Update: Hundley was placed on the disabled list prior to Friday’s game, making room for Phillips.
It hasn’t put him on the DL, but Nick Hundley is unavailable for Friday’s game with a strained right oblique, forcing the Padres to call up a third catcher in Kyle Phillips.
Although he’s slumping lately, Hundley has been the Padres’ best hitter this season, amassing a .263/.336/.421 line, three homers and 12 RBI in 95 at-bats. After opening the season in the eight hole, he’s spent time batting fourth and fifth recently.
Taking his place tonight is ex-Mariner Rob Johnson, who won the Padres’ backup catcher gig by default after Gregg Zaun retired this spring. He’s 8-for-27 with a homer and 11 strikeouts in limited action.
Phillips, the younger brother of former big-leaguer Jason Phillips, will be making his major league debut nine years after being drafted by the Twins. He was hitting .316/.341/.447 in 76 at-bats for Double-A San Antonio.
(And, yes, that is a picture of Nick Hundley. You just have to look really closely.)
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.