Padres step up in Solarte's absence

Spangenberg has homered in two straight games, providing a major lift with Asuaje

July 21st, 2017

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

's rehab from the oblique strain he suffered on June 20 is not going as quickly as expected.

The switch-hitting infielder has yet to take right-handed swings in batting practice, although he has taken them in the cage. He has been able to take left-handed swings, but his ability to field grounders is also behind schedule.

Solarte has yet to begin his rehab assignment, which means his return to the Padres' lineup could be another two weeks away. There is even rumblings of allowing Solarte to start a rehab assignment while hitting only from the left side -- which is not a perfect option.

Solarte was hitting .268 with 10 homers and 10 doubles for 40 RBIs in 70 games before he was hurt. He had a .349 on-base percentage, a .425 slugging percentage and a .775 OPS when he was healthy.

But the Padres are 12-10 since Solarte was injured, so his absence has not been felt as much as feared.

was promoted from Triple-A El Paso when Solarte went down. He has hit .312 in Solarte's absence, with five doubles, a triple and a homer, six RBIs and eight runs scored. Asuaje has a .383 on-base percentage during Solarte's absence with a .453 slugging percentage for a .836 OPS. He also has a bit more range at second.

If you are thinking the Padres might then be better off at third when he returns, has hit .280 since Solarte was injured, with two doubles and four homers for 16 RBIs and 11 runs scored. He has a .349 on-base percentage with a .467 slugging percentage for a .816 OPS since June 20.

Spangenberg has homered in two straight games, including Thursday night's game-winning shot off the Giants' .


• Outfielder

Blash has hit safely in all seven of his games since being recalled from Triple-A El Paso on July 14 when went on the disabled list with a neck issue. In his seven-game hitting streak, Blash has gone 11-for-24 with three doubles, two homers, eight RBIs, seven runs scored and four walks. During the run, Blash has a .536 on-base percentage and a .833 slugging percentage for a 1.369 OPS.

• Right hander

Maurer has now converted 15 straight saves, with a total of 20 on the season. Over those 15 straight save conversions, Maurer has allowed no runs on five hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts. Since May 20, Maurer's ERA has plummeted from a season-high 6.88 to 5.17.

• Right hander

Chacin has won three straight decisions and the Padres are 4-0 over his past four starts. Since June 9, Chacin is 5-2 in eight starts (the Padres are 6-2) with a 2.50 ERA. In those eight starts, Chacin has allowed 14 runs on 37 hits and 17 walks with 40 strikeouts in 50 1/3 innings.

Two performances of note by Padres who have been battling injuries

Right-handed reliever struck out two in two perfect innings for Triple-A El Paso on Thursday night. Capps went two innings for the first time this season and lowered his ERA to 2.79 with the latest outing in a string of strong performances. Outfielder , who has been on the disabled list since April 24 with a right foot fracture, was 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored in his rehab assignment game in Arizona on Thursday night. Jankowski raised his average to .278.