The most effective reliever in the Padres bullpen so far this year hasn’t been Brad Hand or Kirby Yates. It’s been Phil Maton. The baby-faced 25-year-old has logged a microscopic 0.56 ERA through 16.0 innings of work across 15 games. The only earned run he’s given up came in the midst of a 14-2 blowout against the Mets, and outside of that blip he’s been flawless. His first multi-inning appearance of the season came late Saturday night, as he put in two high-leverage innings to hold the game tied.
Apparently the workload has caught up to Phil, as he was placed on the Disabled List early Sunday. The cited injury is a strained latissimus dorsi muscle. He didn’t show any signs of injury or discomfort during his work on Saturday, so this appears to be a minor affliction and maybe even just an excuse to give the kid a couple of weeks of rest & relaxation after a stretch of heavy work.
In his place, Kazuhisa Makita has been recalled from El Paso. The submarining soft-tosser worked three scoreless innings across two games while down in AAA. His walk rate this season is well above his career numbers in Japan, where limiting free passes and inducing weak contact was his forte. A return to attacking the corners of the zone for a pitcher reliant on command and guile is needed to make him effective in this league.