It was a return from a brief camp removal after he complained of headaches last week but tested (negative) for COVID-19.
He joined outfielder Tommy Pham— cleared for his return from a coronavirus bout — in a batting cage as the team was finally at full strength.
At the early morning practice, the empty stadium was silent except for the crack of fastballs hitting a handful of gloves.
Then scoreboards lit up and country music played, signaling the start of daily team practice for added players about 10 a.m.
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Pham, 32, was cleared to begin working out with the team after recovering from coronavirus, manager Jayce Tingler said Friday. Major League Baseball said he passed a set of protocols — including two negative tests outside a 24-hour span and a doctor’s green light.
“It’s very important for me where I’m at in my career, as far as me still trying to build my resume for free agency or a possible extension,” Pham told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “Everything matters right now — this year and next year. I’m trying to separate myself from the other outfielders in (free agency).”
Acquired from Tampa Bay, Pham has a one-year deal with the Padres, with 2021 being his final year of arbitration before becoming eligible for free agency.
For the first since July 3 start of camp, the Padres on Saturday didn’t stage an intrasquad game.