hitter for the Padres' affiliate in the Rookie-level Arizona League. The club remains optimistic Cordero could return in mid-to-late September. But a lengthy rehab process awaits.

"He's on the path toward returning," said Padres manager Andy Green. "It's not a short path though."

At this point in his career, the 24-year-old Cordero is known more for his potential than for any tangible accomplishments. He boasts elite speed and power tools and has shown a penchant for hitting right-handed pitching.

But in parts of three big league seasons, Cordero has played only 79 games, batting .240/.306/.431, while dealing with a spate of injuries.

Still, the Padres would love to add Cordero back into their outfield, where he can play all three positions. He'd serve as an obvious platoon option with the righty-hitting Manuel Margot in center field. Against lefty starters, Cordero would be a strong bench option as well -- for his power, speed and defense.

Even if Cordero can't return in time to play for the Padres this season, he's still an important piece in their plans for the future. But it’s clear the 2019 club has missed him dearly.

"He'd have been another left-handed bat in a right-handed-heavy offense," Green said. "We face mostly righties, so there are moments he would've been really impactful. He's still incredibly young in his big league career."

Allen promoted; Yardley optioned

In dire need of bench help, the Padres promoted catcher Austin Allen on Saturday, optioning right-hander Eric Yardley to Triple-A El Paso.

Allen, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Padres' No. 11 prospect, has been red-hot for the Chihuahuas, having posted a .405/.423/.838 slash line in August. He's technically the third catcher on the Padres' roster, but they don't have any imminent plans to start Allen behind the plate.

"We're looking at him mostly as a pinch-hitter, bat off the bench," Green said.

Lately, the Padres have gotten plenty of production from their tandem of Francisco Mejia and Austin Hedges behind the plate. Given those two options, Allen's likeliest long-term role with the Padres is probably as a lefty bench weapon anyway.

Allen's bat is his premier tool, and he's hitting .330/.379/.663 this season. The Padres, meanwhile, haven't had much left-handed depth on their bench -- especially when they've faced righty starters (and thus used Greg Garcia and Josh Naylor in the starting lineup).

As for Yardley, the sidearming right-hander earned his first big league callup on Wednesday and was hit hard in two appearances. He allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits over three innings.

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