The Tragedy Of Kyle Blanks

PITTSBURGH: Kyle Blanks #88 of the San Diego Padres hits a grand slam home run in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

I've had this theory for a long time that some baseball players just aren't built for baseball.

It's a crackpot theory, for sure. I thought Ryan Anderson wasn't built for baseball, but there was Randy Johnson. I thought Prince Fielder and CC Sabathia weren't built for baseball, but there's still Prince Fielder and CC Sabathia.

But then there's Kyle Blanks. All 6-feet-6 and something like 270 pounds of him. Kyle Blanks doesn't look like a baseball player, and far too often in recent seasons he hasn't been a baseball player. He's been a rehabbing baseball player. And here we go again ...

Padres outfielder Kyle Blanks will likely start the regular season on the disabled list if he doesn’t quickly recover from an impingement in his left shoulder, manager Bud Black said on Monday.

Blanks has been out for the past five days with soreness in the shoulder and his immediate return is not on the horizon.

--snip--

"It’s kind of a bummer for Kyle just because of the Quentin situation," Black said. "That provided an opening for him to get a lot of at bats and maybe make the club. That window is sort of closing."

In case you missed it, Carlos Quentin's out for a while after knee surgery, so the Padres were really looking for a left fielder. This was Blanks' big chance. And now it might be gone.

Before the 2009 season, Blanks was named by Baseball America the 50th best prospect in all of baseball. He debuted in the majors that season, and more than held his own. But most of 2010 was lost to Tommy John surgery -- uncommon for a non-pitcher, of course -- and when Blanks got back to the majors last season after a few months in the minors, he just didn't hit. And now, this shoulder thing. Plus, he's not really well-equipped for the outfield and the Padres have young Yonder Alonso at first base.

First Blanks has to get healthy, and then he might have to find a team that needs a huge designated hitter who's going to strike out 160 times per season.

The good news is that Blanks is still fairly young (25) and can still apparently hit; last summer, he devastated Pacific Coast League pitching in 35 games at that level. But if he can't stay healthy for more than a few weeks at a time, teams simply won't have any use for him. Another year or two of this, and he'll be looking for work in Japan. At best.

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