Ortega agreed to join the Padres on a minor league contract Tuesday, Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports. After two seasons of success against Triple-A pitching, the 25-year-old outfielder got his first taste of the majors last season with the Angels. However, things didn't quite go as planned, as he batted just .232 despite striking out just 11.4 percent of the time. Seeing as the Padres have a few top outfield prospects vying for major league spots this spring, Ortega seems to be destined for Triple-A for the bulk of 2017.
Ortega declined his outright assignment to Triple-A, electing free agency. Ortega lost his spot on the roster last week when the team signed Jesse Chavez. He will test the open market rather than just accept an org-depth role, but after a .232/.283/.292 showing in 2016, Ortega will almost certainly have to settle for a minor league deal.
Ortega was designated for assignment by the Angels on Friday. With Jesse Chavez coming aboard on a one-year deal, the Angels needed to clear a spot and Ortega was the roster casualty. Ortega hit just .232/.283/.292 in 201 plate appearances in 2016 while playing primarily in left field. He figures to play out 2017 as organizational depth in the minors.
Ortega was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Ortega has been heating up in the minors lately, where he's now working on a .317/.348/.453 slash line with 14 steals on the season. Things haven't gone as well in limited time in the majors in 2016, but he'll now get another opportunity at the top level. He figures to serve mainly as outfield depth and could stick around for the remainder of the season, as rosters are set to expand Thursday.
Ortega was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. Todd Cunningham was brought up in a corresponding move and will take over in left field Saturday. An 0-for-3 showing Friday lowered Ortega's batting line to .238/.273/.303 through 36 games. He figures to return at some point, but Ortega hasn't been able to hit or get on base enough to capitalize on his speed.