As expected, the Padres have promoted top prospect Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A Tucson and written his name into the starting lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Nationals.
Rizzo is batting seventh in his major league debut.
The 21-year-old first baseman forced his way to the majors at a far quicker pace than expected by batting .365/.444/.715 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI over 52 games this season at Triple-A.
Padres manager Bud Black confirmed to reporters Thursday that Rizzo will serve as the team’s primary first baseman going forward. Convinced that he has the goods offensively, they didn’t want to ease him in.
The Padres optioned outfielder Aaron Cunningham to Triple-A Tucson to clear a spot on the 25-man roster. Eric Patterson was also designated for assignment with Will Venable returning to the major leagues.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.