Return of Regular Infielders Can Only Help Padres


Alonso will hopefully be returning to the lineup soon for the Friars. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The month of June was anything but kind to the Padres’ starting infielders from a health perspective.  In fact, three of San Diego’s four starters have missed substantial amounts of time over the last month due to various injuries.

Although the Friars have received some solid contributions from reserves on their roster over the last few weeks, the absences of their starting first baseman, second baseman, and shortstop has been anything but helpful as the team has tried to keep pace in the National League West race.

First baseman Yonder Alonso was the first to go down after he was plunked in the hand by a pitch against the Diamondbacks.  Alonso, who was a solid power-source in the middle of San Diego’s batting order this season, has been sorely missed since he went on the disabled list.

Through his first 54 games, the former Miami Hurricane posted a .284 batting average (190 at-bats), six home runs, and 29 runs batted in before he broke his hand.  The number of home runs Alonso had up to that point was very encouraging, especially when one considers that he did not hit his sixth home run last season until August.  In addition to his production at the plate, Alonso was even more stellar in the field.  Yonder only recorded one error and posted a .998 fielding percentage as San Diego’s first baseman in 54 games.

Jedd Gyorko was blossoming into a solid second baseman before he sustained a groin injury in early June versus Colorado at Coors Field.  Like Alonso, Gyorko brought some much needed pop and consistency to the Padres’ lineup this year.

San Diego’s second baseman enjoyed an incredible month of May at the plate when he hit .303 (99 at-bats), smacked six doubles and six home runs, and drove in another 12.  Gyorko was well on his way to a terrific month of June (.325 batting average (40 at-bats), four doubles, two home runs, five runs batted in, and a .575 slugging percentage), but his groin injury has left the Friars without his much needed services since June 9, 2013.

Although the losses of Gyorko and Alonso have been difficult, the Friars have definitely felt the sting since Everth Cabrera went down with a hamstring injury.  Due to his improved batting average (.305), on-base percentage (.382), and plate discipline (32:52 walk to strikeout ratio), Cabrera had entrenched himself as San Diego’s main leadoff man in 2013.

In addition to his improved production at the plate, Everth continued to be a speed-demon on the base-paths for his team this year.  Cabrera’s 31 stolen bases through his first 69 games led Major League Baseball, and his speed at the top of the lineup was an enormous asset for the Friars.  Unfortunately, Everth’s leg injury has left the Friars gaping hole at the top of their batting order.

Final Thoughts

I know that I cannot say specifically how much the presences of Alonso, Gyorko, and Cabrera would have helped over the last month.  Yet I would have to believe that any team would struggle if they had to slog through a month without their dangerous table-setter and two potent power-threats.  Thus, their presences should be greatly felt when the time comes and all three are in the lineup together.

How much time it will take for Alonso, Gyorko, and Cabrera to become 100 percent effective once they return is a big question though.  I think that we have all seen how Chase Headley has struggled to produce at the plate since his return from the wrist injury he suffered during Spring Training

I just hope that the Friars are still in contention in the ultra-competitive National League West by the time that they can all return healthy and contribute on a consistent basis.

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