The Padres announced a trio of moves tonight, first and foremost placing right-hander Pierce Johnson on the 10-day injured list with right triceps inflammation. The move is retroactive to June 18th. The Padres selected the contract for southpaw Daniel Camarena from Triple-A El Paso to take Johnson’s roster spot.
Johnson, 30, has been a productive member of the Friars’ bullpen when healthy. He rides an unconventional curve-forward arsenal, throwing his hook 73.1 percent of the time this season. He compliments his high-spin curveball with a 95.5 mph power sinker. The combo put Johnson in the 93rd percentile league-wide by K-rate with a 34.8 percent strikeout rate. In 27 appearances, he’s has a 3.57 ERA/2.84 SIERA over 22 2/3 innings with three holds and a blown save.
Camarena, 28, has yet to make his Major League debut, but he’s likely to do so either today or tomorrow, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). He was a drafted out of San Diego area Cathedral Catholic High School in the 20th round by the Yankees way back in 2010. He career took a hit, however, when he underwent Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the entire 2015 season.
The 6’0″ lefty rehabbed and reached Triple-A in 2016, but he’s been unable to break through. Baseball America had him as the Yankees’ 31st-ranked prospect back in 2017, writing, “Camarena’s fastball typically sits in the low-90s but touched 93 in the middle portion of the season before backing up again as the fatigue from a lost year set in down the stretch. He coupled the fastball with a full offspeed arsenal that included an above-average changeup, a get-me-over curveball and a slider he added this year to give him an extra weapon against righthanders.”
BA pegged him for a back-end rotation arm, but he became a minor league free agent before receiving a big-league opportunity in New York. In eight starts with El Paso this season, Camarena finally earned his call-up with a 3.00 ERA in 39 innings, where he has allowed 33 hits and 11 walks while notching 24 strikeouts.
Lastly, recently-acquired right-hander Sam McWilliams was also outrighted to Triple-A. The 6’7″ McWilliams impressed scouts this past winter, driving a mini-auction for his services. He ultimately signed with the Mets. The well-traveled McWilliams has spent time with Philadelphia, Arizona, Tampa Bay, New York, and the Padres, reaching Triple-A with the Rays in 2019. He’s been knocked around at the highest level of the minors this season, giving up 15 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings between the Mets’ and Padres’ Triple-A clubs. Control has been his bugaboo; McWilliams has a 25.4 percent walk rate this season.