Padres Release Nine from Minor League Camp

Monday was one of the hard days in minor league camp for the San Diego Padres. Player development director Sam Geaney and his team let nine players know that they were being released by the organization.

Righthanders Matt Brahnam, Malcom Diaz, Jorge Guzman, John Hussey, Alan Oaks, Tony Rizzotti, Leonardo Solano and Cam Stewart, and first baseman Lee Orr were all let go.

Branham, 27, was a late-round pick in 2010. His best year came in 2012 for Lake Elsinore, when he posted a 3.72 ERA as a swingman. In the two years since, he has shuttled between Double-A and Triple-A.

Diaz, 21, and Stewart, 20, were both drafted out of high school in 2012. Stewart has struggled to stay healthy since then, logging only 84.2 innings and never making it out of the Arizona League. He was sidelined with a virus early in camp this year. Diaz, from Puerto Rico, has been unable to find any control of his pitches, walking 84 hitters in 71 rookie league innings since signing.

Guzman’s release marks the end of an odd saga for the organization. Originally signed as a shortstop under the name Alvaro Aristy in 2008, Guzman was found to have lied about his name and age in 2010. He was also suspended for drug use in 2009. When he finally returned to the field in 2012, it was as an undersized pitcher. He logged relief innings for Eugene and Fort Wayne in each of the last two seasons.

Hussey’s release actually marks his second departure from the organization. The Australian originally debuted as an 18-year-old in 2005, but returned home from Low-A during the 2010 season and was out of affiliated ball for two years. He came back to the Padres in 2013, pitching for both Fort Wayne and Elsinore. He logged 89.1 innings for San Antonio last season.

Oaks, 27 next month, signed out of the Frontier League last August, and appeared in nine games for the Lake Elsinore Storm down the stretch. He originally signed with the Marlins as an eighth-round pick out of University of Michigan in 2010.

Rizzotti, 22, was selected in the 25th round of the 2013 draft out of Tulane as an upside pick coming off injury. He worked in relief at three levels last year, finishing with a 5.00 ERA. Solano, 23, amassed only 10 innings in the U.S. last year after being a late signee from the Dominican Republic in 2011.

Orr, 26, was selected in the 13th round of the 2011 draft out of McNeese State, where he teamed with Jace Peterson. The power-first outfielder/first baseman struck out in 99 of his 222 at-bats for San Antonio last season. He had 38 homers across 307 games in the organization.

The organization still has 175 players in minor league camp, with more still to come from the big league side.

This story was updated on March 24 to correct Alan Oaks's 2014 appearances.


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