The Padres announced they’ve selected first baseman/corner outfielder Alfonso Rivas onto the big league roster. San Diego also activated Manny Machado from the 10-day injured list, placed designated hitter Nelson Cruz on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain, and optioned outfielder José Azocar to Triple-A El Paso. In order to open a 40-man roster spot for Rivas, catcher Luis Campusano has moved from the 10-day to the 60-day IL.
Rivas signed a minor league deal with the Padres over the winter. The Chula Vista native had previously appeared in the big leagues with the Cubs. He impressed in an 18-game rookie showing in 2021 but struggled over a longer stretch of play last year. The lefty-swinging Rivas has a .247/.331/.322 line with four home runs and a lofty 30.7% strikeout rate against MLB pitching.
Chicago released Rivas in January. He secures another MLB look with his hometown club following a huge showing in Triple-A. Rivas is hitting .319/.440/.571 over 200 trips to the dish in El Paso. He’s taken a walk in a massive 17% of his plate appearances with a lower than average 18.5% strikeout percentage. Minor league success is nothing new for the University of Arizona product. Rivas is a career .294/.398/.434 hitter below the MLB level.
With Cruz landing on the IL, the Padres had room to add another bat. Rivas joins Matt Carpenter and Brandon Dixon as bat-first options off the bench. Cruz, signed to a $1MM deal over the winter, hasn’t made the impact the team had expected. The veteran slugger owns only a .238/.270/.381 mark over 111 trips to the plate.
Middling production towards the bottom of the lineup has been an issue for San Diego. The Friars rank 23rd in run scoring, leading to a 26-30 record that has them in fourth place in the National League West. Machado has an uncharacteristic .231/.282/.372 line himself, and his tough season continued when he suffered a tiny fracture in his hand on a hit by pitch a couple weeks ago. That cost him around two weeks of action.
Campusano has been out since mid-April with a left thumb injury. He underwent surgery last month and isn’t expected back until the All-Star Break. His IL transfer backdates to the April placement and there was no way he’d return in the next couple weeks. That makes this no more than a procedural transaction.