Former Nighthawk fills in for injured Rendon

ANAHEIM – When Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon got hit in the wrist by a Nathan Eovaldi pitch last month, the hope was that he wouldn’t miss many games. While he was able to power through and play third base (even if he couldn’t swing the bat) in the finale in Texas, Rendon was nowhere to be found when they took on Kansas City the very next day.

The Angels were hoping that after sitting out for the weekend series and resting up, he would be able to return to the lineup against the Dodgers a couple weeks ago. Those hopes disappeared when the Halos announced Rendon would be heading back to a place he has become all too familiar with…the Injured List.

With Rendon out, the Angels needed to bring up another infielder and quite a few names were discussed. Both Livan Soto and Jake Lamb seemed like easy options to bring up because they are both on the 40-man roster. David Fletcher also felt like a deserving candidate, and Angels fans would have not been upset in the slightest if they did opt to bring him back. Instead, it was a different player who was not on the 40-man and albeit is a lesser-known name among the fan base that got the call. Well, a lesser-known name for the OC fan base, but not the local fan base in Southwest Riverside County that is.

Kevin Padlo, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Murrieta Valley High School by the Colorado Rockies, was recalled from Triple-A on Monday, June 19, by the Angels. Early on in his career, after a pair of impressive seasons in Rookie Ball, Padlo was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-player deal with Colorado.

With the Rays, Padlo slowly climbed the minor league ranks. He flashed impressive power potential but struggled to find a balance between hitting for power and putting the ball in play. Padlo did finally make his MLB debut with the Rays in April of 2021 at the age of 24. However, he only received 14 big-league plate appearances before he was designated for assignment and then claimed off waivers by the Mariners. Since then, Padlo has had brief stints with three Major League ball clubs, including the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates, and has played plenty of minor league ball with their affiliates.

Los Angeles Angels infielder Kevin Padlo poses for a portrait during photo day at the team’s practice facility earlier this year. Valley News/Mark J. Rebilas photo

Padlo was non-tendered by the Pirates following the 2022 season and became a free agent which is when he was able to ink a minor-league deal with the Angels last offseason. So far this season, he has hit .273/.396/.555 at Triple-A with ten doubles and seven home runs in 134 plate appearances with twenty-two walks and thirty-one strikeouts.

So, why Padlo? It is really because he is a third baseman. Both Anthony Rendon and Gio Urshela, the team’s two primary third basemen, are on the Injured List, so having a legitimate third baseman around would be a good thing. While Fletcher is an excellent second baseman, his defense on the left side of the diamond is not nearly as good. Padlo is a player who can hit for more power and be more impactful. With the bottom of the Angels lineup lacking as of late, it made much more sense.

Also, Padlo played a lot in Spring Training and played pretty well, recording six extra-base hits in 36 at-bats including a home run and a triple. In his debut with the Angels Tuesday, June 20, oddly enough they started Padlo at first base where he batted sixth in their 2-0 loss to the Dodgers, which was his first big-league game of the season. He finished the game 0-3.

After the Angels recalled Kevin Padlo, Manager Phil Nevin said it was Padlo’s power potential that appealed to them. “We need a little more meat in the lineup, if you will,” Nevin said. “We have lost some guys that are impact bats. He has got a chance, especially against lefties, to add that.”

Padlo is now the second former Murrieta Valley Nighthawk standout to play infield for the Angels, and the fourth from the school to play Major League Baseball at the highest level. Tyler Wade, currently playing for the Oakland A’s, was originally drafted by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB amateur draft out of high school and debuted for the big-league club in 2017. Wade played for the Angels in 2022 before being traded.

Current Padres first baseman Brandon Dixon also attended Murrieta Valley where he played alongside another talented MLB player in Patrick Wisdom. Prior to playing professionally, Dixon was at the University of Arizona. In 2012 Dixon and the Wildcats won the College World Series. After his junior season he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third round of the 2013 MLB draft.

Wisdom graduated from Murrieta Valley High School in 2009 and played college baseball at Saint Mary’s College. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. Currently he plays third base for the Chicago Cubs but is on the Injured 10-Day List through next week.

Padlo’s time was short lived as he was removed from both the 40-man and 26-man active rosters Sunday, June 25, to make room for Mike Moustakas with the latter joining the Angels in a trade after they routed the Rockies the day before. Padlo will now hit the waiver wire, and if he goes unclaimed, he will likely report back to Triple-A Sat Lake to provide organizational depth. With the Angels last week, Padlo went one for eight with an RBI double in his only successful at bat.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at