Blake Snell’s latest injury spells debut for Padres top prospect MacKenzie Gore

San Diego Padres pitcher MacKenzie Gore during spring training workouts at the San Diego Padres Spring Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
San Diego Padres pitcher MacKenzie Gore during spring training workouts at the San Diego Padres Spring Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Blake Snell heading to the Injured List opens door for top prospect MacKenzie Gore to make his Padres debut

The San Diego Padres surprised fans when they sent top pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore down to Triple-A to start the season; after a solid spring training, many thought he’d make the Opening Day roster.

Less than a week later, Gore has joined the big-league squad in San Francisco and has a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse. Unfortunately, it’s because Blake Snell is going on the Injured List.

The southpaw suffered an adductor strain on Sunday and had to be scratched from his first start of the season. Adductor issues also prematurely ended Snell’s 2021 campaign. He was pulled from his September 12 start due to left adductor tightness and went on the IL the following day, and that’s how his season ended.

As a fellow lefty and their top pitching prospect, Gore is the natural substitute for Snell. He was the Padres’ first-round pick and third-overall selection in the 2017 draft. Mechanical issues impacted his 2021 campaign, but he’s rebounded well this year.

Gore made one start with the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas in between spring training and his presumed debut this week. Over five innings, he allowed just two hits, issued no walks, and struck out seven batters, all on 63 pitches. He struck out the side in his fifth and final inning.

The only issue with bringing Gore up is that he shouldn’t be sent up and down once he debuts. And while the roster is 28 men until the end of April, which means a bit more room for Gore, it deflates back to the usual 26 on May 1, which will make things even tighter for the Padres.

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