Trent Grisham will need a rehab assignment before returning to the lineup, but the Padres are hopeful that their centerfielder could be back in a week or so. San Diego anticipates rehab assignments for Austin Nola and Drew Pomeranz as well, though they aren’t expected back until closer to the end of the month, per the Athletic’s Dennis Lin (via Twitter).
Grisham’s absence, in particular, changes the dynamics of the Padres’ position player group. The Gold Glove award winner plays a strong centerfield, and in 2020, he was a multi-faceted weapon on offense: he walked at an above-average 12.3 percent clip, stole 10 bases, and provided pop with a .205 ISO. The 24-year-old has kept his foot on the gas when healthy this season, posting a 149 wRC+ in 154 plate appearances with an 11.7 percent walk rate, seven stolen bases, and a .213 ISO.
A foot contusion landed Grisham on the injured list for the second time this season on May 24th. Jurickson Profar has seen the most playing time in Grisham’s stead, and while he’s made some impressive plays with both his arm and his glove, he does not have the same offensive potency that Grisham can provide.
Like Grisham, Nola has a pair of stints on the injured list, but he’s missed more time in the aggregate. Nola has accounted for just 38 percent of the Padres’ playing time behind the plate this season, second behind his theoretical backup Victor Caratini. Nola brings more bat to the position with a 108 wRC+ in 59 plate appearances (versus 88 wRC+ in 138 plate appearances for Caratini).
Pomeranz, meanwhile, is a power arm whom the Padres would like to use to supplement Tim Hill in the bullpen’s lefty cohort. With Ryan Weathers in the rotation and Pomeranz on the injured list, Hill is the sole southpaw available out of the pen right now. Before landing on the IL with lat tightness, Pomeranz had a 1.98 ERA/2.70 FIP in 13 2/3 innings over 14 appearances.
On the whole, the Padres have been perhaps the most snake-bitten teams of the 2021 season with 842 total days accrued on the injured list, per the injury ledger from Baseball Prospectus. That mark leads the league by a fair margin – the Rays are second with 674 days missed.
With that in mind, the Friars are sticking with a six-man rotation for the time being, per AJ Cassavell of MLB.com (via Twitter). Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Chris Paddack, Weathers, and Dinelson Lamet are currently all healthy and lined up to start games. As the youngest of the group, Weathers is probably the man on the bubble, though he has held his own with a 2.30 ERA/4.82 FIP in 27 1/3 innings as a starter this season.