Padres' roster move more than meets the eye
Grandal's injury sets off ripple effect to get Rivera to big league club
WASHINGTON -- When catcher Yasmani Grandal suffered ligament damage to his right knee Saturday, the Padres knew that they would need to add another catcher -- quickly.
But while adding Rene Rivera from Triple-A Tucson on Sunday appeared easy enough, that move was more complicated than finding a flight (well, three of them, as it turns out) to get him from Tucson to Washington.
Roster moves like this often send a seismic shift throughout the rest of the organization.
Here's how this particular move broke down:
• Grandal suffers a knee injury in the third inning Saturday. He's replaced by Nick Hundley, which leaves the team with one healthy catcher. Assistant general manager A.J. Hinch calls vice president of player development and international scouting Randy Smith to discuss their options. The only real option is Rivera, who has big league service time and was hitting .343.
• Smith contacts Tucson manager Pat Murphy and the training staff to put Rivera on alert in case they proceed with the move. Smith then contacts Minor League field coordinator Randy Johnson and others in the organization to discuss moves to adjust other affiliate rosters if Rivera is promoted.
• Hinch then calls Smith back to confirm the move will be made. Smith contacts Murphy and the team training staff, and they make travel arrangements for Rivera to get from Tucson late Saturday to Washington in time for Sunday's game, which requires three flights.
• Smith sends a text message to Johnson and the roving instructors about the moves that are about to come -- compensation for Rivera going up. Smith contacts each manager in the system and each trainer, which in the Minor Leagues also serves as the traveling secretary. The wheels are in motion now.
• It's decided that catcher Eddy Rodriquez goes from Double-A San Antonio to Tucson. Catcher Robert Kral goes from Class A Lake Elsinore to San Antonio. First baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones heads from San Antonio to Lake Elsinore, where Kral was mostly playing first base.
• The moves don't go off without a hitch, though. Lake Elsinore is playing a series in San Jose, but Saturday's Asiana Airlines plane crash in San Francisco will not allow for new reservations into the area. It's decided that Lake Elsinore will play a player short until Kirby-Jones arrives, possibly by Monday.
• Then there's the matter of getting Rivera on the 40-man roster. The team had to create a spot, though its decision was made easier when the club placed Grandal on the 60-day disabled list. This move kept the Padres from having to make a tough decision regarding players on the current 40-man roster, spots that are coveted.
• Rivera lands in Washington about 9 a.m. and arrives at Nationals Park for a 1:35 p.m. local start. He's in uniform for the first pitch, though he's likely unaware of what it took it get him to the big leagues, and just how many other people were affected by it.