Padres demote struggling catcher Nick Hundley, call up Yasmani Grandal

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The Padres exhibited patience with Nick Hundley in hopes that he would find his way out of his season-long funk. However, after last night’s game, they finally decided to make a change.

Hundley, who signed a three-year, $9 million extension with the Padres in March, is headed to Triple-A Tucson. Top prospect catcher Yasmani Grandal is on his way up.

Hundley clearly wasn’t happy with the team’s decision, but told Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he knows he has work to do.

“Obviously, it’s not my choice,” said Hundley,visibly jarred by the news. “It’s not the road you want to travel, but it’s not always going to be perfect. I want to be here. I feel very fortunate to be here.

“I have to take a step back and get it right, because it hasn’t been right this year. I can’t stand here and deny it. And I appreciate the fact that they were still throwing me out there when I wasn’t playing well.”

Hundley has struggled to stay healthy during his career, but he hinted at a breakthrough last season by hitting .288 with nine home runs and an .824 OPS in 82 games. The 28-year-old has managed to avoid the disabled list this year, but he’s hitting just .166/.226/.259 with three homers and a .485 OPS across 213 plate appearances.

Grandal had a brief stint in the majors earlier this month, but he’ll get his first extended look at playing time now that Hundley will work through his struggles in the minors. Acquired from the Reds over the winter in the Mat Latos deal, the 23-year-old is hitting .335/.443/.521 with six homers, 35 RBI and a .963 OPS in 56 games at the Triple-A level this year.

Miguel Sano gained weight this offseason

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Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:

Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.

They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.

Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.

Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.

So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.