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Paddack dominant in return from Tommy John

In first start since July 2016, Padres' No. 22 prospect fires six scoreless
MLB.com @_dadler

Chris Paddack had to wait a long time for this game -- and once he finally returned to the mound, he made the most of it.

The 22-year-old Padres right-hander, ranked the organization's No. 22 prospect by MLB Pipeline, had missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. On Monday, he took the field for his first start of 2018 with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore.

Chris Paddack had to wait a long time for this game -- and once he finally returned to the mound, he made the most of it.

The 22-year-old Padres right-hander, ranked the organization's No. 22 prospect by MLB Pipeline, had missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. On Monday, he took the field for his first start of 2018 with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore.

Paddack was lights-out. He threw six shutout innings to earn his first win of the year, allowing only three hits and striking out seven against Inland Empire, an Angels' affiliate. He threw 55 of his 75 pitches for strikes.

• How Padres prospects fared on Monday

Paddack picked up right where he left off in 2016, when he was dominating in his first full professional season before suffering the forearm strain that led to his season-ending surgery.

At the time of his injury, Paddack had a 0.64 ERA in three starts with Class A Fort Wayne -- his first three starts in the San Diego organization, after the Padres acquired him from the Marlins for Fernando Rodney at the end of June. He had been dominant with Miami to start the season, too, with a 0.95 ERA in six starts for its Class A team, Greensboro.

After his encouraging 2018 debut, Paddack's future continues to look bright. He can throw his fastball in the 92-95 mph range, and his changeup is excellent, a plus-plus secondary pitch according to scouting reports. And his curveball had been improving before his surgery, although there is still work to be done.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

San Diego Padres