The Padres' starting rotation, once a pillar of consistency and stability, will see its third new starting pitcher in a week when Billy Buckner gets the start Saturday against the Cubs at Petco Park.
The Padres will officially add the 30-year-old right-hander to the roster before Saturday's game, when he'll become the team's eighth different starter this season.
Buckner has made 23 starts over parts of four seasons with the Royals, D-backs and Angels. He was 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts with Triple-A El Paso.
"[Saturday] is Billy's day to pitch. He's pitching off regular rest. That was key," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We have a couple other guys down there in El Paso that fit the bill, but might not have been their day. So we'll follow Billy's day, he's been in their rotation for a while.
"He's great physically, he has experience with Major League starts."
In Buckner's first start in the Majors since last July, he will oppose Cubs left-hander Travis Wood. For Wood, the 2014 season has been defined by where he's pitched.
Wood tossed seven innings allowing two runs for a victory in his last start. That was at Wrigley Field, where he has a 3-1 record and a 2.43 ERA this season. On the road, Wood has been a different pitcher. He's allowed 19 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings for an 8.02 ERA away from home this season.
Buckner replaces long reliever Donn Roach in the rotation. Roach made a start Sunday in Denver for Andrew Cashner, who landed on the disabled list with right elbow soreness. Roach could have started Saturday, but Black felt he might need him Friday when the team's other long reliever, Tim Stauffer, made a start for Robbie Erlin, who also landed on the disabled list Thursday with left elbow soreness.
It's been a lot to digest, especially for Buckner -- who thought he was headed to Tacoma with the rest of his El Paso teammates after a series in Sacramento, only to fly south.
Buckner has a history with Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes from their days with the D-backs. That helped him get his foot in the door with the organization in mid-April when he phoned Hinch and eventually signed a Minor League deal.
"I reached out to them and we worked out something quickly," Buckner said.
Now, suddenly, he's back in the Majors.
Cubs: Bullpen picks up innings again
Just one day after Carlos Villanueva saved a taxed Cubs bullpen with a three-inning save, the relievers were nearly put in a jam again when they were asked to finish off the final four innings Friday night after an early exit from starter Edwin Jackson.
The Cubs bullpen had thrown six innings in a 13-inning game Wednesday against the Yankees. In Thursday's series opener against the Padres, the Cubs were able to rest their relievers thanks to Villanueva.
But after entering Friday with quality starts in all three May appearances, Jackson struggled through four innings. He allowed seven runs on 59 pitches through the first two innings.
Luckily for Chicago he was able to get through two more innings, allowing one run on 30 pitches, so they could avoid going to the bullpen even earlier. The Cubs, in the end, used only two relievers as both Jose Veras and Wesley Wright tossed two innings each.
Padres: Thinking about 1984
The Padres honored their 1984 World Series team before Friday's game against the Cubs -- the team the Padres defeated that season in the NLCS to reach the World Series, where they lost to the Tigers in five games.
San Diego manager Bud Black knew plenty about that 1984 Tigers team, as he was on the Royals that season and Kansas City was swept in three games in the ALCS.
"They had a great year in the AL," Black said of the Tigers. "On the other half of that, I remember watching the Cubs and Padres with interest, hoping that we were going be the other half of that World Series.
"What I really remember looking back is how good the Tigers were. They started 35-5, a tremendous start. They went wire to wire with great pitching. They had a great lineup, strong up the middle. They had a good team, a really good team."
San Diego players wore brown jersey tops from the 1984 season on Friday.
• Exploding for seven runs in the first two innings Friday night, the Padres cruised to an 11-1 victory. San Diego is now 11-2 this season when it has scored five or more runs in a game. The 11 runs Friday were the most this season for the Padres.
• Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin went 2-for-4 in Friday's win with three runs. He is now 5-for-12 in the last three games.
• Buckner has made only 43 career appearances (23 starts) in parts of five seasons in the Majors since 2007. That leaves little experience against the 30-year-old right-hander. Only three current Cubs have faced Buckner, going a combined 0-for-5.
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.