Marty Caswell of XX1090 in San Diego tells us that Brad Hawpe will make his first start of the season in right field tonight against the Rockies while Jorge Cantu plays first base. Why does this matter?
Well, it could mean that prospect first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a lot closer to the big leagues than we thought. Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade this past December, is batting .365/.444/.715 with 16 home runs, 63 RBI and a 1.159 OPS over 232 plate appearance with Triple-A Tucson this season. Whether it’s tomorrow, next week or next month, he’s clearly on the fast track.
Hawpe, of course, primarily played right field before signing with the Padres this offseason, but was generally regarded as one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball. If the Padres are moving him back to make room for Rizzo, fine, but if they are doing this just to get Cantu some at-bats at first base, Padres fans aren’t going to be very thrilled.