We know that Everth Cabrera's tour of the Padres' minor league system is over and that he's on his way to the parent club beginning Friday night. We also know that unlike most Rule 5 guys, Cabrera has earned his way onto the big-league roster. That is if you can earn anything during a 14-game "rehab" stint.
One strange fact: After running at seemingly any chance in Lake Elsinore, Cabrera appeared to make a conscious effort to slow things down in Portland, where he attempted only one steal. That came in his first game. His numbers seem to show he has lost the knack he had last year when he led all of professional baseball with 73 steals. Is there a nagging injury? Did he, like Cliff Floyd before him, get fat and slow during his stay on the IR? Was he merely saving his legs for the big leagues? Did he make a deal with the Devil, giving up his speed for some pop in his bat?
Perhaps Corey Brock will let us know.
But before Corey does, let's make a guess as to who will follow Cabrera onto the 25-man roster. Field-position-wise, at least.
In Portland, there are really only two guys to consider. One is 30-year-old catcher Eliezer Alfonso, who in 41 games is hitting for average (.306) and power (10 HRs). But any call up is unlikely. The Padres really believe in Nick Hundley, and I just don't see them casting off Blanco. Besides, Alfonzo has struck out 39 times in 147 at-bats and walked only four times.
Then there is Kyle Blanks, the firstbaseman being forced to learn the outfield because of Adrian Gonzalez and who, after a rough patch of a few weeks, is finally bringing his average back up. His current numbers: .283, .391, .865. But while he is getting on base, he's not knocking the ball out of the park like he was earlier in the year and in spring training.
By the way, Drew Macias, who has been up and down between the Padres and Beavers all year, is ice cold (.223, .314, .631). And so is Mike Baxter, recently moved up from double-A San Antonio, where he was tearing up the Texas League. The outfielder is .229, .289, .632 with Portland.
In San Antonio, there is one possibility -- Luis Durango. The 23-year-old Panamanian continues to hit (.317), draw walks (42 against 32 Ks), steal bases (26 against 13 caught stealings -- a horrible ratio) and score (44 runs). But he plays the outfield, where the Padres would like someone who has some power. Durango has zero HRs.
My prediction: The Padres will finally call up Kyle Blanks before their June 23 game at Seattle and stick him in the lineup as the designated hitter. DHing will mean Blanks will not have to learn a new position at the major-league level. At least not initially. And the Padres really want to say sayonara to Cliff Floyd. The guy got a pinch single yesterday and then had to be pinch-run for because of his gimpy leg.
*About that 10-game hitting streak: I did not count the Beavers' June 14 game in which Cabrera came on to pinch hit and drew a walk. That was his only plate apperance. Does that ruin a hitting streak? He did not have an official at-bat. I don't know the official rule.