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Hunger games: Padres give time to callups

Mejias-Brean starts at shortstop; Jankowski bats leadoff
September 18, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- Manager Andy Green added some new faces to the Padres' lineup Wednesday as the team, eliminated from postseason contention, turns its focus toward chasing a playoff spot in 2020. Topping the batting order was center fielder Travis Jankowski, who spent most of the year recovering from a broken

MILWAUKEE -- Manager Andy Green added some new faces to the Padres' lineup Wednesday as the team, eliminated from postseason contention, turns its focus toward chasing a playoff spot in 2020.

Topping the batting order was center fielder Travis Jankowski, who spent most of the year recovering from a broken wrist sustained in Spring Training. Wednesday marked Jankowski's 19th big league appearance of 2019 and his first start.

"It's an opportunity for him," Green said. "Any time you're in a big league lineup, it's an opportunity to go win a baseball game. And it’s an opportunity to go beat a team that's trying to get into the playoffs. He's been solid defensively all year at any position we put him at. Our Minor League staff raves about his makeup and the way he plays the game."

The Padres' first-round pick (No. 44 overall) in the 2012 Draft, Jankowski, 28, is in his fifth big league season and twice has made the Opening Day roster. Through 327 career games, he has a .241/.319/.319 slash line and 61 stolen bases.

"We have a solid understanding of how dynamic he can be at times," Green said. "He's a defensive center fielder and a leadoff guy who gets on base. This is just an opportunity for him to get out there and play baseball."

Seth Mejias-Brean, 28, another September callup, got his first Major League start at shortstop Wednesday and delivered his first big league homer, a two-run shot off right-hander Adrian Houser in the third inning. He also has started a game at first base.

"The last 10, 12 days of the year, we're going to give some guys an opportunity to play and see what they've got," Green said. "Get an infusion of life from some young guys who are hungry to show what they can do."

The callups complement a core group of veterans the Padres will be counting on moving forward and while those players are playing out the string, finishing on a high note is still a primary objective.

"All of us need to go out there and enjoy what we do," Green said. "It's a special thing to get to play Major League baseball. It's a special thing to be out on that field, so, ultimately, you go out and play with joy, you play aggressively and you typically play well when you play like that. If you start to worry about numbers, thinking you're not where you want to be with the season ending or worrying about your future, you won't play this game well.

"You just go out, you enjoy competing, enjoy beating the other team, and good things tend to happen."

Renfroe gets a break

Right fielder Hunter Renfroe felt good after returning to the Padres starting lineup Tuesday night, his first full game since he sustained a right ankle sprain last week. But Renfroe was not in the starting lineup Wednesday night, sticking with the plan Green laid out earlier in the week.

Renfroe hit a game-tying home run Wednesday in the seventh inning, his 32nd of the season, and also managed to avoid a collision chasing down a fly ball in the outfield.

"Hunter was feeling great today," Green said. "It was tempting to get him back in there, but we wanted to stick with the plan: Let him play yesterday, sit today and get him back in there tomorrow. He's strong; he feels good.”

See the future

The Padres announced their annual Padres Don Welke On Deck Classic will return to Petco Park on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The annual contest matches San Diego's top prospects against top prospects from the Rangers' organization. This year marks the event’s fourth installment and first named in honor of longtime Padres scout and team executive Don Welke, who passed away last year.