By Evan Brunell
When are the Padres going to call up Anthony Rizzo?
The perfect opportunity seemed to avail itself when outfielder Will Venable officially lost his starting job and was demoted to Triple-A, opening a spot in right field.
Whaddya know: Incumbent first baseman Brad Hawpe's longtime position in Colorado was right field. That would open up a spot for the hot-hitting Rizzo, one of the prospects acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Rizzo is tearing up Triple-A as a 21-year-old, with a .366/.442/.720 line, and bashing 14 home runs in 190 plate appearances. While he's in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, there's no question Rizzo has taken the next step forward in his development and will give the Padres a more than capable replacement for Gonzalez. And in a few years, once Casey Kelly hits the majors and Reymond Fuentes blossoms, people in San Diego will forget all about A-Gon.
However, the Padres chose to bypass Rizzo, feeling that he still has some development left in Triple-A. Not helping matters was a bruised left hand that kept Rizzo out of action a few games this past week.
Still, a Rizzo promotion appears inevitable, and Padres brass has already discussed moving Hawpe to right, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
“He is not going to go back down once he comes up,” Padres GM Jed Hoyer said of Rizzo and why he's resisted the call up so far. “And we’re not going to bring him up as the remedy for the offense. The timing and situation has to be right.”
San Diego is losing ground in the NL West, dropping seven of the last 10 games and falling to last place, eight games behind the first-place Giants. If San Diego wants to keep the team relevant past June, Rizzo's call up has to occur soon. The Super 2 deadline has effectively passed at this point, so they no longer need to worry about Rizzo becoming eligible for arbitration a year early. At this point, it's simply developmental concerns, not financial, holding Rizzo back.
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