Padres hoping Blanks can jumpstart offense
SAN DIEGO -- Looking for an offensive spark, the lowest-scoring team in the Major Leagues recalled first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks from Triple-A El Paso before Monday's game against the Royals.
Blanks, who had nine home runs in El Paso, was in the starting lineup and batting sixth for the Padres in the opener of a three-game Interleague series at Petco Park. To make room on the 25-man roster, Xavier Nady was designated for assignment.
Blanks, 27, had a .265/.354/.651 line in 99 plate appearances with El Paso. He had five doubles, nine home runs and 20 RBIs.
"Our reports on Kyle have been strong, that he's swinging the bat well, has been very productive," Padres manager Bud Black said.
The Padres entered Monday's game with the fewest runs (84 in 32 games) in the Major Leagues.
"As an organization, we felt like we needed to make this move," Black said.
Black indicated that Blanks' role will be similar to the one held previously by Tommy Medica, who is now with El Paso, and Nady. Blanks will get some time at first base and the outfield, and will provide a right-handed bat with power off the bench.
For the second time in as many days, someone other than Yonder Alonso started at first base. Alonso, who knocked in the game-winning run on Sunday, is hitting .163.
"We hope this helps him clear his head," Black said.
As for Blanks, he's certainly no stranger to the big leagues. He has 705 at-bats since making his Major League debut as a 22-year-old in 2009. Blanks owned a career .228/.312/.404 line with 28 home runs entering Monday's contest.
"I feel like I've been seeing the ball pretty well," Blanks said of his time with El Paso. "I had consistent at-bats and put consistent swings on the ball. When you put good swings on it, good things happen."
El Paso played its first 24 games away from home as their downtown ballpark was being finished. The ballpark opened on April 29th.
"I've never had anything like that. It was a grind," Blanks said. "We had a few guys who haven't been through Triple-A travel before, so I was helping them try and get acclimated.
"With a schedule like that, you have to just make the best of it. It was a tough situation and got through it."
Blanks sustained a right shoulder sprain on April 27 when he collided with El Paso outfielder Rey Fuentes, but he said it's been feeling better ever since and it does not affect his swing.