Padres Use Catcher in Relief Again – Fun or Depressing?

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Jun 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Matt Kemp (27) hits a solo home run during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Matt Kemp (27) hits a solo home run during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Padres sent catcher Christian Bethancourt to the mound in another blow out loss Monday night – and while he did provide a scoreless inning – should we as fans still think this is funny or a desperate sign for attention?

The Padres after all have been having to juggle their starting rotation between injuries and trades, and Luis Perdomo had just had to give one of the longest relief stints after Andrew Cashner left his start in Colorado early – and found themselves once again in a blow out loss. Enter Bethancourt.

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The end result of course is that he did give the Padres an inning of relief – and so far hasn’t hurt himself in the process. Padres Manager Andy Green gave his own scouting report:

“It’s a live arm, still with relatively zero pitching mechanics — so just the arm whipping through the zone. Not many people can stand up there and throw 95 like they’re on a speed pitch at a carnival, but he does it pretty easily.”

Bethancourt wasn’t exactly envisioning a second career out of all this, but he did acknowledge the fun he was having with it, with a little humble brag thrown in for good measure.

I know I can throw hard, but I just don’t like pitching, because eventually you’re going to give up homers and all that. I’m a very competitive guy, so I didn’t want that feeling when I was little. Now, it’s different. Now I’m just out there having fun, and, of course, helping the team.”

Keep in mind he exceeded 90 MPH on 10 of his 18 pitches. He hit 94 twice and once again threw his 49 MPH “slowpitch”. Not exactly beach balls up there either.

While the Padres do have other relievers like Brad Hand and Carlos Villanueva who have starting experience in their backgrounds to pitch longer in blow outs, the problem right now with the starting rotation is you just don’t know who will give you long outings. James Shields had been the most durable Padre starter since 2015 along with Tyson Ross. Now the Padres are faced with the reality that Ross hasn’t pitched since early April and Shields of course is gone.

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My biggest concern of course is that Bethancourt will get hurt which dramatically alters his own development in a season he is having a good year at the plate and behind it when he does get time after starter Derek Norris.

Hopefully the Padres don’t have too many double digit losses in their future, but because of the aforementioned issues there might be. So we might not have seen the last of the Christian Bethancourt on the mound in 2016.

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