The Padres are barely two weeks from Opening Day, so close to real games yet still far enough for trepidation. This spring has included documented injuries to José Castillo, Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, Austin Adams, Javy Guerra and Jacob Nix. The biggest blow yet came on Saturday, when Austin Nola suffered a fractured left middle finger.
The Padres have not announced a timetable for Nola’s return, but his availability for April 1 is now in question. Nola has played through significant injury before — last season, he continued catching with a broken foot — but it might be wise to follow a gradual recovery. A 162-game season awaits, and despite the aforementioned ailments, the Padres remain far deeper than in previous years.
Given recent developments, let’s take a look at what the initial roster might look like.
It seems clear Dinelson Lamet will not be built up in time for Opening Day and, perhaps, a sizable portion of April. The Padres continue to proceed deliberately with the right-hander; Lamet is scheduled for at least one more simulated game before he receives his first Cactus League test.
Who would replace Lamet in an early-April rotation? Adrian Morejon is a strong candidate, but even if he starts big-league games this year, the Padres will want to manage the young left-hander’s workload. His inclusion in the rotation might necessitate adding some length to the bullpen. More on that later.
The Padres do not plan to announce an Opening Day starter until late March, but so far, all signs have pointed to Yu Darvish. The 34-year-old newcomer believes he is better than ever, and there is no recent evidence that would refute such a claim. Darvish has been sharp in his first camp with the Padres; through five Cactus League innings, he has allowed one hit and no walks while striking out seven.