Padres News: Tim Federowicz Out Until All-Star Break

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It may be time for A.J. Preller to work his magic again. This time, for another backup catcher.

San Diego Padres catcher, Tim Federowicz, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery today to repair a complete tear in his lateral meniscus, according to multiple reports.  The Padres’ presumptive backup backstop will be out until at least the All-Star break.

Barry Bloom of padres.mlb.com and Jeff Sanders of the Union-Tribune both quoted manager Bud Black on the injury and Federowicz’ timeline for return.

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"“It’s a tough break. We didn’t know what was going to happen, what it was going to look like, but it was a pretty significant tear. Optimistically, the All-Star break, but it could get into August.”"

Federowicz injured the knee in last Sunday’s game against the Colorado Rockies while shifting his weight behind the plate. The team had hoped that the tear to the cartilage was small, which might have only required four weeks of recovery time. Unfortunately, the severity of the tear revealed it required a full repair.

Federowicz is a power threat with a career .293 average in the minor leagues, and was going to be counted on to provide some offense in the backup role.

The primary options for backup catcher now are not ideal. 37-year old veteran Wil Nieves and the defensively talented but offensively inexperienced minor leaguer, Austin Hedges.

Nieves has played in the majors for eleven seasons, always as a backup. Last year, he hit .254 in 36 games for the Phillies. He is in Spring Training for the Padres as a non-roster invitee. He was originally not likely to make the roster, but with Federowicz out, he may have found an opening.

Hedges competed in Double-A last season, hitting .225 in 427 at bats. Hedges is as talented as any minor league catcher in baseball behind the plate, but his offense has lagged far behind his defense. The Padres likely had no intention bringing Hedges to the big league roster to start the season, but injuries sometimes force a team to change its plans. Even in light of the injury to Federowicz, it seems unlikely that the team would rush the 22-year old to the majors if any other viable catcher is available.

Preller, who has made a name for himself by reinventing the Padres into contenders this off-season, may look to the trade market to find a backup if neither Nieves nor Hedges seem like the best solution.

How do you guys think the Padres should replace Federowicz?

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