Notes: Hensley back with big club
Young's oblique status uncertain; Estes rehabbing in Class A
DENVER -- First it was the blister, then the groin and then, finally, the biceps tendinitis.
That's the kind of season it's been for Clay Hensley, though the right-handed pitcher said Wednesday the myriad of injuries that have troubled him all season are behind him.
"I have not felt 100 percent this entire season up until now," Hensley said. "I feel great now. It's the best I've felt in a long time."
Hensley joined the Padres before Wednesday's game at Coors Field against the Rockies to give San Diego an additional arm in the bullpen. To make room for Hensley, Terrmel Sledge, an outfielder, was optioned to Triple-A Portland.
Hensley has been with Portland since early May when he went on the disabled list with a groin injury. He stayed in Portland after the groin healed mostly because the pitcher that replaced him -- Wednesday's starter Justin Germano -- pitched so well for the Padres.
Once Hensley's groin was healthy, his right biceps started to give him fits. It's an injury that dates back to last year, but about four weeks ago, the pain became almost unbearable.
"This year, it just got progressively worse," Hensley said of the biceps tendinitis that even made putting on a shirt painful. "It finally got to the point where I was tired of throwing through pain. I sat back and realized I wasn't doing myself anything by pitching injured."
The Padres shut Hensley down for 10 days and he had a cortisone shot, which alleviated the pain in his biceps. He threw twice on the side in the last week and reported no pain at all.
Hensley started the season as part of the Padres' starting rotation and went 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA but was dogged by a blister on his throwing hand and then a groin injury. But all of that's in his past now, he said.
"It's just one of those things where now [that] I'm feeling good, I don't want to talk about any of the numbers; it was what it was," said Hensley, who was 2-6 with a 6.90 ERA for Portland. "Now that I'm healthy, I'm going to go from this point forward. It has been a trying year. I've dealt with a lot of things that were unexpected.
"I'd be lying if I said there weren't times when I said to myself, 'This season is not turning out the way I expected.' But you've got to move forward and work hard."
No word on Young: Padres manager Bud Black said that it's still too early to know if All-Star right-hander Chris Young will start on Sunday in Houston or if he'll land on the disabled list after suffering an oblique injury on Tuesday.
"He still feels it in the oblique," Black said. "He really has nothing to compare it to since he's never been hurt like this before. He is sore and just from what the doctors have said about this type of injury, it looks as though it can be a seven-to-10 day thing."
That means there's a possibility Young -- who leads the Major Leagues in ERA at 1.82 -- could end up on the disabled list.
Black said he will have a better idea of where Young is health-wise after he throws on the side on Thursday and Friday in Houston. At that point, a determination will be made.
"Here again, we're hoping for the best," Black said. "We will know tomorrow or the next day to see if the pain or soreness has alleviated."
Black said late Tuesday the likely candidates to replace Young would be one of three pitchers now with Triple-A Portland -- Mike Thompson, Ryan Ketchner or Tim Stauffer.
But Thompson, who last threw on Sunday for Portland, might be the logical choice since he has more Major League experience than the other two.
Thompson is 2-9 with a 6.92 ERA in 17 games with Portland. He made the Padres' roster out of Spring Training, appearing in five games and going 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA, before being sent to Portland.
It's Estes again: Veteran left-handed pitcher Shawn Estes will make his second Minor League rehabilitation start for Class A Lake Elsinore on Wednesday against the Bakersfield Blaze in Bakersfield, Calif.
The 34-year-old Estes is working his way back from reconstructive surgery on his left elbow last June. Estes threw four scoreless innings on June 20 for the Storm, allowing three hits with four strikeouts.
"He hasn't pitched competitively in over a year, so I would imagine at least one more start in Elsinore," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said earlier this week. "He's got to build his arm back up. The timetable is based on how he feels. I would say he's throwing mid 80s."
Towers said that if all goes well with Estes second appearance with Lake Elsinore, he could join Triple-A Portland.
Friar notes: Shortstop Khalil Greene hit fourth on Wednesday for the first time in his career, as both Mike Cameron and Milton Bradley were out of the starting lineup. For Cameron it was a scheduled day off while Bradley had what Black called "aches and pains." ... Class A Lake Elsinore had its 13-game win streak end on Tuesday with a 12-7 loss to Bakersfield. ... The Padres announced on Wednesday that right-handed pitcher Aaron Rakers has cleared waivers. Rakers is 2-3 with a 5.92 ERA with Portland this season.
On deck: The Padres will begin a four-game series in Houston on Thursday at 5:05 p.m. PT. David Wells (5-6, 4.57) gets the start for San Diego. Houston will counter with Wandy Rodriguez (6-9, 4.46).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.