Mateo went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run in Wednesday's win over Arizona. Mateo connected on a 405-foot shot to left field off Kevin Ginkel in the ninth inning for his first home run as a major leaguer. The long ball came in his 57th career big-league at-bat. Mateo is off to a slow start overall this season, slashing .226/.314/.387.
Mateo stole a base as a pinch runner in Saturday's loss to the Dodgers. Mateo took over on the basepaths for Luis Campusano in the ninth inning after the latter drew a walk. Mateo stole second to get into scoring position, but the Padres' subsequent hitters couldn't bring him home. The steal was Mateo's first this season. He is slashing .227/.346/.318 through 26 plate appearances.
Mateo has gone 4-for-13 to start the season while earning starts in both left and center field. Mateo has been a beneficiary of Trent Grisham's (hamstring) absence, as he's gotten plenty of work as the Padres' fourth outfielder to begin the season. He's done well with the opportunity, clubbing two extra-base hits. However, Grisham is expected to be activated from the injured list Friday, which is sure to diminish Mateo's role.
The Padres informed Mateo on Monday that he will be included on the Opening Day roster, Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports. Mateo went just 4-for-28 at the dish during his debut season in the majors in 2020, but he earned his way onto the Opening Day roster after coming through with a .316/.414/.456 slash line and three steals (albeit in six attempts) over 57 at-bats this spring. The 25-year-old's speed and defensive versatility should make him a valuable late-inning bench piece, but he's unlikely to get a look as an everyday player in 2021.
Mateo is slashing .393/.500/.571 this spring with four extra-base hits, six RBI and two stolen bases as he vies for one of the Padres' final Opening Day roster spots. Mateo has been mentioned as a candidate to back up Trent Grisham in center field, and that need has become more pressing with Grisham currently out with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. The injury is thought to be minor, but it highlights the desirability of a player with positional flexibility. Mateo logged time at every outfield position and at second base with the Padres last season, and he's also played shortstop in the minors. Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune points out Mateo's considerable speed and lack of minor-league options as additional factors that could help him garner a roster spot. The 25-year-old struggled with a .154/.185/.269 slash line in his first stint as a major-leaguer last season, but it's possible that some of his troubles were linked to a bout with COVID-19 that resulted in Mateo missing most of summer camp. He appears healthy heading into the 2021 campaign.
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