Hunter Renfroe began this season hoping to contend for the National League Rookie of the Year award. With six weeks left, he received the first demotion of his young career.

The Padres on Saturday optioned the right fielder to Triple-A El Paso and recalled Jabari Blash from the same affiliate. Renfroe, 25, was batting .230 with a .285 on-base percentage. He has 20 home runs, but he collected just two extra-base hits in August while going 11-for-50 (.220) with four walks and 19 strikeouts.

“Nothing’s changed in our long-term belief in who Hunter can be on a major league baseball field and what our expectation and hope is of him,” said Padres manager Andy Green, who delivered the news to Renfroe after Friday night’s loss to Washington. “We still think he’s got every opportunity to lock down the right-field job for the future. We also think there’s things to work on, and we want to see the needle move. If we’re being honest with the way this last month and a half or two months have gone, we haven’t seen the needle move in the areas we’ve asked for it to move.

“If you’re going to have a winning culture here, you have to be willing at times to make tough decisions and send guys down that you like as human beings, that you value as teammates, that you think have a good future with your organization but at present aren’t quite getting the job done.”

Green said the Padres had asked Renfroe to get on base more consistently. In that department, the rookie managed a meager .231 clip during the month of April. May brought improvement, with Renfroe walking 15 times and raising his season on-base percentage close to .300.