Padres officially promote Anthony Rizzo to the major leagues

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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.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.