Chris Denorfia has yet to play a spring training game because of a lower back injury and manager Bud Black told Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that the Padres are worried he won’t have enough to time be ready for Opening Day.
There is a little concern. He’s not progressing to the point where we know when he’s going to get into a game. It takes time to get game ready.
Denorfia is slated to be San Diego’s fourth outfielder, but figures to get a sizable amount of playing time because he can back up all three spots behind starters Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, and Will Venable. If he starts the season on the disabled list 36-year-old Mark Kotsay could be pushed into more outfield action.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.