Tucson Padres: Waiver pickup is win-win for righty Weber, Padres

2012-08-26T00:00:00Z Tucson Padres: Waiver pickup is win-win for righty Weber, PadresBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 26, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Thad Weber was enjoying lunch Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. It was the 10th day of a Toledo Mud Hens road trip, and he had no reason to believe the 11th day would be any different.

A right-handed pitcher from Nebraska, Weber had spent his entire professional career in the Detroit Tigers organization, and he finally made two appearances with the big club this season.

Maybe he would get back.

"The Tigers organization was all I'd known since I was drafted," said Weber, a 16th-round pick out of Nebraska in 2008.

Then Weber picked up the phone. The Tigers needed to make room on their 40-man roster for a call-up to another player, and in a paper move, pulled Weber off the 40-man. But by exposing Weber to the waiver wire in the process, the Tigers lost him.

Weber was informed on the call that the San Diego Padres had picked him up.

"I had no idea," Weber said.

Four hours later, he was on an airplane. And about 24 hours after arriving in Tucson via Chicago late Thursday night, Weber took the mound at Kino Stadium.

He threw six innings for the Padres, giving up four runs and seven hits while striking out six, in Tucson's 5-4 win in the second game of a doubleheader Friday.

Then he retreated to the clubhouse and tried to keep his head from spinning.

"The whole process of being on waivers and being claimed, kind of being one place one day and the next day being here was definitely a whirlwind," Weber said. "But I'm excited to be here."

After so many years of relative stability, Weber suddenly has an uncertain future. He will probably finish out the Triple-A season with the Padres, but the future is wide open after that.

He's 27, still with potential for upward mobility, with a start planned next week.

After that …

"I have no idea," Weber said. "I'm here right now, part of this team. I'll pitch again in five days and wait and see. I try not to worry about the extra stuff."

Weber may have some promise for the Padres. Tucson manager Terry Kennedy said Weber's pitches Friday were "average to above average," and that he was glad to have Weber after Tucson's pitching staff has been hurt by injuries and other roster moves.

In fact, just when Tucson was facing a doubleheader Friday, San Diego pitcher Dale Thayer took a paternity leave because his third child was born, and the Padres summoned Josh Spence from Tucson.

So, facing a potential emergency on the mound if the doubleheader melted the staff down, San Diego turned to its rookie league club and asked right-hander Dan Lazzaroni to travel down to Tucson.

A former right-hander for Siena who received a Padres' contract while playing independent league ball in Missouri earlier this season, Lazzaroni was only too happy to make the trip.

For Lazzaroni, the whole season has been a whirlwind. He's made 18 appearances between rookie ball, Class A and Double A already, in just his first professional season.

But he's not complaining.

"It's incredible from where I was to be here," Lazzaroni said. "As far as I know, I could be gone tomorrow. But you never really know."

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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