Melvin, Christenson enter COVID-19 protocols

June 12th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Padres manager Bob Melvin and bench coach Ryan Christenson missed the second game of a doubleheader against the Rockies on Saturday and will be out indefinitely after entering COVID-19 protocols.

Melvin managed the team in its 2-1,10-inning victory in the first game before he and Christenson were ruled out for the nightcap. Quality control coach Ryan Flaherty served as manager for the second game at Petco Park, a 6-2 defeat.

“As of right now, it’s just: Take it day by day,” Flaherty said. “They haven’t said much about how long it’s going to last. We’ll just piece it together day by day and do our best to hold the fort down.”

Earlier in the day, the Padres placed right-hander Mike Clevinger and left-hander Adrian Morejon on the COVID-19 injured list. Clevinger had been scratched from his start in the doubleheader opener, and the Padres instead turned to right-hander Nick Martinez (who pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball).

The Padres recalled Reiss Knehr and Ray Kerr to take the places of Clevinger and Morejon on the roster, with outfielder Brent Rooker recalled, as well, to serve as the team's 27th player for the doubleheader.

Knehr’s promotion proved hugely valuable, as the right-hander pitched 4 2/3 innings in the longest scoreless relief outing for a Padres pitcher since Joe Musgrove held Houston hitless over five innings in May 2021. And Knehr did so despite taking a hard line drive in the ribs in the top of the sixth inning.

“That’s huge,” Flaherty said. “There’s a lot of thankful guys in that bullpen. His teammates are very thankful for that. That was nice -- it saved us.”

The Padres offered no specifics on a potential timetable for Melvin's return. When he missed time earlier this season due to prostate surgery, it was Christenson who took the helm. With Christenson out, those duties fell to Flaherty.

Flaherty, a 35-year-old former big league infielder, has served as the team's quality control coach and is heavily involved in game-planning and strategy. He's highly regarded within the organization by both the front office and players, some of whom are his former teammates.

The nightcap Saturday marked Flaherty's first game as manager at any level. He retired following the 2019 season and joined the Padres as an advance scout and development coach the next year.

“It was a little nerve-racking at first, to be honest with you,” Flaherty said of serving as the acting manager. “But I think when Bob Melvin tells you that, it gives you a little bit of confidence that I’ll be all right.”