Corey Brock of MLB.com shares this bit of prospect news:
Austin Hedges, considered the third-best catching prospect in the Minor Leagues according to MLB.com, is on his way to Double-A San Antonio.
The Padres will promote Hedges, 20, from Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore to the Texas League. The move was based not just on merit but because Missions catcher Robert Kral is currently injured.
Hedges played in the 2013 Futures Game earlier this month at New York’s Citi Field. He was batting just .263/.338/.404 with three home runs and 26 RBI over 65 games with High-A Lake Elsinore, but the 20-year-old is an excellent defender and should continue to rise quickly through the Padres’ system even if the bat takes a little while to catch up.
Hedges was a second-round pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft out of a California high school.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.
According to an official team announcement, the Nationals have acquired catcher Derek Norris from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Pedro Avila.
Norris, 27, batted a career-low .186/.225/.328 in 458 PA with the Padres in 2016. He hit career highs with 14 home runs and nine stolen bases, but his dismal production rate through the second half of the season spelled the end of his time in a starting role in San Diego. Norris’ departure from the Padres also confirms 24-year-old Austin Hedges‘ spot on the roster, as reported by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell:
Heading to San Diego is 19-year-old right-handed starter Pedro Avila, who was acquired by the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. The 19-year-old spent his first season in Single-A Hagerstown and went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 2.42 K/BB rate in 93 innings.