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Falu joins Padres while mourning family loss

Falu joins Padres while mourning family loss

SAN DIEGO -- Irving Falu was back home in Puerto Rico last week when he got a call from countryman Jose Valentin, the Padres' first base coach, to tell him he had been claimed off of waivers by San Diego and would be joining the big league club.

For Falu, the good news couldn't have come at a better time. He was in his native country for the funeral of his mother, who passed away June 20 from a sudden heart attack.

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"Everyone in the family was down," Falu said. "But now it's happy. I'm happy because I have a job to play in the big leagues again. And I thank God for that."

The second baseman was called up by the Brewers on May 26 and spent a couple weeks there before being sent down to Triple-A Nashville on June 14, where he stayed for less than a week before leaving for Puerto Rico.

Falu was hitless in 10 at-bats for the Brewers, so it was unclear if he would get another chance with them this year. Instead, he'll get a shot with the Padres -- and he's not taking it for granted.

"It's unbelievable. All my career I do everything right to try to get here," Falu said. "It's God, not me. When you go with God, everything is right. He's brought me here and my family closer. That's the only thing I have."

Falu spent part of 2012 and 2013 in the big leagues with Kansas City, and holds a .303 career average with six doubles and a triple in 99 MLB at-bats.

"I think his game suits the National League. He's multi-dimensional, multi-skilled at a lot of positions," said Padres manager Bud Black, who indicated Falu could possibly stay in San Diego even after second baseman Jedd Gyorko returns from the disabled list. "He plays the little game, comes highly recommended by a lot of people. We'll see what he's got."

In Nashville this year, the switch-hitter had a slash line of .306/.364/.361 with one homer, five doubles and seven stolen bases in 43 games.

"I'm not a superhero, I don't have much power," Falu said. "But I'm gonna do my best to try to do everything. That's what's important, and [getting] the win."

To make room for Falu on the roster, the Padres optioned Jace Peterson to Triple-A El Paso. After getting called up in early June, Peterson mustered just one hit in 27 at-bats.

"As far as in the hitting area, he wasn't quite getting there," Black said. "And it takes repetition. It's tough to do it in the big leagues when you're not playing every day. This will be an opportunity for him to get regular at-bats."

In his debut on Saturday night, Falu went hitless in two at-bats, but he made a spectacular diving play at second base to start a 4-6-3 double play in the eighth inning. He made his first start on Sunday, while Alexi Amarista moved over to shortstop to give Everth Cabrera a day off.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Will Laws is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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