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Padres demote struggling catcher Nick Hundley, call up Yasmani Grandal

Jun 30, 2012, 9:36 AM EDT

Nick Hundley Getty Getty Images

The Padres exhibited patience with Nick Hundley in hopes that he would find his way out of his season-long funk. However, after last night’s game, they finally decided to make a change.

Hundley, who signed a three-year, $9 million extension with the Padres in March, is headed to Triple-A Tucson. Top prospect catcher Yasmani Grandal is on his way up.

Hundley clearly wasn’t happy with the team’s decision, but told Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he knows he has work to do.

“Obviously, it’s not my choice,” said Hundley,visibly jarred by the news. “It’s not the road you want to travel, but it’s not always going to be perfect. I want to be here. I feel very fortunate to be here.

“I have to take a step back and get it right, because it hasn’t been right this year. I can’t stand here and deny it. And I appreciate the fact that they were still throwing me out there when I wasn’t playing well.”

Hundley has struggled to stay healthy during his career, but he hinted at a breakthrough last season by hitting .288 with nine home runs and an .824 OPS in 82 games. The 28-year-old has managed to avoid the disabled list this year, but he’s hitting just .166/.226/.259 with three homers and a .485 OPS across 213 plate appearances.

Grandal had a brief stint in the majors earlier this month, but he’ll get his first extended look at playing time now that Hundley will work through his struggles in the minors. Acquired from the Reds over the winter in the Mat Latos deal, the 23-year-old is hitting .335/.443/.521 with six homers, 35 RBI and a .963 OPS in 56 games at the Triple-A level this year.

  1. micker716 - Jun 30, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    It’s about time. The contract is the only thing that kept Hundley in SD to work out his hitting problems. John Baker has been the more effective option. Hundley’s defense will be missed, but a Grandal/Baker platoon should be a big improvement. All three of the Padres contract extensions (Hundley, Maybin and Luebke) this year haven’t worked out real well so far. With new ownership on the horizon, the front office guys really wanted Hundley to get it together. Jobs are on the line.

  2. walrushooker - Jun 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Still can’t believe he fell off so far… I was hoping this team would concentrate around Headley, Hundley and Maybin as the core; adding more defense and speed to improve. Seeing TG jr with LA, instead of him in left with Maybin still kills me; those two with Venable\Deno would be the best defensive outfield in baseball.

  3. icanspeel - Jun 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    I like Hundley, but it is about time. It’s not a permanent move and I am sure he will be back, but he can work on his hitting and at the same time the Padres can see what Grandal can do.

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