The San Diego Padres Friday optioned one of their best relievers Ryan Buchter to AAA to give him a break after a heavy workload this season. He also has allowed runs in two consecutive outings.
The Padres have been happily surprised about Buchter’s emergence this season off the scrap heap to their top left-handed reliever in the bullpen. Some even thought he could handle the closer’s job when Fernando Rodney was traded instead of Brandon Maurer.
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The decision is not indicative of anything more than the Padres being careful with an asset that teams are paying high dollar for this year and every year: dependable left-handed pitching.
Manager Andy Green talked about the heavy workload put on Buchter this season: “He’s got more appearances now than he’s had at any point in time in his career. He threw 25 innings in winter ball. It’s been a long year for him. He’s looked very good for a very long period of time and it’s our job to look at a guy and say he needs a break.”
In the last two months his ERA has risen to 3.00 from 1.60 it was on June 25th. The Padres have seem increased control issues from Buchter as well as his fastball velocity dip a few MPH recently. Green was adamant that he is not hurt and will be back in a couple of weeks when rosters expand.
The Padres have historically had very good bullpens, and this year’s squad struggled early to find its groove. Yet as the season progressed Brad Hand, Buchter, and Brandon Maurer were very solid and of course Fernando Rodney only allowed one earned run in the closing role before he was traded to Miami. At just 29 years old, Buchter will surely be a big part of the Padres bullpen in 2017 and hopefully beyond.