Another chance to prove himself.
Blanks celebrating against the Dodgers. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
After Blanks had most of his 2010 and 2011 seasons erased due to an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery, last year’s torn labrum must have seemed like a cherry on top of a “crap-laden sundae.”
Undeterred by his misfortune, Blanks rehabbed once again and played well enough during Spring Training to earn a spot with San Diego’s Triple-A team in Tucson. Not the big leagues, but definitely a stone’s throw away from them.
Then it happened. Dodger pitcher Zack Greinke ran his passive-aggressive mouth and San Diego’s starting left fielder Carlos Quentin had his fair share of Greinke’s garbage. After he broke the right-hander’s brittle collarbone, Quentin was suspended for 8 games and San Diego was left without their starting left fielder. What made the Padres’ outfield situation even worse though was the fact that Cameron Maybin was in the midst of another season-starting slump too.
Due to their issues in the outfield, Blanks received his most recent shot at the big league level and called up on April 14th. Since then, Kyle has definitely made the most of his extended chance in San Diego’s most recent series against the hated Dodgers in Los Angeles. Playing in left field and right field, Blanks was one of the Padres’ most consistent hitters and definitely started his 2013 campaign with a bang.
After a solid 1 for 4 outing with an RBI in the opening game on Monday, Blanks feasted on the Dodgers’ left-handed pitchers in the series’ final two games. On Tuesday, the outfielder went 2 for 4 with one double, scored two runs, and was even hit by one pitch. Kyle followed up his impressive Tuesday outing at the plate when he went 2 for 3, hit a screaming home run off the facing of the second deck in left field, drove in two runs, and was even hit with two more pitches! Overall, Blanks finished the series with a .455 batting average, a .533 one-base percentage, and a .818 slugging percentage!
While it was only one series, Kyle’s performance was definitely some kind of wonderful. Plus, I’m sure it was a huge confidence boost for the 26 year-old outfielder. Blanks’ recent series against Los Angeles also illustrated that he might very well be able to stick and stay with the big league club if he continues to hit left-handed pitching and can remain healthy.
I for one would love to see an outfield consisting of Chris Denorfia, Quentin, and Blanks down the road when the Padres face left-handed pitching, and Blanks’ power would definitely be a welcome addition to San Diego’s lineup.
For now though, I’ll tip my cap to Kyle for his recent performance, and cross my fingers that he can make the most out of his current chance and help the Padres along the way.
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference