EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – MacKenzie Gore was supposed to start for the El Paso Chihuahuas on Thursday night at Southwest University Park against the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

It appears, however, that the left-handed flamethrower will have bigger fish to fry. San Diego’s top pitching prospect, Gore joined the Padres in San Francisco on Tuesday as a member of their taxi squad.

With the possibility of Blake Snell going on the Injured List with an adductor injury looming – The Athletic’s Dennis Lin even reported it was, “expected,” that Snell would go on the IL – Gore could make his MLB debut on Friday against the Atlanta Braves, according to multiple reports.

The 23-year-old North Carolina native threw a bullpen session in San Francisco on Tuesday before the Padres played the Giants. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Snell did not; so, it could be Gore’s start on Friday in San Diego. As of Wednesday night, the Padres had not yet made an announcement as to whether or not Gore would start Friday vs. Atlanta.

Gore was electric in his first and only start of 2022 for the Chihuahuas last Saturday in Round Rock vs. the Express. He threw five shutout innings with seven strikeouts, touching 97 MPH on the radar gun.

“It was definitely an electric fastball and the secondary stuff got better as he went along,” said Chihuahuas manager Jared Sandberg. “He absolutely dominated; it was a very productive first start.”

Gore showed a command in his first start that he did not have in 2021 in his first stint with El Paso. Gore had issues with control and also struggled with injuries in his six starts with the Chihuahuas, recording just a 5.85 ERA.

At one point, he was sent back to the Padres’ spring training facility in Arizona to work on his command and heal up, before spending time in High-A Fort Wayne and Double-A San Antonio.

Sandberg said Gore had a fantastic offseason and spring training, though, and the struggles of 2021 appeared to be behind him in his first outing.

“He had a totally different mindset. I didn’t know much about him other than prospect status, but the way he came out in spring training and the way he showed the organization, the Big League coaching staff and us here in Triple-A (what he can do), it’s going to be a fantastic season,” said Sandberg.

Interestingly enough, Sandberg actually compared Gore to the player he might be replacing in the lineup on Friday – Blake Snell. Sandberg spent time with Snell when he was rising through the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

“23 years old in Triple-A, from what I saw in the one start, electric fastball and the secondary stuff, I had Blake Snell for a couple years in the Minor Leagues and there’s definitely some similarities there,” said Sandberg.

If Gore does get to make his MLB debut on Friday, it will be highly anticipated. A top-five prospect in the Padres organization, San Diego has been waiting a long time for Gore to be ready for The Show.

It appears that they’re now closer than ever.