Choi makes it back to the majors before season’s end. He has been out since August 14, when a ribcage strain sent him to the IL. He was able to get back into rehab games a couple weeks later, but it seemed his season would be over when he fouled a ball off his right foot while playing for Triple-A El Paso 10 days ago.
While the Friars initially announced that Choi had broken his ankle, they quickly changed the diagnosis to a Lisfranc injury. Within two days, he was back on the field for El Paso. He made three more rehab appearances before getting the call back to the big league club.
It’s of little consequence for San Diego at this stage. They’re down to 69-78 and going to miss the postseason. Yet it could be a small boost for Choi personally. The left-handed hitter will be a free agent this winter. Playing out the final two and a half weeks will at least allow him to go into the offseason with a fairly clean bill of health. It has been a challenging season overall, as the 32-year-old missed a couple months early in the season with a strained left Achilles. He returned shortly before the trade deadline, was flipped from the Pirates to San Diego, then hurt his rib (and subsequently his foot).
Thanks to the injuries, Choi has gotten into just 30 games. He has slumped to a .179/.239/.440 line over 92 plate appearances and has yet to record a hit as a Padre. Choi was a solid offensive player for the Rays over the four prior seasons, combining for a .242/.350/.421 batting line with a stellar 13.8% walk rate.
Carpenter has had a tough first season with the Friars. He has a .176/.322/.319 line with five homers through 237 trips to the dish, a far cry from his resurgent .305/.412/.727 showing in 47 games for the Yankees last year. Even if he’s able to make it back for the final few games, he’ll surely exercise a $5.5MM player option in lieu of a return trip to free agency.
In other Friars’ injury news, Joe Musgrove won’t return this season. AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports that the Padres are scaling back the throwing program for their staff ace. Musgrove has been out since early August with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. He hasn’t suffered any kind of setback. Without even a glimmer of hope for a playoff run, the team simply decided there’s no reason to push him.
Musgrove’s season concludes with a 3.05 ERA across 17 starts. He’s under contract for four more seasons at $20MM annually. He and Yu Darvish are the two locks for next year’s starting five. Blake Snell will be a free agent,while Seth Lugo is likely to decline a player option to test the market himself. Michael Wacha could also hit free agency if both he and the team decline their end of various options in his deal. That’ll leave the Friars in search of a handful of starting pitchers over the coming months.