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Spring Training schedule out; Mejía returns

@AJCassavell
September 16, 2020

SAN DIEGO -- Major League Baseball unveiled its 2021 Spring Training schedule on Wednesday, and the Padres will open their Cactus League slate with their annual charity game against the Mariners at Peoria Stadium on Feb. 27. The Padres are set for 31 Cactus League games, with March 29-30 potentially

SAN DIEGO -- Major League Baseball unveiled its 2021 Spring Training schedule on Wednesday, and the Padres will open their Cactus League slate with their annual charity game against the Mariners at Peoria Stadium on Feb. 27.

The Padres are set for 31 Cactus League games, with March 29-30 potentially reserved for further exhibition games at other sites. San Diego is scheduled to open the regular season on April 1 vs. Arizona at Petco Park.

Among the highlights from the Padres' spring schedule are:

• The charity game, which will mark the beginning of the 28th Spring Training for the two teams in Peoria, Ariz.

• The Padres play two games against the rival Dodgers -- on March 9 in Peoria and on March 21 at Camelback Ranch, the Dodgers' spring home.

• The Padres will spend their final two Fridays of Spring Training with games against the Giants -- on March 19 in Scottsdale, Ariz., and on March 26 in Peoria.

• San Diego wraps up its spring slate with a March 28 tilt against the Cubs at home.

Report dates and ticket information has yet to be released.

Mejía returns
Switch-hitting catcher Francisco Mejía made a noteworthy return from the injured list in Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Dodgers -- by choosing to bat righty in his pinch-hit at-bat against Dodgers right-hander Pedro Báez. Mejía lined out to left.

"Right now his right-handed swing just feels really good," said Padres manager Jayce Tingler.

Mejía's decision to bat righty is the result of a left thumb bruise that has evidently limited Mejía in getting reps from the left side. Tingler noted that Mejía is available to swing left-handed, but he'll pick and choose the right matchups to do so.

The Padres reinstated Mejía from the injured list on Wednesday, optioning outfielder Abraham Almonte to the University of San Diego, the team's alternate site.

Mejía had missed four weeks with a left thumb bruise, though he'd been receiving regular intrasquad at-bats at USD as he built strength back. The 24-year-old catcher was off to a slow start this season, posting a .079/.146/.184 slash line in 16 games.

Mejía returns to a wildly different catching landscape on the big league club. Since he landed on the IL, the Padres have traded Austin Hedges and Luis Torrens, and they've added Austin Nola and Jason Castro.

Both Nola and Castro have been excellent since arriving at the Trade Deadline. As such, Mejía Is likely to see only sporadic time as a third catcher and as a pinch-hitter.

Lamet, Padres honor Hispanic Heritage Month
The Padres are celebrating Hispanic Heritage month with several different events throughout the month of September, and right-hander Dinelson Lamet took center stage on Wednesday.

Lamet participated in a Zoom call with child cancer patients from El Patronato, a non-profit organization located in Tijuana, Mexico, that offers financial support to patients from Tijuana's General Hospital.

Legendary Padres Spanish broadcaster Eduardo Ortega served as moderator for the event.

The Padres are also raising funds during this week's online auction for Casa Familiar, a non-profit organization that provides bilingual programs and services to both San Ysidro and South San Diego County residents.

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