Schimpf makes long-awaited Rogers Centre debut

After 7 years in Blue Jays' system, Padres' 2nd baseman appreciates opportunity

Schimpf makes long-awaited Rogers Centre debut

TORONTO -- During his seven years in the Blue Jays' system, Ryan Schimpf often dreamed about his Rogers Centre debut.

That day finally came Monday night -- although it wasn't exactly the scenario he had envisioned. When the 28-year-old second baseman finally stepped onto the Rogers Centre turf for the first time, he did so wearing a Padres road jersey.

"I was definitely looking forward to coming here, for sure," Schimpf said before Monday's 4-2 loss, during which he went 0-for-4. "I obviously came up [with Toronto], enjoyed my time with them, didn't get to the big leagues there. It is what it is. I'm glad the Padres saw something in me to give me a chance to get to the big leagues. Now, it's kind of cool to be here with the Padres."

In each of his past four seasons in the Blue Jays' organization, Schimpf went deep at least 22 times. There were questions about whether that power could translate to the Major League level. The Padres took a chance and signed him to a Minor League deal.

Schimpf tore through Triple-A and earned a mid-June callup. He struggled at the start, but he has turned the corner in a big way since the start of July. Entering Monday, Schimpf's nine homers and 1.293 OPS this month led the Majors.

"Thirty at-bats is not enough to judge a player," Padres manager Andy Green said of Schimpf's early struggles. "We were committed to giving him an opportunity to see what he'd do with it. ... We liked his swing and just believed it could play if given the opportunity. He's rewarded our faith in him."

Even though Toronto never gave him that chance, Schimpf says he harbors no hard feelings toward his old organization.

"I've got relationships that I'm going to have forever," Schimpf said of his time with the Blue Jays. "I played for and worked with a lot of good coaches. There are a lot of good players that are still my good friends over there. It definitely helped me get to this point, for sure."

Schimpf still talks regularly with Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar. The pair played together at all three levels of the Minor League system. Schimpf also spent significant time playing with Monday's starter Aaron Sanchez, as well as right-handers Marcus Stroman and Ryan Tepera.

"I'm sure there's a little added incentive to be here, playing against the team that drafted him," Green said. "I think everybody's wired to think that way.

"But when it's all said and done, it's just a baseball game. Every organization has to make decisions on who gets opportunities in their future. They've made some pretty good decisions here in Toronto. They've got a pretty good baseball team that's competing for a playoff spot again."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.