The San Diego Padres have lost their rookie infielder for at least a month, maybe longer.
Per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, San Diego Padres infielder Christian Villanueva has been placed on the disabled list with a fractured finger, an injury he suffered in Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
"“I don’t see guys coming back from fractures in three weeks very often,” Green said. “But that’s the number I get at the beginning. My guess is it’s going to take longer than that. If he can make it back by the end of the year, that’d be great.”"
There is never an opportune time for an injury to occur but in Villanueva’s case, this incident could
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have a major impact on his future with the organization. It appears as if Wil Myers will be given every chance to stick at third base, displacing Villy from his primary position. The Padres had been working him at first base, second base (where the injury occurred), and shortstop in order to increase his versatility and provide him with a role on the team, moving forward.
The odds of Villanueva healing, rehabbing and returning from a fractured finger before the Padres September 30th season finale aren’t great. Andy Green previously mentioned the need for Villanueva to showcase his skillset at multiple positions if he wants to keep his spot on the roster.
The 27-year-old rookie has had a memorable rookie season, after working his way through the minor leagues since 2009. His 20 home runs broke a record for home runs hit by a Mexican-born rookie. Villanueva was also on pace to break Hunter Renfroe‘s record for most home runs hit by a San Diego Padres rookie. At the moment, his slash line is .236/.299/.450 with a 105 wRC+ and a 1.3 fWAR, with most of his damage coming against left-handed pitching (.336 average, 14 home runs).
Who will the San Diego Padres bring up to replace Villanueva?
When news of the injury broke last night, there was an instant cry online for Luis Urias to be today’s call-up, however, it appears as if fans will have to continue to wait for the prized infield prospect.
The obvious move will be Carlos Asuaje but if the Padres continue with their recent plan of attack, don’t be surprised to see Javy Guerra. He is already on the 40-man so San Diego would not have to make any other corresponding moves. While his .237/.281/.428 slash line in AAA El Paso is far from exciting, he does bring a big glove with him and the last few weeks of the season have been about seeing what fringe guys have at the major league level. This could very well by Guerra’s chance, besides, Asuaje has already been given much of the season to show development.
***UPDATE: The San Diego Padres have made an official move since this article was originally published. Carlos Asuaje is the man that will take Villanueva’s spot on the 25-man roster.***
This story will be updated when the corresponding move is made official. Padres fans should also stay aware of the status of Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe, both of whom missed yesterday’s game with injuries, including Myers taking a groundball to the nose in a scary moment before Wednesday’s game.