By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Turlock native Cederlind signs minor league deal with Padres
Blake Cederlind
After nearly eight years with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Turlock High School alumnus Blake Cederlind signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar).

After nearly eight years with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, which included a major league debut in 2020 and a long injury rehab the past two seasons, Turlock native and Turlock High School alumnus Blake Cederlind is ready for the next chapter of his baseball career.

After being released by the Pirates on May 30, the 27-year-old pitcher signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres on June 8. Cederlind has since been sent to the organization’s Arizona Complex League to ramp up ahead of his assignment to one of the club’s minor league affiliates this weekend.

“I enjoyed every day I was a Pirate,” said Cederlind. “They were only ever great to me and I feel like I grew up in that organization having gone through the minors, making my debut and the ups and downs with the recovery. I finally got healthy, and the Pirates basically said that maybe the grass is greener somewhere else. So far, the Padres have been great… I guess the grass is greener.”

Cederlind graduated from Turlock High in 2014 and was the sixth and last player from Turlock to play at the major league level. He made his debut on Sept. 15, 2020 during the COVID-shortened, 60-game season, an experience he described as less than ideal as there were no fans, artificial crowd noise pumped into stadiums and required masking.

“I couldn’t even have my family or friends there, so it was pretty lame, as crazy as it is to say about a debut,” he said.

The following spring, Cederlind underwent Tommy John surgery to address a torn UCL in his throwing arm. The right-hander would spend 28 months on the sideline before finally being activated in November. He spent this spring at Pirates minor-league camp, where he tweaked the elbow again, forcing him to rehab in Single-A Bradenton up until his release, tossing six innings over five innings and posting a 13.50 ERA.

As Cederlind referred to, he feels as if he is finally 100% healthy following the rehab stint, which is why he was surprised by his immediate release from Pittsburgh upon his activation to Triple-A Indianapolis.

“I think the main thing is that they were familiar with me and wanted to see me get healthy, even if it was healthy with somebody else,” he said. “I feel like they’re in a position to win now (34-33, first place in the National League Central], but so am I, so maybe we just weren’t on the same page. I got my arm right, and the Padres saw that, and now I feel like the sky’s the limit. All systems are a go.”

Since arriving at the Padres facilities in Peoria, Arizona, Cederlind has been playing catch working out, running and going through pitchers fielding practice.

“They want to see me work and get to know me. I flew in about a week ago, and it’s like any new job. It sucks having to learn everybody’s name and you forget and you have to ask again a couple more times before you get it right and remember and get comfortable,” he joked.

At his best, Cederlind fires a 100 mile-per-hour fastball, a power sinker averaging 96 on the radar gun and a 91-mile-per-hour cutter. It’s a makeup that the San Diego organization is plenty familiar with, as they hosted the Turlock native for a pre-draft workout at Petco Park in 2016.

“I just want to get back to my vintage form, which I think right now may be better,” Cederlind said. “My arm feels as good as ever. My mind is 24-karat clear… Stars are aligning here, it feels like. The opportunity is there and the preparation has been put in.”