When the Padres traded for catcher Austin Nola last August, one of the positive qualities we heard about was his toughness. They were definitely not lying.
Nola fractured a finger on his glove hand when he caught a foul tip in Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. We didn’t know this until Sunday because Nola didn’t pull himself out of the game and only got it looked at when it became obvious something was very wrong.
The 31-year-old backstop is quickly earning a reputation for his pain threshold. He played the last month of the 2020 season with a broken bone in his foot.
A week after the trade, Nola fouled a ball off his foot. He continued to play through it and didn’t broadcast the news even to his teammates because he wanted to be part of a playoff push.
Nola’s finger fracture puts his status for Opening Day in question. It’s a good thing the Padres have plenty of catching depth.
Victor Caratini likely slides in as the everyday catcher with heralded rookie Luis Campusano (Padres 3rd-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline) making the 26-man club as the backup. Caratini arrived from Chicago this off-season in the Yu Darvish trade to serve as Darvish’s “personal catcher.” But, at least this Spring, he’s shown he’s more than up to handling the entire pitching staff.
On Sunday against the Reds, Caratini got the start with Darvish on the mound and went 1-for-3 with an RBI triple in a 10-4 blowout of the Reds. Darvish, by the way, tossed 3.0 perfect innings with three strikeouts. In Cactus League play Darvish has made two starts, going 5.0 scoreless innings with seven punchouts, one hit and no walks allowed.
Outfielder Tommy Pham finally got his first hit of the spring, a single in the 1st inning. He also reached on an error and scored twice. In the 5th inning the Padres blew it open when Nick Tanielu hit a 2-run home run and Pedro Florimon added a solo blast.
San Diego plays the Brewers on Monday afternoon with Blake Snell on the mound for his third Spring Training outing.
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