Every organization has to deal with its fair share of injuries up and down the system. But sometimes when it rains, it pours.
The Padres had to feel that way over the past few weeks when three of the top 10 prospects in the organization's Top 20 rankings were all shelved. Fortunately for the Padres, they may have dodged any severe injury issues.
No. 2 Padres prospect (and No. 49 on the overall Top 100) Casey Kelly provided the biggest scare. The right-hander was off to a very promising start over his first two starts at Triple-A before having to deal with an elbow problem that turned out to be a strain of the ligament. That set off warning bells for obvious reasons, but the Padres were able to collectively sigh in relief when it was determined surgery was not needed.
Instead, Kelly is now finishing up a second week of a no-throwing program. He'll start his throwing program back up and will throw for two weeks. Assuming he gets through that without any difficulty, he'll be back in game action following that two-week period.
"It was about as good news as you can hope for," said Randy Smith, the Padres' vice president of player development and international scouting. "We're being cautious and conservative with him. It should be roughly about a month [when he returns to games]."
Kelly's batterymate in Triple-A Tucson, Yasmani Grandal, also went down. The system's No. 4 prospect had a typical hamstring tweak. After going 6-for-12 in his first four games as a Padre -- he came from the Reds in the Mat Latos deal -- he was placed on the DL with the hamstring injury. As those things often go, what was thought to be a few-day thing turned into just about two weeks. He was set to be activated for this weekend's series in Sacramento.
A few levels down, another catcher was on the mend. Austin Hedges, the organization's second-round pick (and No. 10 prospect) experienced some stiffness in his shoulder and was placed on the disabled list on April 16. Again, the Padres were being cautious. With the cooler temps in Fort Wayne and the Midwest League, they felt it best to shut down Hedges and send him to Arizona for about a week of strengthening and throwing. He made it back to Fort Wayne on Thursday and was back in the lineup, going 1-for-3 and throwing out one of two basestealers from behind the plate.
"Two of the three are back," Smith said. "It looks like none of them, knock on wood, were very serious."
The Padres didn't corner the market on top prospects hitting the DL. Manny Banuelos, the Yankees' top prospect and No. 13 overall Top 100 list, hadn't gotten off to a very good start in Triple-A. Maybe now there's an explanation. He's on the disabled list with a sore back and is expected to miss one start with his lat issue. ... Chad Bettis is No. 4 on the Rockies' Top 20 (and No. 65 overall), but he's yet to make a start with Double-A Tulsa due to a triceps injury. ... Josh Bell of the Pirates (No. 4 on the Pirates' Top 20; No. 69 overall) was off to a solid start to his pro debut with Class A West Virginia before being shelved with a knee injury on Thursday. He tweaked his knee after a base hit for West Virginia on Tuesday. ... A left wrist injury has felled the Rays' Tim Beckham, No. 4 on the Rays' Top 20 and No. 91 overall.