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Padres call up INF Chris Nelson

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The former Rockie, Yankee and Angel will take Irving Falu's spot on the roster.

USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, the Padres lost Irving Falu to the Brewers when the Milwaukee club claimed him on waivers. The Padres had already deemed him somewhat expendable by even exposing him to waivers. Now we know why. The club was more interested in having INF Chris Nelson at the major league level. Nelson was signed on a minor league contract a little less than a month ago and has been playing for the El Paso Chihuahuas. He hit .293 with a .422 on base percentage for the West Texas AAA club in 82 at bats.

Nelson was a 1st round draft pick (9th overall) by the Colorado Rockies in 2004. For reference, that's the year that Matt Bush was selected #1 overall by the Padres. Nelson was drafted out of high school, so he is still just 28 years old. He was once ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in baseball, as high as 26th by Baseball America. With only a couple of exceptions, he has always hit well in the minors and as recently as 2012 it translated into major league success. However, his seasons since have been disappointing. The Rockies shipped him off to the Yankees in 2013 and then later was claimed by the Angels off of waivers. This year he started the season in the Reds minor league system without much success before signing up to play in the Friars' farm system. The Padres have likely had eyes on Nelson for a long time being that he was a big prospect on a rival team and perhaps want to see if they can get him back on track and fill their need for some better hitting from the 2B position at the same time. Nelson also played some 1B for El Paso, so he could slot in there. Another option is put Nelson at his more natural 3B position and give 3B Chase Headley a breather (or perhaps replace him on a regular basis this season if a trade happens).

The Padres now have a full 25 man roster, but a short a pitcher compared to their normal roster compilation. I had speculated that the corresponding move after the Falu loss would be to activate Nick Vincent who had made 2 rehab starts and could come off the DL, but such a move will have to wait.