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Padres reliever Miguel Diaz shines in major league debut

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn't a lot worth writing home about in the Padres' 14-3 Opening Day loss to the Dodgers, but one thing that did go very right was the major league debut of pitcher Miguel Diaz. A Rule 5 draft pick who had never pitched above Single-A, Diaz put the other four San Diego pitchers to shame with his perfect outing. Called on to make a soft landing in a game in which the Friars trailed by 11 runs, Diaz made the most of the low-leverage situation.

After starter Jhoulys Chacin and reliever Christian Bethancourt (it still feels a little weird typing "reliever Christian Bethancourt") teamed up to allow a dozen runs in a mere four-and-two third innings, manager Andy Green called on the rookie. Wearing his brand-new number-43 jersey, Diaz induced former Friar and perennial All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to hit a second-pitch roller to current Padres first baseman Wil Myers, who briefly bobbled it but flipped it to the covering Diaz for the final out of the inning.

That, in and of itself, would have been a stellar first outing, but Diaz wasn't done. Green stuck with his man and sent him back out for the bottom of the sixth inning. Leading off was another one-time Padre, Logan Forsythe, who worked a 2-2 count before flying out to Manuel Margot in center field. Forsythe was followed by 2015 National League All-Star outfielder Joc Pederson, who also got to a 2-2 count before taking the fifth pitch for strike three. After the ball from his first strikeout was recovered and sent to the visiting dugout for safekeeping, Diaz was tasked with facing yet another All-Star. I could have said "another former Padre" there, and it would have worked just as well, but either way Yasmani Grandal bookended Diaz's outing with another inning-ending second-pitch grounder to Myers.

In case you weren't keeping track, Diaz faced three All-Stars and three former Padres for a total of four batters, and retired them all. Not bad for your first day on the job.