Padilla Looking To Return Soon

PULASKI, VA - Pulaski Yankees pitcher Jonathan Padilla has not seen game action since his last start on July 10. The specifics of his absence aren’t widely known, but with only a month of regular-season baseball remaining for Pulaski, Padilla has his eyes set on a strong return.

In four games with Pulaski, Padilla has made three starts. He currently is posting a 0-1 record with a 3.71 ERA in just 17 innings pitched.

Before coming to Pulaski, Padilla began 2015 in the Dominican Summer League. While there, he appeared and started in four games, going 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 22 innings pitched.

His career is progressing in an upward fashion this season, but after seeing action in the GCL and Class-A Charleston in 2014, Padilla was left wondering about the lateral move.

“I was a little disappointed and uncomfortable because I thought I did fairly well last year in the GCL,” said Padilla, with the help of a translator. “But I have no control over it, so whatever the coaches decided was the right thing to do. I worked hard and that’s why I’m here today.”

Pulaski Manager Tony Franklin offered his thoughts on why players, specifically Padilla, end up where they do.

“I don’t know if we have plans for everybody. When the season begins, you try to place them on rosters where you think they’re going to be able to pitch or play, Franklin said. “And when Spring Training begins, they go out there and they’re pitching and they prove to you that they can play a little bit higher.”

Pulaski pitching coach Justin Pope, who had seen some of Padilla last season, has been impressed with his pitcher’s output this season.

“I had a good feel of him coming into Pulaski. I knew what he featured and what we were getting,” Pope said. “He’s got a fastball that he can get up to 95. He’s got a good curveball that’s at times, can be a swing and a miss pitch. And a good changeup too.”

“My changeup, in the GCL and here, has been around 85-86,” Padilla added. “My curveball has been around 79-81. I don’t have a slider, but sometimes my ball acts like a slider, and that’s around 79-81. My fastball is at 91-92.”

In his last start against Princeton, Padilla threw five innings, gave up seven hits and three earned runs while fanning two. But that was July 10, and Pulaski has played 19 games since then.

When questioned about Padilla’s absence from the rotation, Franklin relayed ever so subtly that Padilla might be suffering from a “dead arm”. Pope chalked it up to fatigue. Padilla, however, offered more details about his extended time off.

“I’m a little bit unhappy because I wasn’t expecting to have a shoulder injury,” Padilla said. “I don’t know the timetable exactly, but I hope for it to be short. I’m anxious to come back because I know that the team needs me.”

Franklin said that the team is taking all the proper precautions in order to ensure a safe and timely comeback.

“There’s no need to rush any of the youngsters when they may experience any type of fatigue, or ache or pain,” Franklin said. “But whatever he has, he’s seeing the trainer about it on a daily basis and he’s starting to make his way back.”

In his time off, Padilla has focused on a few goals to help keep him driven on his road back to the mound.

“First, I want to get healthy and stay healthy,” said Padilla. “Second of all, when I’m up on the mound, I want to focus on me and the hitter, concentrate on what I have to do and what has been successful for me.”

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