Notes: Rookie righty seeks consistency
Cameron has yet to allow a run, but he has issued 14 walks
MIAMI -- It's not enough for Padres rookie pitcher Kevin Cameron that he hasn't allowed a run this season; he wants something that has eluded him for most of his 13 2/3 scoreless innings in 2007 -- consistency.
Cameron threw a scoreless inning in Saturday's 7-6 victory over the Marlins, although he struggled in doing so, walking three hitters in the inning (one intentional) and uncorking a wild pitch before escaping unscathed.
Cameron has been tough to hit this season, allowing only six hits in his nine appearances with 14 strikeouts. However, Cameron hasn't always been tough to reach base against, as he has 14 walks over his 13 2/3 scoreless innings.
The culprit for Cameron's wildness? An inconsistent release point.
"I think his release point at times can get slightly away from him during the course of an inning," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But he seems to have a knack of finding it. I think with K-Cam, it's ironing out the consistency of the delivery and the release."
But that's proved to be easier said than done, as Cameron said he's nearly at his wit's end as to why he's having release issues, especially after seldom having them while pitching in the Minor Leagues.
"It's been tough," Cameron said. "A lot of the time when I'm losing it, I'm coming out of the stretch and rushing a little to the plate. It's been a battle for me. It's been weird. I've never experienced anything like this in my career. It's frustrating."
Cameron said he wants to sit down with Black or pitching coach Darren Balsley soon to see if there's anything that he's doing -- or not doing -- from a mechanics standpoint that might help him find a consistent release point.
Cameron entered Sunday tied with Toronto's Jeremy Accardo for the second-most innings by a reliever in the Major Leagues who haven't allowed a run. Joe Smith of the Mets has yet to allow a run in 15 1/3 innings.
Playing catch: Pitcher Clay Hensley, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin, might be limited in the amount of lower body exercises he can do, though it hasn't precluded him from keeping his arm in shape.
Hensley played catch for the second consecutive day on Sunday and did so with Black.
"His arm feels good," Black said. "We played some long toss, stretched out a little bit. He doesn't feel the injury when he's playing catch, and when he lengthens out the distance, he felt fine. The intensity is the issue in that he can feel it when he pushes off that right leg."
Black said it's still too soon to tell if Hensley's stay on the disabled list will go beyond 15 days, though it sounds as if he could do some throwing off the bullpen mound "within the week if everything continues to improve the rate it's improved the last four days," Black said.
Black did indicate that Hensley's chances of making a Minor League rehabilitation start is a "distinct reality."
The Padres will announce Monday who will take Hensley's place in the rotation Tuesday in Atlanta. The leading candidate is right-hander Justin Germano, who has Major League experience and is 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in Portland.
Germano was scheduled to make his regular turn in the rotation for Portland on Sunday but didn't, as Jack Cassel got the start instead.
Giles takes a seat: San Diego right fielder Brian Giles didn't start Sunday's game, making him the second-to-last position player to get a day off this season.
Only first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has started all 31 games this season.
The fact that the Padres needed 12 innings on Saturday to defeat the Marlins only played a small factor in Black's decision to rest the 36-year-old.
"I think it made sense ... he's been going 30 days straight, then going into another venue [Turner Field in Atlanta] that I think looks like they're playing well. It was just time for Brian to take a day," Black said. "I sort of had this date on the schedule a while ago. It's been on my mind."
Giles was hitting .309 on April 28, but fell into a 2-for-21 funk before getting three hits Saturday to raise his average to .282.
Jose Cruz Jr. started in right field on Sunday, the first time he's started there this season.
As for Gonzalez, Black said there are no immediate plans to give him a day off anytime soon.
"Nothing yet," Black said. "We'll continue to monitor Adrian to see how he's doing, how he's swinging."
Pads and ends: Former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp sent time Saturday in the Padres clubhouse as a guest of pitcher David Wells. The two are good friends. ... Doug Brocail, who relieved Wells in the sixth inning on Saturday, damaged the fingernail on his right index finger, the same nail he had trouble with in Spring Training. Brocail was fitted with an acrylic nail toward the end of Spring Training. The nail has held up so far this season and was only slightly chipped Saturday.
On deck: San Diego will opens a four-game series at 4:05 p.m. PT in Atlanta on Monday. Right-hander Chris Young (3-2, 3.34) gets the start for the Padres. The Braves will counter with lefty Chuck James (3-2, 4.83).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.