The San Diego Padres made a roster move before Wednesday's game in Chicago that had plenty of Padres fans wondering what was going on in the bullpen. Manager Bob Melvin, however, laid out his reasoning for sending down Ryan Weathers, a pitcher who has been a key part of the team's limited success through the first 26 games.
San Diego Padres: Why Ryan Weathers was optioned to Triple-A
Weathers has appeared in five games for the Padres so far this season, making three starts very early in the season when the team needed someone to step up in the absence of Joe Musgrove. The 23-year-old southpaw did just that, logging a 2.81 ERA and 1.188 WHIP in his 16.0 innings on the mound as a starter. When Musgrove returned from his toe injury suffered in spring training, Weathers was shuffled back to the bullpen, where he continued to make a difference for the team. In 2.0 innings over two games, Weathers allowed just one hit and struck out one of the seven batters he faced.
On Wednesday, Melvin made it clear that Weathers had been doing exactly what was needed for San Diego, but this move was more about the future than the past.
“It’s not performance-based for Ryan,” manager Bob Melvin told reporters in Chicago. “If you look at the schedule, we’re going to be coming up on non-regular rest for our guys. So, this is just as much about targeting him to come build him up and come back as a starter.”
Looking ahead on the San Diego schedule, following the conclusion of the Cubs series on Thursday, the Padres have four days off between then and May 18 (including Friday before heading to Mexico City for a series against the San Francisco Giants). That May 18 date is a tentative marker that Weathers could well return to the team before, with MLB.com reporting that Weathers, "is expected to be back up with the Padres in a couple of weeks."
Of course, an injury could move that timeline up further. However, any concern about Weathers' slight drop in velocity during his two bullpen games seems to not be an issue.