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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.