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Oña up for MLB debut; Patiño optioned

@AJCassavell
September 7, 2020

The Padres spent years building one of the sport's top farm systems. Clearly, they aren't afraid to use it. San Diego promoted yet another prospect on Monday, recalling righty slugger Jorge Oña to make his big league debut against the Rockies. Oña was in the lineup at designated hitter, batting

The Padres spent years building one of the sport's top farm systems. Clearly, they aren't afraid to use it.

San Diego promoted yet another prospect on Monday, recalling righty slugger Jorge Oña to make his big league debut against the Rockies. Oña was in the lineup at designated hitter, batting seventh.

Fellow rookie Luis Patiño was optioned to the team's alternate training site in a corresponding move.

Oña is merely the latest prospect in a wave of them to arrive in San Diego this season. Ranked as the team’s No. 24 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the outfielder has been a standout at the team's alternate training site at the University of San Diego.

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"He's been swinging the bat really well," said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. "It's just a chance to get an impact right-handed bat with us."

That last part is key. It would be nitpicking to look for flaws in a Padres offense that entered play Monday ranked first in the Majors in runs and second in wRC+. But they're suddenly looking for a potent righty bat on their bench.

Ty France and Edward Olivares were dealt ahead of last week's Trade Deadline. The Padres promoted Luis Campusano to fill that void on Friday, but he landed on the injured list with a left wrist sprain two days later.

As such, that burden has fallen to Oña, who has been beset by injuries himself recently. Last season, Oña was limited to 25 games at Double-A Amarillo because of a shoulder injury. But when healthy, he batted .348/.417/.539.

Oña was a late arrival to the team's alternate training site as he nursed a knee injury. But he has been a standout since beginning to play intrasquad games last month. Oña is most likely to see time in a DH platoon with the lefty-hitting Mitch Moreland.

As for Patiño, the right-hander’s demotion comes after nine sporadic appearances and a 5.52 ERA.

"It was nothing on performance," Tingler said. "It was more about getting him an opportunity to pitch a little bit more frequent with a chance to come back up."

Patiño's early numbers probably put him on the outside of the playoff roster looking in. But the organization's No. 3 prospect has shown some flashes of dominance, and if he can rekindle that at the alternate training site at the University of San Diego, there might be room for Patiño as a depth bullpen piece, Tingler said.

"The main objective is we want to get to the last 10-12 games where Patiño is throwing his best ball," Tingler said. "If he's doing that, he's going to make a strong case. ... If and when we get into the playoffs, the goal is for him to be on there and make a strong case for it. We're going to have a lot of guys competing for those few spots.

Worth noting
• Right-hander Emilio Pagán is slated to face hitters on Tuesday as he works his way back from the right biceps inflammation that landed him on the injured list last week. If that goes well, Pagán will play catch on Wednesday, with plans for him to be reinstated on Thursday, the earliest possible date he could return.

• Catcher Francisco Mejía has mostly recovered from the left thumb bruise that landed him on the IL last month. He's getting regular at-bats at the University of San Diego to regain his timing.

• Tingler has developed a pattern with his lineup construction against left- and right-handed pitching. Against righties, the lefty-hitting Trent Grisham bats leadoff, with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado behind him.

Against lefties, however, Tingler has begun using Grisham in the No. 9 spot, with Tatis leading off and Machado hitting second. It's essentially the same order. But Grisham doesn’t get his first-inning plate appearance against a left-handed starter. Thus far, the move has paid off, with Grisham going 6-for-8 in two games as the No. 9 hitter this weekend.

No matter where Grisham hits, he's got the same job, Tingler said: "Just getting on base and setting the table." Grisham is reaching base at a .350 clip this season.

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