Kevin Padlo's wild journey from three-homer game to Giants call-up

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Padlo's wild journey from three-homer game to big leagues originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

LOS ANGELES -- When the Giants made their latest roster move on Tuesday afternoon, they added a hitter who was acquired from the Seattle Mariners last week in exchange for cash considerations. To clear the roster spot, they optioned out a hitter who was acquired from the Seattle Mariners last week in exchange for cash considerations.

It was an interesting transaction, but that final bit was about the most normal part of the last 72 hours for infielder Kevin Padlo.

With several key hitters still on the Injured List and two others coming down with COVID-19, the Giants traded for Padlo on Tuesday and assigned him to Triple-A Sacramento. In his fourth game with the River Cats, Pado hit three homers and drove in six runs, and then things started to get a little crazy.

The River Cats were playing in Albuquerque over the weekend, but Padlo didn't join them on the flight back to Sacramento. He instead flew to Seattle to pick up a car and belongings that had been left behind when he was designated for assignment, and then he started the journey to Sacramento, where he assumed he might be for a while.

The trip is about 750 miles and took Padlo 11 hours, split over two days. The Giants and River Cats were both off Monday, so most of the driving was saved for that day. With two hours left in the trip, Padlo got a call telling him he would be getting sent up to the big leagues. He then got another call from a team official who wanted to know if he preferred to spend Monday night in Sacramento, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

Padlo ultimately dropped his car off at the River Cats' ballpark, got some rest at a local hotel, and then flew from Sacramento to Los Angeles on Tuesday morning. At 7:10 p.m. he was in the lineup against the Dodgers, playing third base and batting seventh.

"It has all happened really fast," Padlo said in the afternoon.

While the journey from three-homer game to Dodger Stadium was an incredible one, the trip for his parents was considerably easier. Padlo is from Riverside County and had several family members in the seats for his Giants debut. He was hitless in two at-bats against Julio Urias in a 3-1 loss, but the second one provided a 362-foot flyout to the warning track in left.

Padlo has 10 previous big-league appearances, all coming last year for the Tampa Bay Rays and Mariners. The 25-year-old is a former fifth-round pick who has a .352 OBP and a pair of 20-homer seasons in the minors, and the Giants were happy to add the depth to their organization. Padlo said that Triple-A hitting coach Damon Minor immediately adjusted a few minor things with his hands and approach, and he showed off his power on Sunday in Albuquerque. All three homers were two-run shots as Padlo became the first River Cat to have a three-homer game since Chris Shaw in 2019.

"I was trying to get off on the right foot and show them what I can do," Padlo said. "I was happy to be able to showcase that."

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The huge game set Padlo up for a return to the big leagues, but the Giants will start getting players back from the IL on Wednesday and it won't be long until they're whole and Padlo is reunited with a car that was part of a wild journey from Triple-A back to the big leagues.

The story could have taken one more twist when the Southern California native flew down to face the Dodgers on Tuesday night, but Padlo said Giants fans have nothing to worry about. His favorite color growing up was red.

"I always liked the Angels," he said, smiling.

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