Blashtoff: Rookie launches 1st career homer

More comfortable at plate, outfielder hits solo shot vs. Brewers

August 4th, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- launched the first home run of his career Wednesday afternoon, in the Padres' 12-3 win over the Brewers, solidifying his arrival in the big leagues in a unique 2016 season.

The 27-year-old outfielder swung at the first pitch he saw out of 's hand in the seventh inning and sent a 93-mph fastball over the fence in right-center field.

"Definitely [excited]," Blash said after the game. "First one of, hopefully, many to come."

The home run signifies the new comfort Blash has felt in the batter's box during his second stint with the Padres this season. He opened the year with San Diego as a Rule 5 Draft pick and struggled to a .120/.241/.160 slash line while serving as a reserve and finding playing time only sparingly.

After being designated for assignment, being reacquired by the Mariners and then traded back to the Padres within a span of six days in May, Blash was sent to Triple-A, where he played every day and displayed the power/patience combination that the Padres have been infatuated with. Blash hit 11 home runs in 62 games while drawing 41 walks before earning a second promotion to the Padres -- this time, coming with a regular role.

"He was never comfortable the first time around," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He didn't look stressed or anything like that. He just wasn't getting enough reps to really settle into anything.

" ... I think he's been great. I have no hesitation to continue to run him out there and watch him do his thing."

In his first four games since being activated Sunday vs. the Reds, Blash has hit .333 (4-for-12) with three walks, starting every game in right field.

"You get more settled with the more at-bats you get," he said. "You see some pitches, you get the jitters out and you get comfortable. … It's definitely different.

"I'm not really thinking about much at the plate. My timing's there, I see the ball great, and I'm just trying to put a ball in play. Earlier in the season, when you don't get your at-bats, your timing is off and you're thinking about one or two things instead of just 'see ball, hit ball,' and stick with your approach."

The Padres gave Blash the tried-and-true silent treatment after his first big league homer -- hereafter referred to as a "Blashtoff" -- after and got the team organized. Before the top of the eighth inning, his teammates let him run on the field on his own to receive a standing ovation from the 24,124 fans in attendance at Petco Park.

But maybe the best moment in all of this will be when Blash calls his mother.

"I'm sure when I call her she's going to be screaming at first," he said. "You know, she gets way more excited than I do. So I'm excited for that phone call."