Will Despaigne's return to 'pen add player to bench?
Upton ties Petco Park homer mark
Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
The trickle-down effects of baseball decisions have always fascinated me. Seemingly unrelated moves can change the status of players who are not involved in the original move.
The decision in May to move right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne from being the long man in the bullpen to the starting rotation to replace the injured Brandon Morrow is a perfect example.
Because of that decision, the Padres have been playing with a four-man bench, limiting the number of moves manager Pat Murphy can make late in games.
How does that work?
Well, ever since Despaigne moved into the rotation, the Padres have been without a true long reliever -- someone who could eat up three or four innings in a lost cause or a lop-sided win where the starter departed early.
At one point, the Padres were hoping that Cory Luebke would return from his second round of Tommy John surgery to fill the long role in the bullpen. But that return has probably been delayed until 2016.
Because of that lack of a long reliever, the Padres have been carrying an eighth reliever to cover the missing innings. That has eliminated a player from the bench.
Which brings us to Tuesday night, and the Major League debut of right-handed starting pitcher Colin Rea against the Reds at Petco Park. Rea's arrival will also shift Despaigne back to being the long man in the bullpen. Immediately on paper, the Padres will have nine relievers in the bullpen.
One reliever will be eliminated to make room for Rea, and the Padres will also have to create an opening on the 40-man roster for Rea. But might the Padres eliminate a second reliever -- and return to the standard seven-man bullpen -- to make room for a fifth bench spot?
FROM THE SCORECARD:
• Left fielder Justin Upton's game-winning home run Monday night gave him homers in back-to-back games for the third time this season. His blast Monday was his 20th of the season and his 15th at Petco Park, which ties the single-season record at Petco Park set by outfielder Will Venable in 2013. Upton's 14th game-winning RBI is the second-highest total in the Major Leagues. He is hitting .300 (54-for-180) in 50 home games this season with 36 RBIs. Upton is hitting .209 on the road.
• Right-handed starter Ian Kennedy is 5-5 with a 2.96 earned run average over his last 13 starts since the beginning of June. He is 5-1 lifetime against Cincinnati with a 2.34 ERA, the third-lowest ERA against the Reds among active pitchers with 40 or more innings. The second-inning solo homer by Jay Bruce was the 25th allowed by Kennedy this season, tied for the second-highest total in the National League. Kennedy has given up at least one home run in each of his last 11 starts.
• Outfielder/first baseman Wil Myers didn't report any soreness after his first day of swinging a light bat in the batting cages.
"He looks healthy, but we're taking it slow," said Padres manager Pat Murphy. The earliest Myers could return is two weeks, although three is more likely.
• Thiird baseman Yangervis Solarte was 1-for-2 with two walks Monday, and he has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games. He is batting .364 (24-for-66) during that span with four doubles, two triples and two home runs for eight RBIs and nine runs scored.