With less than a week until Opening Day, the Padres roster seems mostly settled. If there's one wild card, it's Ryan Weathers.
All spring, Weathers has found himself squarely on the roster bubble. His role, if he were to make the team, is up in the air as well. Would the Padres use the 21-year-old left-hander as a starter? Would they use him as a much-needed lefty in their 'pen? Would they ask him to do both?
Those answers are imminent. Weathers put a cap on his spring with an up-and-down showing in a 6-3 win over the Mariners on Friday night, and he'll learn his roster fate soon enough.
“[I'm] not satisfied,” Weathers said after his outing on Friday. “I’ll never be satisfied at any point in my career or my life. … But I’ve done all I can do. Control what I can control and see what happens."
Weathers fell victim to some shoddy defense in the second inning in Friday's game. With his pitch count building, he was removed mid-frame before being reinserted in the third (which is allowed this spring). Weathers would pitch into the fourth, and when all was said and done he'd allowed three runs on three hits and a pair of walks.
The outing felt like a microcosm of Weathers’ spring. His numbers weren’t great -- he posted a 7.11 Cactus League ERA with a 1.66 WHIP. Despite his struggles, he did manage to flash a glimpse of an extremely high ceiling. Weathers, the Padres' No. 5 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, struck out 15 hitters across 12 2/3 innings.
And now he waits. Weathers' roster chances got a clear boost over the past month, as the Padres bullpen was beset by injury after injury. Plus, with Dinelson Lamet set to open the season on the injured list, lefty Adrian Morejon is expected to move into a starting role.
That leaves the Padres ‘pen short on left-handers and short on long men. Weathers is both. Not to mention, manager Jayce Tingler wouldn't rule out the possibility of a six-man rotation when asked about it on Friday.
“He’s got a chance to help us,” Tingler said, adding that Weathers’ role remains “open-ended.”
Whatever that role ends up being, Weathers says he's ready.
"[I'll do] absolutely anything they want me to do,” he said, “wherever I'm at, I'll just go out there and compete."
Making his first appearance in 17 days on Friday night, Drew Pomeranz looked an awful lot like, well, Drew Pomeranz -- the Padres' most dominant reliever last season.
Pomeranz worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning against the Mariners, striking out two. He punctuated one with a fastball and one with a curve -- his two elite offerings. Pomeranz hadn't pitched since March 9 after experiencing some minor forearm tightness during a bullpen session, but should be fully available for Opening Day.
“[It's] obviously important for him to get some game action before we get up and going,” Tingler said. “I like the way the ball came out of his hand. Equally impressive, I like the way he found his curveball.”
Another start for Lamet
Lamet will start the Padres' Cactus League finale against the Rockies on Monday, Tingler announced Friday. The right-hander made his spring debut on Wednesday, pitching one inning against the Giants as he continues to work his way back from the elbow injury that sidelined him last postseason.
Lamet's slow progression this spring means he will be absent from the team's Opening Day roster. But thus far, the Padres have been very pleased with his build-up. He spent the bulk of the spring throwing in backfield simulated games, most of which were only one inning.
Lamet pitched two frames in his final sim game last week, before getting into Cactus League action for the first time. He allowed a home run, but otherwise worked a crisp first inning. On Monday, Lamet could be asked to throw multiple innings in a game setting for the first time.
Right-hander Anderson Espinoza was optioned to Double-A San Antonio on Friday, and the Padres made a handful of other moves on their second cut day of the spring. Righties Jordan Guerrero and Dauris Valdez and infielders Nick Tanielu, Pedro Florimón and Gosuke Katoh were reassigned to Minors camp.
Espinoza is the most notable name from that bunch. Ranked as the team's No. 12 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Espinoza hadn't pitched since 2016 because of a pair of Tommy John surgeries. He worked one scoreless inning against Oakland on March 18, but with a fierce battle for bullpen places emerging, there was little opportunity left for Espinoza to pitch this spring.