The brutal fate of the injuries of the San Diego Padres took another unfortunate turn this Friday, when the veteran catcher Austin Nola he was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
The 31-year-old backstop will undergo a surgery to treat a sprained thumb who suffered last Tuesday in a plate collision with San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt:
Nola should have a relatively normal offseason after a few weeks of recovery, and the Padres hope he is ready for spring training.
It’s the latest twist in a season marred by Nola’s injury, an integral part of the Padres’ plans for 2021, who played in just 56 games. Before this year, he had never spent time on the inactive list at any level in 10 professional seasons.
But Nola missed most of the first month with a broken finger, then two months in the middle of the season with a sprained left knee. And now this.
The Padres called up receiver Webster Rivas from Triple-A El Paso to take Nola’s spot on the roster. Rivas will once again share time with Victor Caratini behind the plate – two soft hit catchers – who have combined to hit .221 this season:
In a way, it’s emblematic of how the entire Padres season has gone. They took a hit from injury and didn’t have the depth to compensate for it.
Nola received just 194 plate appearances, during which he hit .272 / .340 / .376. He didn’t offer much power, hitting just two home runs. But Nola ends the year with a wRC + of exactly 100.
Essentially, Nola was an average league hitter who plays a premium defensive position, and he plays it well. Wow, could the Padres have used more of that this season?
Nola was the centerpiece of a successful seven-player trade in the Trade Deadline in summer 2020. So far, the move hasn’t paid off, with Ty France starring in an upstart team from Seattle, where he’s had a great season.
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Still, the Padres have plenty of time to reap the rewards of that trade. Nola, who didn’t make his big leap in the majors until he was 29, is under the team’s control until 2025. The Padres are hopeful that Nola’s injury-plagued 21st season is simply trouble, and that it will return to its normal form. on the 22.