Baseball

Adrián Morejón To Undergo MRI After Experiencing Arm Discomfort

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Padres left-hander Adrián Morejón will undergo an MRI this week, reports AJ Cassavell of MLB.com. The lefty had departed yesterday’s game with discomfort above his elbow.

Until that MRI takes place and a diagnosis is reached, it won’t be known if Morejón needs to miss time or how much. For now, it’s a concerning development for both the pitcher and the club. Morejón was once one of the top prospects in the league, with Baseball America featuring him on their top 100 list in five straight seasons from 2017 to 2021. Unfortunately, he’s been slowed down by injuries since then, most significantly Tommy John surgery in 2021.

Morejón was able to return to the mound with the Padres last year, though they kept him in the bullpen. He tossed 34 innings over 26 appearances, as well as another 13 1/3 frames in the minors, bringing his season tally to 47 1/3. The club was hoping to have him continue as a starter this year, now that he’s further removed from that surgery.

The Padres assembled a rotation this winter that was fairly deep but came with some question marks. The front three of Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell were going to be followed by Michael Wacha, Nick Martinez and Seth Lugo. Wacha had a nice season in 2022 but has dealt with recurring shoulder issues and hasn’t reached the 130-inning mark in a season since 2017. Martinez and Lugo, meanwhile, were each going to attempt to hold down rotation roles despite more recent success as relievers.

There was already some uncertainty in that group to begin with, which was going to make pitching depth an important factor for the Padres. That was only exacerbated when Musgrove recently suffered a fractured toe during a weight room accident. He’s expected to miss at least a couple of turns through the rotation to begin the season, which will thin out the club’s depth for a while.

The Padres once seemed like they would open the season with a six-man rotation prior to that injury. It’s possible that Musgrove’s injury changed those plans, or perhaps they could have turned to one of their depth options. Morejón would have been firmly in the mix for such a job, alongside pitchers like Jay Groome, Julio Teheran, Brent Honeywell Jr., Ryan Weathers, Reiss Knehr and Pedro Avila.

Any significant injury would take Morejón out of the running for the time being, but it will depend upon what the imaging reveals. The 24-year-old wasn’t set to be an essential member of the club’s staff but the Padres surely don’t want to subtract from their depth, especially given the question marks in their rotation. Any kind of setback would also no doubt be frustrating for Morejón on a personal level since he’s missed so much time already. Despite having just 42 major league appearances under his belt, he’s racked up over three years of MLB service time, much of that spent on the injured list. He reached arbitration for the first time this winter and will make $800K this year. He’s slated for two more passes through arbitration before reaching free agency after 2025, though he still has options and could see that timeline pushed back if he’s sent down to the minors for a meaningful stretch of time at any point.

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