Padres' midseason depth signing is saving team during Xander Bogaerts absence

Donnie Barrels is living up to his name.
San Diego Padres third baseman Donovan Solano (39) celebrates. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
San Diego Padres third baseman Donovan Solano (39) celebrates. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres, unlike most teams throughout the league, have been rather fortunate when it comes to injuries this season. While players like Mike Trout, Max Scherzer, Matt McLain, and most recently Ronald Acuña Jr. have all been placed on the IL, the Friars have been able to maintain a rather healthy roster.

That was, of course, until Xander Bogaerts suffered a fractured shoulder. The Padres second baseman is expected to miss significant time while he allows the bone to heal. In his absence, the Padres have used Jake Cronenworth and Luis Arraez to take over at the keystone.

But in doing so, it's allowed free agent pickup Donovan Solano to gather some more at-bats. Signed to a minors deal on April 15, Solano has been given an increased role on this year's club, and he's coming through with some clutch hitting — including his first home run of the season on Monday against the Miami Marlins and a three-hit day (with an RBI) in Tuesday's 4-1 win.

Padres' midseason depth signing, Donovan Solano, is saving team during Xander Bogaerts absence

Solano has already appeared in 12 games for the Padres this season and is hitting .375/.474/.531 with three extra-base hits. Solano, affectionately referred to as Donnie Barrels, is a high-contact hitter with a career .280 batting average.

Quite honestly, Solano's hitting profile is similar to Arráez's in some respects. While few hitters will match Arráez's minimal strikeout rate, Solano isn't going to muscle a lot of homers, but he puts balls in play and makes things happen.

Bogaerts' injury hasn't seen Solano spend too much time on the diamond itself, but the former Minnesota Twins infielder is quite capable of playing multiple positions. Solano can play first, second, and third base, but has mainly been used as the Padres designated hitter since his contract was selected.

Whether or not Solano is a long-term solution during Bogaerts' absence is undetermined. The Friars, however, could be grooming Graham Pauley to take over if Solano falters or another Padres infielder lands on the IL. Pauley started at second base for Triple-A El Paso on Thursday last week; a position he hadn't played since last year in the minor leagues.

For now, however, the spot in the lineup belongs to Solano. The 36-year-old has a 1.005 OPS since joining the team on May 5. That should be enough to stick around for a little while longer.

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