Hynes takes over duties as Padres' lefty specialist

Hynes takes over duties as Padres' lefty specialist

SAN DIEGO -- When the Padres traded reliever Joe Thatcher to the D-backs on Wednesday, they traded away one of the best left-handed specialists in the National League.

But they didn't trade away all of their lefty relievers, as rookie Colt Hynes now steps into that role after the team dealt Thatcher and Minor League pitcher Matt Stites to Arizona for starting pitcher Ian Kennedy.

"It's a great opportunity, and that's something Joe told me before he took off," Hynes said.

Hynes, who was promoted from Triple-A Tucson on July 14, hasn't pitched much at this level yet (5 1/3 innings entering Saturday), but he has retired five of the six left-handed batters he's faced with one walk and one strikeout.

"He's become our left-handed everything," Padres manager Bud Black said of the team's lone lefty in the bullpen. "But we have confidence in Colt in that he can get a tough left-handed hitter out."

That's something Thatcher had become very good at. Lefties were hitting just .212 against him in 2013. In seven seasons with the Padres, left-handed batters had a .209 average in 345 at-bats.

Hynes believes he can handle the job, and after adjusting his mechanics in Spring Training, he now throws from a lower arm slot -- a three-quarters delivery that offers deception to left-handed batters.

"I've heard [from hitters] that there's some deception in it," Hynes said. "For me, personally, it's easier to repeat my delivery that way and throw more quality strikes."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.