Padres decide to take pressure off Hundley

Padres decide to take pressure off Hundley

DENVER -- A new $9 million contract might have been the cause of Nick Hundley's struggles.

"There's a lot of factors, and I wouldn't exclude that one," San Diego manager Buddy Black said on Saturday, one day after the 28-year-old catcher was optioned to Triple-A Tucson. "He'd probably say [it wasn't], but there's something to that. He takes his responsibility strongly."

Hundley, who signed a three-year deal in the offseason with a club option for 2015, was hitting .166 (32-for-193) with 22 RBIs. However, Hundely had thrown out a Major League-leading 19 would-be base stealers.

Replacing Hundley on the 25-man roster is Yasmani Grandal, who started Saturday's game against the Rockies. Black expects Hundley's time in the Minors to be beneficial.

"We felt it was time to give Nick a breather from the pressure that he's put on himself to perform," Black said. "He's a guy that takes his performance, his contributions, as strong as anybody. When things weren't going his way, things were building up and effecting his performance. So it's a classic case of taking one step back to take two forward."