Padres’ Dinelson Lamet talks rehab without minor leagues

Credit: USA Today Sports

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Padres Dinelson Lamet
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

San Diego Padres’ pitcher Dinelson Lamet made his second and final start of spring training on Monday, but he’s not worried about continuing his rehabilitation without a minor league system.

The Padres Opening Day roster was finalized on Monday, as the team wrapped up their final spring training game, a 2-10 defeat against the Colorado Rockies. Padres’ right-hander Dinelson Lamet made his second start on the spring, tossing 1.1 innings.

The 28-year-old needed 29 pitches and faced seven batters while yielding two hits and one earned run. Lamet is working his way back from an elbow injury sustained at the end of the regular season last year, and he’ll begin the year on the injured list.

However, with the minor league season delayed for at least the first 30 days of the MLB regular season, Lamet will continue his rehab with bullpen sessions, with no opportunities to get into a minor league rehab start.

“I’m honestly not too worried,” Lamet said on Monday via his translator. “For me, every time I’m pitching, I’m not so much focused on the hitter. I’m focused on making good pitches.”

Lamet wasn’t as sharp in his second appearance, struggling with his fastball command. He opened the game with a leadoff single to Garrett Hampson, followed by hitting Ryan McMahon with a pitch. Fortunately, a double play bailed him out of a big inning, but Lamet allowed a walk and an RBI single to the next two batters before retiring the side.

The Padres offense responded in the bottom half of the inning, notching the game at one run apiece. Lamet returned for the second inning and got Dom Nunez to fly out to centerfield, and his day was done.

“I felt good coming out,” Lamet said of his health. “It was important for me to throw two innings. That was the goal here.”

The Padres will open the 2021 regular season on Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Lamet won’t be with the big league club. Instead, he’ll continue to rehab at the Padres’ alternate training site. With the minor league season commencing May 4, Lamet will have a month to continue to trend in a positive direction.

However, the major disadvantage is he won’t be facing live-batters.

“I’m not too worried about it,” Lamet admitted. “Again, I haven’t faced hitters for so long. I think so much of this process is getting used to it again – having hitters in the box. I think the more and more I face guys, the more comfortable I’m going to be with my fastball and slider.”

With Lamet out for likely the first month of the season, lefty Ryan Weathers made the Padres Opening Day roster, but his role still remains to be determined. Chris Paddack had a rough couple of appearances to close out spring training, yielding eight earned runs on seven hits and three walks in 2.1 innings on Monday.

Assuming he can regain 2020 form, Lamet figures to be an important piece of the Padres rotation…when he’s 100 percent healthy, of course. There are several question marks behind the first three guys in the rotation, but that’s where San Diego’s depth comes into play until Lamet is ready to go.

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