Padres finalize Opening Day roster; Tapia in

March 30th, 2023

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres finalized their Opening Day roster on Thursday, with few surprises ahead of their now-Thursday-night opener against the Rockies.

Righty reliever Domingo Tapia claimed the final place on the 26-man squad, with David Dahl and Rougned Odor filling out the bench, as expected. To clear space for those three non-roster invitees, the Padres needed to free two spots on their 40-man roster. To do so, they placed lefty Adrian Morejon on the 60-day injured list with a left elbow sprain and designated righty Michel Baez for assignment.

Here's the Padres roster in full, position by position:

Catchers (2): ,
The Padres optioned Brett Sullivan to Triple-A El Paso on Thursday, finalizing their catching situation. Campusano has been knocking on the door of the big leagues for what feels like ages; Nola entrenched himself as the team’s most reliable backstop last season, and San Diego depended on him in the playoffs. Is this the year Campusano finally earns himself a more regular role?

Infielders (7): , , , , , ,
Best infield in baseball? It just might be. So how do the Padres deploy their seemingly endless supply of shortstops? Bogaerts will play short, Machado will play third and Kim will play second. The best fit for Cronenworth is first base, but it shouldn't be much of a surprise if he sees action at second against tough right-handers. Both Carpenter and Cruz can play first, though they're expected to share platoon DH duties. Odor is viewed mainly as a lefty pinch-hit weapon off the bench (though he recently began getting some outfield work, too).

Outfielders (4): , , ,
Fernando Tatis Jr. entered Opening Day with 20 games to serve on his suspension for a positive PED test last year. In his absence, Azocar and Dahl are expected to share time in right field, with Soto having moved to left field full-time. Veteran Adam Engel was expected to be in the mix as well, but he will begin the season on the IL with a left hamstring strain. That likely leaves the righty-hitting Azocar and the lefty-hitting Dahl to form a right-field platoon, but don't be surprised if Odor earns a start or two.

Starting pitchers (6): , ,,
It's not necessarily the alignment the Padres envisioned when they mapped out their rotation this spring. Darvish was bumped to the back of the rotation following his irregular World Baseball Classic schedule. Meanwhile, Joe Musgrove will open the season on the IL with a fractured left big toe. That cleared a place in the rotation, and Weathers won it. His early performance will dictate how long he remains on the big league roster, with Musgrove eligible to return as soon as April 11.

Relief pitchers (7): Luis García, , Brent Honeywell,
Both Robert Suarez and Drew Pomeranz open the season on the IL with inflammation in their throwing arms. The Padres don't expect either of those two to be sidelined for long, but their absence creates a bit of a late-inning void. Expect García and Hill to be tasked with filling it. Meanwhile, those injuries cleared a path for Tapia, who was a roster longshot at the start of spring. He's made 50 appearances across three big league seasons with a 4.42 ERA. But this spring, the Padres say he took a step forward, notching a 2.25 ERA with 11 strikeouts and no walks in eight innings.