Diaz was recalled from Triple-A El Paso on Friday.
Diaz has only made one appearance at the major-league level this season after tossing 41.2 innings of relief for the Padres in 2017. He was recently moved up to El Paso from Double-A San Antonio, where he's logged a 2.35 ERA and 1.15 WHIP across 65 innings. Expect him to be deployed in low-leverage spots with San Diego.
Diaz was sent to Double-A San Antonio on Monday, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports.
Diaz tossed two innings, allowing no runs on one hit while striking out five during Sunday's tilt against Arizona. The Padres have elected to send Diaz back down to the minors in exchange for a fresh arm, as Walker Lockett has been recalled.
Diaz will give the Padres a much-needed fresh arm in long relief after the team needed four relievers to toss 20 pitches or more in Saturday's 20-5 loss to the Diamondbacks. Kazuhisa Makita, who gave up seven (five earned) of the 12 runs surrendered by the bullpen, was optioned to Triple-A El Paso to make room for Diaz. Over his 54.2 innings between Triple-A and Double-A this season, Diaz has posted a 3.79 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 58 strikeouts.
This move comes as a bit of a surprise after Diaz received praise from outfielder Wil Myers and manager Andy Green for his performance thus far in camp. The 23-year-old appeared in 31 games for the major-league team in 2017, posting a 7.34 ERA and 1.66 WHIP with a 33:25 K:BB over 41.2 innings. He will likely begin this season at the Triple-A level but remains a candidate to join the team at some point in 2018.
Diaz, who is scheduled to pitch in relief Friday in the Padres' exhibition opener against the Mariners, has impressed the coaching staff and teammates early in camp with an effective three-pitch mix, Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "[Diaz] was nasty," outfielder Wil Myers said, after taking batting practice against the right-hander Wednesday. "One of the best live BPs I've ever seen."
Though Myers' comments may have been a bit hyperbolic, he's not the only one glowing about Diaz's performance early in camp, as Padres manager Andy Green noted that the 23-year-old is sporting a vastly improved changeup to complement his mid-to-upper-90s slider and quality slider. After making the jump from High-A to the majors last season as a Rule 5 pick, Diaz was predictably overmatched, delivering a 7.34 ERA, 1.66 WHIP and 33:25 K:BB and allowing 11 home runs in 41.2 innings. Since he remained on the roster for the entire season, Diaz is eligible to return to the minors in 2018, with an assignment at Double-A San Antonio or Triple-A El Paso likely awaiting him even if he continues to shine in Cactus League play. By virtue of logging 31 appearances in the majors last season, Diaz is likely no longer prospect eligible in most formats, but his development in the minors could be worth tracking in the event he receives a promotion back to the big leagues at some point.
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|2016||AFX-Wisconsin Timber Rat||1||8||3.71||26||15||0||0||3||94.2||83||49||39||7||5||29||91|
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