Latest Padres injury creates even more uncertainty in their infield

Things are very weird at the moment with a guy who really looked like he was back on track at the plate.
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres have had quite the whirlwind last few months. Obviously the Padres' offseason was largely marked by the unfortunate departures of Blake Snell and Josh Hader in free agency as well as trading away Juan Soto to cut costs, but there has been some good as well.

San Diego went out and traded for Dylan Cease to bolster their rotation, and the start of the season has been an opportunity to see players like Jackson Merrill establish themselves as Padres of the future.

One of the bigger question marks entering the 2024 season for the Padres, though, was Jake Cronenworth. After his second-place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2020 followed by back-to-back All-Star appearances, Cronenworth's production began to drop off and his situation wasn't helped by the fact that the Padres had to play him out of position to make room for him in the lineup.

Flash forward to this season and Cronenworth was showing signs that he was emerging from his doldrums at the plate as he has posted a .798 OPS in 83 plate appearances in 2024. Unfortunately, Cronenworth's attempts to regain his former glory have hit a bump as he is currently dealing with a somewhat mystery leg injury that kept him out of the lineup and could keep him out for longer.

Padres News: Jake Cronenworth's injury could have a domino effect on rest of their roster

This is a bit of a weird one because, usually, we get a sense of what a guy's injury is before speculating as to how long he could be out. However, it sounds like that the Padres still are unsure as to what is going on with Cronenworth, per manager Mike Shildt.

So far, San Diego hasn't put Cronenworth on the IL, which is good news. However, all of the uncertainty does beg the question of what things could look like if Cronenworth is forced to miss an extended period of time. One potential solution would be to ease Manny Machado back into the field by having him fill in at first base while Cronenworth is out before sliding him back over to the other side of the infield after he gets healthy.

However the Padres choose to go forward, the best option remains Cronenworth avoiding an IL stint. Whether or not that happens, well, no one seems to know.

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