Padres righty Dinelson Lamet pitched multiple innings for the first time this spring Thursday, tweets A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com, albeit in a simulated-game setting. Lamet, whose 2020 season was truncated by a biceps injury that required a platelet-rich plasma injection in October, has yet to pitch in an actual Cactus League game since Spring Training began. Lamet tossed 17 innings in the first half of that simulated setup, and he returned from his downtime to toss another dozen pitches in the second “inning,” Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets.
A concrete timeline for Lamet hasn’t been provided to this point, but he’s obviously a bit behind the rest of the Padres’ starters. Assuming he needs some additional time to ramp up early in the season, the Friars can still lean on Chris Paddack and Adrian Morejon to round out the rotation behind Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove. The 28-year-old Lamet broke out with a huge showing in a dozen starts last year, logging a 2.09 ERA/3.16 SIERA with an elite 34.8 percent strikeout rate and a very strong 7.5 percent walk rate.
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- Right-hander Pierce Johnson, who exited Tuesday’s Cactus League game early, has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 groin strain, tweets Acee. He’ll rest for a yet-to-be-determined period of time, though the club hopes that he can get in a couple more games by the end of camp, so it doesn’t sound like the current expectation is for him to miss any time during the regular season. Johnson, 29, returned to the Majors last season after a strong showing in Japan in 2019 and thrived in the San Diego bullpen. Through 20 innings of relief, the righty posted a 2.70 ERA with a gaudy 33.8 percent strikeout rate, though his 11.3 percent walk rate was also noticeably higher than the league average. He’s signed for $2MM in 2021, and at season’s end the Padres will decide on a $3MM club option or $1MM buyout.
- Austin Nola’s fractured finger looks to have opened the door for Luis Campusano to make the Opening Day club, writes Dennis Lin of The Athletic in his latest roster projection for the Friars. San Diego is also “reluctant” to give up on Jorge Mateo’s defensive versatility and speed, Lin notes, and the fact that the out-of-options Mateo is also hitting well thus far (.355/.462/.516 in 39 PAs) likely tickets him for a bench spot as well. The bullpen could have some tougher decisions as well, given the lack of minor league options for Dan Altavilla and Taylor Williams — both of whom have struggled to this point.