You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Padres notes: Cole Hamels shoots for joining Padres in June; Xander Bogaerts returns; roster moves

San Diego Union Tribune logo San Diego Union Tribune 3/27/2023 Kevin Acee
Cole Hamels is working toward potentially joining the Padres in June. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune) © (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune) Cole Hamels is working toward potentially joining the Padres in June. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Cole Hamels feels like Cole Hamels again.

“I feel like now what my bullpens are what I feel like when I would come into spring training a normal healthy Cole,” he said.

Hamels will remain in Arizona when the Padres depart following Monday’s spring training finale. He has begun what is being called a “ramp down” period before he resumes a full throwing program and gets ready to face batters in extended spring training. Eventually, the plan is for him to pitch in minor league games as he works toward an eventual return to the big leagues.

The Rancho Bernardo High School alumnus is making a comeback from major shoulder surgery in 2021. He has not pitched in the majors since making one start for the Braves in 2020, which was his 15th big-league season.

He signed a minor-league contract with his hometown team in February. People in the organization who have watched his bullpens have been saying for a few weeks that it appears the 39-year-old left-hander might be able to help the Padres at some point this summer.

Hamels, who was the 2008 World Series MVP with the Phillies, believes a June call-up is possible.

“That's the goal,” he said. “… I have to get used to the pitch clock. And I don't want to get called up to get injured and get sent down. I want to be a part of something. So I want to make sure I'm ready and I can actually do what I'm saying.”

Bogaerts returns

Two days off was enough. Xander Bogaerts was back in a Cactus League game Sunday.

The Padres shortstop, signed in December to an 11-year, $280 million contract, sat out Friday and Saturday after receiving a cortisone injection in his left wrist. Turns out, the pain-relieving shot is pretty much an annual event since he was hit in the hand by a pitch in 2017.

“Ever since then, I've kind of been getting it (almost) once a year,” Bogaerts said. “Either I get it in spring or in season.”

Bogaerts said his wrist started bothering him shortly after he returned from the World Baseball Classic on March 15.

“I came back from WBC fine,” he said. “First day back, I was swinging and kind of felt a little funny. I started doing some drills and stuff like that, so I would guess maybe it was from that because I didn't feel it one time at the WBC.”

Bogaerts has played at least 144 games the past three full seasons and has started at least 134 games in the field in seven straight full seasons.

“The first time I got it, I played through it,” he said. “… I played pretty bad after that. And ever since then, I've learned my lesson. Whenever I have something with my hands, I take care of it before I come back. Because it wasn't fun. I was manipulating my swing, starting to change a lot of stuff, avoiding the pain. I didn't know about cortisone at that time. But once I found out, I learned from that and never made that mistake again.”

Roster moves

It has appeared for some time that outfielders Jose Azocar and David Dahl and infielder Rougned Odor (who is now also working in the outfield) will fill out the Padres’ bench. And that likelihood increased when the team sent several other players to the minor leagues on Sunday night.

The Padres optioned infielder/outfielder Brandon Dixon to Triple-A and reassigned infielders Tim Lopes and Alfonso Rivas and catcher Pedro Severino to minor league camp. (The difference in the designations is that Dixon is on the 40-man roster and, thus, had to be optioned.)

The team also reassigned pitchers Drew Carlton, Moises Lugo, and Julio Teheran to minor league camp and returned Jose Lopez, a Rule 5 selection, to the Rays.

Teheran being sent down leaves Jay Groome, Brent Honeywell, Ryan Weathers and Domingo Tapia as candidates to be on the opening-day roster.

There are three spots available, with starter Joe Musgrove and relievers Robert Suarez and Adrian Morejon set to begin the season on the injured list.

One of those spots will be for a pitcher who makes at least one start in place of Musgrove. The Padres have to decide whether they want the other two spots filled by long relievers or a more traditional (short) reliever such as Tapia.


  • Left fielder Juan Soto took batting practice on the field Sunday for the first time since suffering a mild left oblique strain a week earlier. Soto is expected to play in a minor-league game Monday with the idea he will be in the opening-day lineup if all goes well.
  • Catcher Austin Nola had five at-bats in a minor-league game Sunday and is expected to play in Monday’s Cactus League finale. Nola was hit in the face by pitch that fractured a bone in his nose. He said the main challenge he has when doing physical activity is breathing through his nose. He said wearing a nasal strip helps.
  • After a spring of winnowing to four finalists, the Padres held what they deemed the PFP Championship of the World on Sunday morning. (PFP is Pitchers Fielding Practice). “The Star Spangled Banner” played as Josh Hader stood atop the mound with a crown on his head and a bottle of champagne in his hand after beating out Jose Castillo (Venezuela), Nabil Crismatt (Colombia) and Luis Garcia (Dominican Republic).

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.


More From San Diego Union Tribune

San Diego Union Tribune
San Diego Union Tribune
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon