Austin Nola might not be regarded as one of the best catchers in baseball but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a valuable piece to the San Diego Padres. That’s part of the reason why Padres fans were concerned about Nola when he had to exit today’s game against the Chicago Cubs after being hit by a Michael Fulmer fastball in the fourth inning.
Austin Nola has exited the game after being hit in the face by a Michael Fulmer fastball pic.twitter.com/WV3RitO8mf— Talking Friars (@TalkingFriars) March 19, 2023
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jeff Sanders, Bob Melvin didn’t have much of an update on Nola’s status after the game.
The ball caught Austin Nola’s nose. Melvin did not have much of an update. They were trying to stop the bleeding.— Jeff Sanders (@sdutSanders) March 19, 2023
Melvin can’t imagine the nose didn’t break but status TBD right now.
The 33-year-old was hitting .333 entering today’s Cactus League action and is expected (at least for now) to be San Diego’s Opening Day starting catcher. He caught every Padres postseason game last October.
Backup catcher Luis Campusano hasn’t gotten consistent playing time yet at the major league level and in order for that to happen, he’s going to have to earn it. Campusano is 4-for-18 (.222) at the plate during Spring Training. He hit a home run to left field yesterday in Peoria against the Milwaukee Brewers before grounding out to shortstop today.
“It’s up to Luis,” Melvin told the media earlier this spring about Campusano’s role with the Friars. “If ever there was a time for him, this is the time. He’ll get a good long look in spring training. Last year that wasn’t the case because we had three guys that we were looking at ahead of him. But as you look at it right now, it’s he and Austin. He’s gonna get a great opportunity to make some time for himself. Based on how he does is going to (determine) how much he plays during the season.”
If Nola were to end up on the Injured List at some point this season, the in-house options to be called up are Brett Sullivan and Pedro Severino. Sullivan just finished representing Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic and Severino has eight years of major league experience.