The Padres Opening Day second baseman Cory Spangenberg is finally nearing rehab games and projects to be back in the majors in early August. At this point should he even be given his starting job back?
Spangenberg had a good enough rookie season for the team to jettison Jedd Gyorko to the Cardinals in a trade that was looking perfect until Jon Jay landed on the DL and most likely voided any trade chip thoughts the Padres had with him. Spangy wasn’t doing great before he went down in early April – but has anyone stepped up in his absence?
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The easiest answer to that question has been a resounding “no”, though newcomer Ryan Schimpf is riding a recent hot streak with some power to try and disprove that thought. He is 28 years old but has hit for power at every stop in the minor leagues including hitting for .355 with 15 homers in just 51 games this year in El Paso.
After starting out slow, he is on a good streak so far in July with 3 home runs and hitting nearly .400 in the past week. Could he be taking advantage?
Baseball decisions of course are not made based on a week, or two weeks, or even a month of statistics and the Padres believe in what Spangenberg can do for this team long term.
Padres Manager Andy Greene expressed this sentiment: “In Spangenberg’s case, that’s been a guy that we looked at, based on his rookie year, to really be a catalyst in our offense this year. He’s been a tough loss for us.”
Now Spangenberg will stay behind in Peoria for some extended work before hopefully putting in a few Arizona League games over the All Star break before beginning a full minor league assignment.
The club is expecting him to need a full two weeks before being ready for the major leagues. If Schimpf continues his hot streak, the final months of August and September may be another battle at second base to start in 2017.
It seems like just yesterday we all though Jedd Gyorko was ready to be the second baseman of the future. The Padres were ready to believe the true future was in (1st round pick) Spangenberg – but he has some things to prove in the remainder of 2016.