Padres fans should get excited. On Thursday night in front of a reported crowd of 1,599, Dinelson Lamet made his eagerly awaited spring training debut and looked strong. Following a disappointing close to Lamet’s season last year, the right-hander seems ready to rock n’ roll as teams ready themselves for Opening Day next week.
Last fall, as part of his recovery, Lamet received a platelet-rich plasma injection after an arm injury forced his shutdown early and led him to miss the postseason. Thankfully it did not lead to Tommy John surgery – at least that’s the hope for San Diego.
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At the time of the injury, Lamet had notched a Cy Young-worthy line, recording a 34.8 percent strikeout rate and posting a 2.06 ERA to go along with a 2.48 FIP. By himself, Lamet was worth 2.5 WAR.
Padres: More than meets the eye in debut
Observing the box score would not present a strong spring debut for Lamet, who gave up a solo home run. However, the right-hander had retired his first two batters in order before the mistake fastball. He followed it up on the next pitch by inducing a ground ball, ending the inning.
The lone inning of work saw 12 pitches from Lamet – primarily fastballs. He sat in the mid-to-high 90s, hitting 98 MPH on his final pitch of the night. MLB.com’s Justice delos Santos was present at Lamet’s debut as the 27-year-old spoke on his return and excitement of making his first appearance in 2021.
"“I wanted to come in healthy and come out healthy and I was able to do that. I didn’t feel off on the mound. I felt like I executed my pitches. I felt like I was doing what I wanted to do, and I wanted to come out the same way I came in. In my mind, it was a success.”"
Reportedly Lamet also tailored his fastball with a pair of sliders and changeups, respectively. Factually, Lamet’s slider was far and away from the best in baseball last season, so to see him in a comfortable enough position to throw it in his first bit of work before the regular season is a promising sign.
In a season with high hopes and dreams of a second straight postseason run and possible World Series run, a healthy Lamet will go a long way for the Padres. His arsenal of nastiness can help cement the Friars as one of the top rotations in baseball. Fans and front office alike have so much to look forward to this season. A fully healthy Lamet will only heighten the excitement.