SAN DIEGO -- The Padres optioned left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter to Triple-A El Paso on Saturday afternoon, amid a handful of roster moves that included optioning Nick Noonan back to El Paso, and recalling infielder/outfielder Patrick Kivlehan and left-handed pitcher Keith Hessler.The decision to send down Buchter comes after a
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres optioned left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter to Triple-A El Paso on Saturday afternoon, amid a handful of roster moves that included optioning Nick Noonan back to El Paso, and recalling infielder/outfielder Patrick Kivlehan and left-handed pitcher Keith Hessler.
The decision to send down Buchter comes after a week in which his spin rate was down, and a Friday night outing in which Padres manager Andy Green noticed some fatigue from the 29-year-old.
"We've pushed him hard all season. He's got more appearances right now than he's had at any point in time in his career," Green said. "He threw 25 innings in winter ball. It's been a long year for him.
"He's looked very good for a very long period of time and I think it's our job to look at a guy and say, 'You know what? He needs a break.'"
Buchter has averaged 92 miles per hour on his fastball this week, which is a slight tick below the 93-mph average that he managed through Aug. 13. In addition, Green said that his spin rate was down in August, which was another sign he could use a break.
During his time in El Paso, Buchter is going to rest for the most part, while doing a long-toss program. It's possible that he could throw "an inning or two," and it's likely that he'll rejoin the team Sept. 1.
Through 54 innings this season, Buchter has posted a 3.00 ERA while striking out 68 batters and walking 27.
"He's healthy. He just needs a little reprieve," Green said. "I think smart organizations do that from time to time. They look at a guy and recognize what he needs and get him back here and let him back into his role that he's been dominant in for the better part of the season."
Kivlehan to make Major League debut
San Diego claimed Kivlehan off of waivers from the Mariners on Aug. 4, and he has hit .341 (15-for-44) in 12 games with El Paso, while getting time at third base, first base and in left field.
Kivlehan's background as a baseball player is unique in that he played just one season of baseball with Rutgers, as a senior, and won the Big East Player of the Year award in 2012 despite not playing since high school.
Green said Kivlehan will spell San Diego's outfielders from time to time and has the ability to play the corner infield positions if needed.
"Honestly, at this point, it doesn't really matter where [I play]," Kivlehan said. "I've played pretty much third, first, left, right, even a little bit of center the last couple years. It's to the point now where I can kind of play anywhere."
His Major League debut came in left field Saturday, with Alex Dickerson getting the day off vs. a left-handed starter.
• Noonan struggled at the plate in his seven-game stint with the Padres, hitting .167 (3-for-18) while starting six games.
• Hessler has bounced between Triple-A and the Majors throughout this season, posting an 11.25 ERA in eight innings with the Padres and D-backs, compared to a 3.21 ERA in 42 innings with both teams' Minor League organizations.
• Jabari Blash (hand) took batting practice today and was available off the bench Saturday. Green is hoping that he'll be back in the starting lineup for Sunday's finale.
"This is his window of opportunity," Green said. "He's aware of it, but you don't want to stick a guy out there that is having trouble performing because of health reasons. So hopefully BP goes well today and he's ready to go tomorrow."
Carlos Collazo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosACollazo.