Rea sidelined, rotation spot in jeopardy

March 3rd, 2018

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres right-hander has been temporarily shut down from his throwing program after he experienced soreness in his right shoulder during Friday's workout. Rea was competing for a rotation place, but the setback puts his Opening Day status in serious doubt.
It's an unfortunate hurdle for Rea, who underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in 2016 and missed the entire '17 season. He made his first appearance of the spring in a "B" game on Thursday and pitched two scoreless innings.
"He's going to be slowed down a little bit right now," said Padres manager Andy Green. "It's disappointing for us. Obviously we were excited to see him back on a mound. But hopefully his next step is not too far in the distant future."
Green noted that the Padres were likely to limit Rea's workload this spring anyway -- further evidence that he might not be available when the club breaks camp later this month.
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Rea, 27, was called up in August 2015, and he's made 25 career starts, posting a 4.69 ERA. He suffered a partially torn UCL in July '16 and underwent surgery that November. There's no evidence the two injuries are related, but the Padres are going to proceed with caution.
"There's not going to be a rush with him," Green said. "We want him pitching through the season, and there's probably limitations to what he's going to do from an innings perspective anyway, so if we've got to go a little slower right now at the beginning, and make sure he's in good shape for the year, we'll do that."
If Rea isn't ready by Opening Day, that leaves seven pitchers fighting for three places in the Padres' rotation. and are early favorites, with , Robbie Erlin, , and also in the mix.

Urias stays red-hot
is destined to start the 2018 season in the Minors. He's 20 years old, and the Padres believe he has work to do before he merits a big league callup. But if Urias -- the Padres' No. 3 prospect and MLB Pipeline's No. 36 overall -- keeps swinging like he has this spring, it won't be long before he forces his way to Petco Park.
In Saturday's 10-4 Cactus League victory over Oakland, Urias mashed his fifth double of the spring. He's 7-for-13 with three walks, and he's added some excellent defense, too. In the seventh inning Saturday, the middle infielder ranged to his right for a brilliant diving stop. From his back, he quickly flipped the ball to shortstop Javier Guerra to start a double play.
"He's played incredibly well for us," Green said. "As games have gone on, he's gotten more comfortable here around the staff at the big league level. He can play."
Camp battles
• The Padres' outfield race took center stage during Saturday's victory. went 2-for-4 with his second homer of the spring, and and each had a hit apiece.
"It's really tight," Green said of the race for playing time. "There are a lot of guys playing really well, a lot of guys hungry for that opportunity."
• Vying for the starting job at second base, went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. He's hitting .357 in six games this spring.
• Lyles allowed two runs on two hits in two innings Saturday. The right-hander has serious work left to do this spring if he wants to earn one of those three available rotation slots. If he doesn't, he could win a spot in the bullpen, too.
Injury updates
• Second baseman made an emphatic return to the lineup after missing a week with a jammed left wrist. He launched a sixth-inning homer and finished 1-for-4. Spangenberg, who is battling Asuaje for the starting job, will serve as designated hitter again on Sunday. If all goes well, he'll return to the field on Tuesday.
• Right-hander was struck in the backside by a line drive and exited the game early. Afterward, Green noted that Kennedy was hit, "square on the cheek," adding that he should be fine other than soreness.

Up next
The Padres will split their squad on Sunday with a game, which can be seen on exclusive video webcast, in Glendale against the White Sox at 12:05 p.m. PT and another, which can be heard on Gameday Audio, at home against Oakland at 12:10 p.m. PT. -- who underwent thoracic outlet surgery in September -- will make his spring debut against the A's, with starting that game. Meanwhile, No. 9 prospect Joey Lucchesi gets the start in Glendale.