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Padres face short-term rotation decisions

With Paddack optioned, club has looming decisions on starters
@AJCassavell
June 13, 2019

DENVER -- The Padres picked a tricky part of their schedule to option Chris Paddack to the Minors. In the big picture, of course, the move made perfect sense. The rookie right-hander had hit a bit of a rough patch lately. With his workload set to be limited this season,

DENVER -- The Padres picked a tricky part of their schedule to option Chris Paddack to the Minors.

In the big picture, of course, the move made perfect sense. The rookie right-hander had hit a bit of a rough patch lately. With his workload set to be limited this season, this felt like the perfect time to allow him to reset.

Still, Paddack's presence at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore means that the Padres have decisions to make over the next couple weeks.

They'll first need to find a starter for either Monday or Tuesday against Milwaukee. In similar situations, the Padres have turned to their bullpen to eat nine innings. But they've generally preferred doing so with an off-day either before or after.

Another option is left-hander Logan Allen, the team's No. 6 prospect, who has slumped lately at Triple-A El Paso. But a bullpen day seems likelier, with Robbie Erlin and Luis Perdomo as options to get the ball first.

There's also the matter of which day the Padres leave open. That'll depend on how they use their bullpen in Colorado this weekend, and whether they'd like to give Joey Lucchesi -- who pitched Wednesday -- an extra day of rest.

"Which day we choose to do that depends on who we use, how we use them and also how Joey feels coming off that last start -- if another day might help him," Padres manager Andy Green said.

Once they get through their three-game series against Milwaukee, the Padres' rotation calculus changes entirely. They have three off-days in a span of eight days, and they could conceivably get through that stretch with only a three-man rotation.

Throw in the fact that Paddack is expected to return at some point during that stretch, and the San Diego pitching staff might see plenty of up-and-down over the next two weeks.

Starters Cal Quantrill and Nick Margevicius have already been back-and-forth between the Minors and the big leagues this season. They could be set to do so again -- or they could move to a relief role. Quantrill has already done that once this season as part of a bullpen game, even though he didn't pitch.

"Right now, it's just about winning," Quantrill said. "We need to win games, and if the best opportunity for us to win was with me in the 'pen, I'd have no problem doing that."

With the league's youngest rotation, the Padres have spent most of the season with their starters on five days' rest. In that regard, they certainly won’t complain about the off-days they're going to run into at the end of the month.

But the upcoming schedule should lead to quite a bit of roster shuffling, nonetheless.

Noteworthy

• Outfielder Franchy Cordero tweaked his left quad Wednesday night while on a rehab assignment at Triple-A. Cordero, who was not in the El Paso lineup on Thursday, had nearly worked his way back to the big league club after missing two months with a right-elbow sprain.

The team is hopeful that Cordero's quad injury is just a minor setback. But even when he returns to full health, Cordero needs to hit in order to win a spot with the big league club. The Padres have five useful outfielders currently on the roster, and Cordero was batting just .217 with a 37 percent strikeout rate on his rehab assignment.

• The Padres' flight landed in Denver around 4 a.m. on Thursday after a night game in San Francisco Wednesday. But starter Matt Strahm flew ahead and landed on Wednesday evening.

• Right-hander Robert Stock was recalled Wednesday to add cover in the bullpen. He was optioned back to Triple-A El Paso on Thursday, clearing room for Strahm to be activated off the injured list. (Strahm missed just one start after dealing with soreness in his ribs.)

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