SAN FRANCISCO -- In the eyes of Padres general manager Kevin Towers, pitcher Dirk Hayhurst, who will make his Major League debut Saturday, has gone from non-prospect to, at the very least, a suspect.
The 27-year-old Hayhurst will officially be added to the Padres' roster before Saturday's game against the Giants at AT&T Park. He was 2-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 46 games for the Triple-A Portland Beavers, with all but two outings coming in relief.
The Padres could have turned to any number of Minor League pitchers to take the spot in the rotation vacated when San Diego traded Greg Maddux to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
So why Hayhurst?
"We're trying to reward a guy who came through our system and has turned himself into a suspect at least," Towers said Friday. "For a while, Dirk was a guy who we thought only had organizational value. But he's continued to impress. He has three Major League pitches, throws strikes."
Hayhurst, who was selected in the eighth round of the 2003 Draft and had authored a "non-prospect diary" for Baseball America, was a combined 4-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 2007 between three different stops.
San Diego manager Bud Black is hopeful Hayhurst -- who has 98 strikeouts and 28 walks in 84 innings this season -- can work into the sixth inning. He's started just two games in 2008, including a five-inning stint on Aug. 13 against Fresno.
Hayhurst's stint in the rotation could be short as the Padres figure to get Chris Young or Shawn Estes -- or possibly both -- back from the disabled list as soon as next week. But Hayhurst figures to get some looks in long relief.
Hayhurst is a six-year free agent and will be eligible for December's Rule 5 Draft. The Padres want to see if he's worth protecting on the 40-man roster.
Hayhurst was recently named the Portland Beavers' Community Player of the Year for 2008.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.