Padres catcher Luis Campusano underwent surgery on his ailing left thumb, manager Bob Melvin told the team’s beat (relayed by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune). He’s expected to be sidelined around two months.
Campusano has already been on the 10-day injured list for nearly a month. He landed on the shelf on April 17 with a sprain that apparently hasn’t healed as the club had initially hoped. IL stints can be backdated to the start of a player’s absence, so it now seems a formality Campusano will be transferred to the 60-day IL once the Friars find a need for a 40-man roster spot.
The 24-year-old was somewhat recently one of the sport’s top prospects. He’s performed well in the minor leagues but has yet to get an extended opportunity at the highest level. Campusano has seen some action for the Padres in each of the last four years but picked up a total of 114 plate appearances over 35 games. He carries just a .198/.237/.302 line with three homers in that scattershot playing time.
This year’s injury came at a particularly inopportune time. Starting catcher Austin Nola had been off to a rough start and San Diego had expressed an intent to give the young backstop more playing time. Before that could really come to fruition, he hurt his thumb while catching a bullpen session. Nola has continued to struggle and is now sitting on a .152/.256/.215 slash in 27 games. San Diego has turned to rookie Brett Sullivan as Nola’s backup, but he’s hitting only .208/.240/.417 through his first 25 big league plate appearances.
The door seemed open for Campusano, who owns a .296/.364/.511 mark over two seasons in Triple-A. Instead, he’ll now be out of action until around the All-Star Break in the best case scenario. He won’t have much time to seize the starting job before the August 1 trade deadline. If Nola and Sullivan are still struggling offensively, catcher looks like an obvious area of concern for president of baseball operations A.J. Preller and his front office.
Upgrading behind the plate midseason can be challenging — clubs tend to be hesitant about tasking deadline pickups with too much work in acclimating to a new pitching staff — but San Diego may have to look into options at the trade deadline. Yasmani Grandal (White Sox), Yan Gomes (Cubs) and Eric Haase (Tigers) are among the veteran backstops who are performing well on clubs that could fall out of contention by July.