As part of a series of roster moves, the Padres have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Kazuhisa Makita from Double-A Amarillo. The club recalled catcher Francisco Mejia from Triple-A El Paso, optioned backstop Austin Allen and left-hander Nick Margevicius to El Paso, and transferred outfielder Franchy Cordero to the 60-day injured list in other transactions.
Additionally, Padres third baseman Manny Machado has been issued a one-game suspension “for aggressively arguing and making contact with umpire Bill Welke” in Saturday’s game in Colorado, but he will appeal, Bob Nightengale of USA Today was among those to report.
This is the first big league promotion of the season for the 34-year-old Makita, whom the Padres signed out of Japan to a two-year, $3.8MM guarantee in January 2018. The submarining Makita struggled to a 5.40 ERA/4.85 FIP last season in San Diego, in part because of a microscopic 20.2 percent groundball rate. While Makita did manage 9.51 K/9 against 3.09 BB/9, that wasn’t enough to prevent the Padres from designating him for assignment last November. Makita has since pitched to an unsightly 5.40 ERA with 9.5 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 35 innings divided between the Double-A and Triple-A levels.
The recall of Mejia may be the most interesting move here, as he’s not far removed from a run as one of the majors’ best hitting prospects. Now 24, the Padres acquired Mejia from the Indians last June for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. Mejia hasn’t done much in the majors, though, which led the Padres to demote him to El Paso on June 1. But the Padres want more offense from behind the plate – something the light-hitting Allen and Austin Hedges haven’t provided – which explains their decision to bring the gifted Mejia back to the majors.
Machado, the Padres’ highest-profile player, may sit a game stemming from an ejection Saturday. He slammed his helmet to the ground and fired his bat against the backstop amid a heated argument with Welke.