Entering Wednesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, Derek Norris is batting .182 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs in 111 games. He has seen his playing time decrease recently in favor of Hector Sanchez, who was claimed by the Padres in June.
Sanchez, 26, has batted .270 with two home runs and six RBIs in 21 games.
Last season, Norris, 27, batted .250 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs in 147 games in his first season with the Padres.
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It is not only a surprise that Norris is still on the roster, but also the fact that Austin Hedges has not been called up yet. In 82 games for El Paso-AAA, he is batting .326 with 21 home runs and 82 RBIs.
Last season, Hedges made his major league debut and struggled. He batted .168 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
The Padres are 57-81, which is another reason why it is surprising that he is not getting a shot. Norris will likely not be back in San Diego. Sanchez could possibly be kept.
Hedges, 24, was invited to spring training this year, but missed a little over a month with a broken left hand.
He has certainly earned another shot in the majors with his performance down on the farm this season. Maybe the Padres could call him up before the season ends, but if not, he could very well be the opening day starting catcher in 2017. They are trying to hold off on another year of eligibility as well, a modern reality in the game.
Hedges was drafted by the Padres in the second round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Jserra Catholic High School (San Juan Capistrano, CA). He had committed to UCLA, but signed with the Padres for $3 million.
The Padres and general manager AJ Preller have a huge offseason ahead and the catcher position will be among those that will need to be addressed.