This is despite the fact that Bethancourt has been terrible in the minors. He owns an 8.12 ERA over 37.2 innings for Triple-A El Paso and has walked 28 batters against just 20 strikeouts. That said, the Padres need to make a decision about Bethancourt's long-term future with the club soon, so what better time than the present to see what he's got?
Bethancourt will focus on pitching while at Triple-A El Paso, Dennis Lin of the Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres outrighted Bethancourt off the 40-man roster Tuesday after his struggles as both a reliever and as a hitter while with the big league club. According to Lin, Bethancourt will leave open the possibility of going back behind the plate down the line, but wants to train primarily as a pitcher for the time being. Bethancourt has strong velocity on his fastball, sitting at 94.1 miles per hour, but he'll need time to hone in on his command. He walked a whopping eight batters in just 3.2 innings while with the Padres, but it's clear that the organization is confident enough in his upside to where they believe he can develop as a pitcher down the line.
Bethancourt cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A on Tuesday.
It wasn't the ideal start for Bethancourt, who allowed nine runs (six earned) through 3.2 relief innings while going 1-for-7 as a hitter. He went unclaimed through waivers and will report to Triple-A El Paso, where he'll look to get back on the mound and at the plate.
Bethancourt suffered cuts to his knee but no structural damage Monday against the Dodgers, MLB.com's AJ Cassavell reports.
Bethancourt was covering home after he uncorked a wild pitch on the first delivery of his outing when Andrew Toles spiked him during the play at the plate. The 25-year-old made the Opening Day roster as a reliever after mostly catching throughout his career, and in addition to being banged up Monday, his outing did not go too well either. He allowed a three-run home run to Corey Seager and walked two in 1.1 innings. Regardless, the injury seems to be nothing serious.
Bethancourt has been experimented as a pitcher-catcher hybrid this spring, a move that's worked surprisingly well. The 25-year-old has allowed just two earned runs over 8.1 innings while also garnering three strikeouts. With Austin Hedges and Hector Sanchez ahead of him on the catching depth chart, it appears the team is going ahead with a full switch to becoming a pitcher. Expect him to be used in low-leverage situations as he adjusts to his new role.
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