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Padres' bullpen not skipping a beat after trade

Stammen, Yates thriving in new late-inning roles
MLB.com @AJCassavell

NEW YORK -- In the wake of Thursday's trade which sent Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to Cleveland, it's become pretty clear that Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen will pitch the highest-leverage spots for the Padres bullpen.

But Yates and Stammen have always pitched in big moments. Their presence in those crucial situations is nothing new.

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NEW YORK -- In the wake of Thursday's trade which sent Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to Cleveland, it's become pretty clear that Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen will pitch the highest-leverage spots for the Padres bullpen.

But Yates and Stammen have always pitched in big moments. Their presence in those crucial situations is nothing new.

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On the other hand, the late-and-close role is much newer for Phil Maton and Matt Strahm. Without question, they're the two relievers who figure to be impacted most by Thursday's trade.

"Those guys are going to see high-leverage situations quite frequently now," said Padres manager Andy Green.

They already are. In Monday's 3-2 victory over the Mets, Maton pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out Devin Mesoraco and Brandon Nimmo in the process. On Sunday, Strahm worked two scoreless frames in relief of Tyson Ross in Philadelphia.

"Any time you're put in those situations, you want to do well so they call upon you to do it again," Maton said. "You just want to make the most of whatever opportunity you get."

"Everyone wants to be in those spots," Strahm said. "Every guy [in the bullpen] wants them. Like I've said though, whenever Andy gives me the ball, I'll just go out and pitch."

The right-handed Maton and the left-handed Strahm fill very different niches. Maton fits more of a traditional late-inning role. He's typically a one-inning guy, and he's generally available several days in a row.

Strahm, meanwhile, is anything but traditional. He started five games this year while the Padres experimented with bullpen days. He's also served as a long-man and as a lefty specialist. He hasn't yet been used on consecutive days, because he's working back from left knee surgery from a year ago.

Strahm is clearly eager for the late-inning work. But he's also more adamant than most that he doesn't have a preference as to his role. Does he want to start? Close? Pitch long relief? Brief stints against lefties?

In short -- yes to all of those options.

"Every day in the big leagues is a blessing, no matter what role I have to do," Strahm said. "Even growing up, we always had two or three better pitchers on our Little League teams than me. When there were innings to pitch, I was always happy to pitch them. I just waited for my opportunity.

"I'm a 21st rounder. You wait for your opportunity. You have those top prospects that need their innings, and whenever your innings are given to you, you make the most of them. I've carried that mindset with me all the way into the big leagues."

Now, the innings that Strahm (and Maton) are pitching are getting more important. So far, they've risen to the challenge. Strahm owns a 2.21 ERA this season. Maton's sits at 2.84. Both have been praised by Green for their work in high-leverage spots.

"You find another gear in those situations," Maton said. "You have to ride that wave, ride that adrenaline, use that to get a little more juice on your fastball to pitch a little better."

Green sets weekend rotation
The Padres' pitching plans for their weekend series against Arizona are pretty straightforward: Luis Perdomo is expected to start Friday, with Tyson Ross going Saturday and Joey Lucchesi on Sunday.

Perdomo and Ross both pitched in Sunday's split doubleheader in Philadelphia, but Thursday's off-day gave the Padres leeway to not have to call up another arm. Green opted to give Perdomo the ball ahead of Ross.

As for Sunday, Jordan Lyles would be available, in theory. He's slated for a second rehab start on Tuesday night as he recovers from right elbow inflammation.

But even if Lyles proves he's ready to be recalled, Green noted that it likely wouldn't take place until Monday at the earliest. The club could also decide to give Lyles another rehab start.

Pirela wins Heart and Hustle Award
Padres second baseman Jose Pirela was named the team's 2018 Heart and Hustle Award winner on Tuesday morning, honoring "active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game."

"Not a surprise at all," said Green. "I love the way that guy plays baseball. ... He leaves it on the field every single day, and he plays with passion. His teammates respect him immensely. He's definitely the kind of guy that should be rewarded that way."

The winners for all 30 clubs were announced on Tuesday morning, and one final winner for the entirety of MLB will be unveiled on November 8.

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

San Diego Padres, Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates