Padres demote right fielder Will Venable, call up Blake Tekotte

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The Padres had to do something after scoring just two runs while being swept by the Mariners over the weekend, and the hammer came down on Will Venable today, as the team demoted it’s primary right fielder and called up Blake Tekotte.

Venable, the Padres’ leader with 11 steals, was hitting just .224/.293/.291 with no homers and eight RBI in 134 at-bats.

Chris Denorfia, who had been playing over Venable against left-handed pitching, should be in line for an expanded role now.  Denorfia has been the Padres’ best hitter at .333/.385/.500 in 84 at-bats for the season.

Tekotte is also due a long look.  The 2008 third-round pick out of the University of Miami was hitting .291/.310/.486 with six homers and 14 steals for Double-A San Antonio.  A left-handed hitter, he’ll see time against righties for the Padres.  He  was hitting .305/.431/.568 against them in the Texas League.

In choosing Tekotte, the Padres bypassed Aaron Cunningham, who is hitting a solid .288/.379/.460 for Triple-A Tucson.  However, the team pretty clearly wanted a left-handed hitter, which Tekotte is.  Ryan Ludwick, Cameron Maybin and Denorfia are all righties.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.