The Padres have re-signed Daniel Camarena to a minor league contract, according to the team’s transactions log at MLB.com. San Diego had outrighted the left-hander off their 40-man roster at the end of the season, at which point he elected minor league free agency.
Camarena originally joined the Friars over the 2019-20 offseason on a minors pact. He’d spent nearly a decade in affiliated ball and was briefly selected onto the Yankees big league roster in July 2019 but had never appeared in an MLB game to that point. After the canceled 2020 minor league season, Camarena began last season with Triple-A El Paso.
While he would spend the majority of the season at the minors’ top level, Camarena did get into his first six MLB games last year. He was selected onto the big league roster in June and worked 9 1/3 innings of twelve-run ball. Clearly, he didn’t get the results he’d desired on the mound, but he did provide fans one of the most memorable moments of the season. On July 8, Camarena hit a grand slam off Max Scherzer in his second career at-bat, turning a 96.5 MPH fastball from one of the sport’s best pitchers around 416 feet.
Of course, the Padres primary interest in the 29-year-old is in his arm. Camarena posted a 4.75 ERA across 83 1/3 innings in a hitter-friendly environment with El Paso last year. The San Diego native owns a 5.32 mark in parts of five campaigns at that level. His 18.8% strikeout rate is below-average, but Camarena’s 7.7% walk percentage is solid. He’ll serve as a long relief or depth rotation option for his hometown club again in 2022.