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Allen, Quantrill struggle in final bids for rotation

Neither pitcher able to complete an inning in Cactus League finale
@AJCassavell
March 24, 2019

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres asked both Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill to make their final rotation cases on Sunday afternoon. Suffice to say, Allen and Quantrill left that fifth spot as wide open as it has ever been. The two Padres prospects did some positive things early this spring.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres asked both Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill to make their final rotation cases on Sunday afternoon.

Suffice to say, Allen and Quantrill left that fifth spot as wide open as it has ever been.

The two Padres prospects did some positive things early this spring. But they were abysmal in a 24-6 loss to the Cubs on Sunday. Allen allowed six runs and Quantrill seven (though all seven were unearned). Neither made it through a full inning.

“It was one day out of 180-plus during a season,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “It wasn't a good day for Logan or for Cal. I thought Cal was a little bit better and just had some bad breaks, a chance to get out of that inning. But it was an ugly day altogether.”

The poor performances from the two youngsters left open the question: What do the Padres do at the back end of their rotation? Perhaps more important, do they need to add another starter, externally?

All spring, team officials have pointed to their desire to give their young, unproven arms a chance. Some pitchers, like Chris Paddack and Matt Strahm, have risen to the occasion. They're expected to be named to the rotation this week.

Allen and Quantrill, meanwhile, have offered no definitive answers. Perhaps their poor outings left the door open for Nick Margevicius, the only other starter remaining in camp after Bryan Mitchell and Robbie Erlin were shuttled to the bullpen. But Margevicius has yet to pitch a game above Class A Advanced.

“We're going to continue to look at our options and find out who's the best choice for us right now,” Green said. “Those guys are going to put on a big league uniform for us, and we're excited about it.”

For Quantrill and Allen on Sunday, the results were similarly rough, but their innings unfolded very differently.

Allen was hit hard from the outset. The first three batters reached base, and three of the six hits he allowed went for extra bases. His day was done when Phillip Evans, the eighth batter of the frame, took him deep.

Four innings later, Quantrill entered. He retired the first two batters, then got a ground ball to shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis' throw was low, and Jose Pirela couldn't make the pick. From there, Quantrill unraveled. The next six batters he faced reached base (albeit with a touch of rough batted-ball luck). Quantrill was done when Christhian Adames doubled to put the Cubs up by 12.

“Guys ultimately show you when they're ready,” Green said. “Those guys are going to be ready. They're going to impact us. They might still end up in a spot to have a chance, but it wasn't a great day.”

Quantrill and Allen finished last season at Triple-A. Allen is the younger of the two, but he also has posted the better Minor League numbers. Neither is part of the 40-man roster.

A number of serviceable pitchers remain available via free agency, but with eight days remaining until the Padres need a fifth starter, it's unclear who among them would be ready to take the ball against Arizona. San Diego almost certainly won't have to make its decision on that Game 5 starter before Opening Day.

Both Quantrill and Allen (and Margevicius, for that matter) are non-roster players. They don't need to be optioned to the Minors, meaning they don't need to spend a minimum of 10 days there. Allen or Quantrill can be called up before the fifth game of the season, allowing the Padres to carry eight relievers for their four-game weekend set against the Giants.

Noteworthy

• In a camp filled with impressive rookies, catcher Francisco Mejía was named rookie of the year at Padres Spring Training. In 17 games, he batted .356 with a 1.027 OPS. Mejia, the No. 26 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is still on the fringe of the Padres roster. Either he or veteran Chris Stewart will back up Austin Hedges.

Luis Urías and Jose Pirela launched back-to-back homers in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was Urias' second of the spring and Pirela's fourth, tying him for the team lead with Ian Kinsler and Aderlin Rodriguez.

• There weren't many bright spots for the Padres on the mound on Sunday. But left-hander Sammy Solís offered one. Solis, a late-spring signing, worked a scoreless third inning and struck out two. In a bullpen that's short on left-handers, Solis could be one of the team's first depth options at Triple-A.

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