Stairs makes his starting debut for Padres
Veteran was brought aboard for pinch-hitting duties this season
CINCINNATI -- On Friday, veteran Matt Stairs became the last position player on the 25-man roster to make a start for the Padres.
Stairs got the start in left field against Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo, a pitcher he was 2-for-4 against in his career. In Stairs' first at-bat he laced a two-run double to right field for his first runs batted in for San Diego.
Stairs, 42, went as far to joke in the clubhouse that it was his "Opening Day" and that he was going to run out to the first-base line when he was announced.
Stairs isn't a complete stranger to the field, even though he was signed to a Minor League deal during the offseason to pinch-hit and possibly be the designated hitter in Interleague games on the road.
Stairs played 15 games in the outfield last season for the Phillies and is an outfielder and first baseman by trade.
Still, he didn't play a single inning in the outfield in Spring Training. Not that he was too concerned about getting re-acclimated to the position.
"I'm excited to hit," said Stairs, who entered the game with eight at-bats over the first 15 games of the season. "I've played out there enough in my career to know that I feel very comfortable out there."
Before the game, Stairs talked about making his Major League debut at the old Riverfront Stadium against the Reds on May 29, 1992. Stairs appeared in that game as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Rob Dibble.
Two days later, Stairs got his first hit against Reds pitcher Jose Rijo.
Young encouraged by simulated session
CINCINNATI -- Padres pitcher Chris Young, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder, passed a significant test on Friday, even though Mother Nature threatened to make the day miserable for him.
Young threw what he estimated was around 75 pitches in a simulated bullpen session at Great American Ball Park before Friday's game. He got up and down four times so he could simulate pitching under normal game conditions.
Because the tarp was on the field, Young couldn't face live hitters and was restricted to the bullpen where he threw all of his pitches and felt good about his command. He also said there was no soreness in his shoulder.
"It was a game-speed bullpen with hitters standing in. ... I tried to treat it like it was a game," Young said. "I know my arm felt good. There was no pain. I got a great sweat going."
There's no clear plan for Young, although he's expected to throw another session in the bullpen in the coming days. Manager Bud Black said that a Minor League rehabilitation assignment could be coming.
Young said that he would prefer to make a rehabilitation start with Triple-A Portland in order to simulate something akin to a Major League environment.
"Triple-A gives a better feel for that," Young said, referring to a four-game series the Beavers play in Salt Lake City starting April 29 as a possible target day for a rehabilitation start.
Young threw six scoreless innings against Arizona on April 6 and complained of soreness in his shoulder the following day. He was later placed on the disabled list, retroactive to April 7.
Reliever Thatcher returns to Padres bullpen
CINCINNATI -- Considering he threw all of two innings in Spring Training, left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher said his time with Triple-A Portland earlier this month was more or less something of a second Spring Training.
But watching the Padres' hot start -- they took a 9-6 record and a six-game winning streak into Friday's game against the Reds -- from afar wasn't much fun.
"I feel like I'm ready to go out there and get guys out," Thatcher said Friday. "It's not a lot of fun being away. It looks like they [Padres] had a good first few weeks. I'm looking forward to helping the ballclub."
Thatcher was officially reinstated from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday. The Padres sent left-handed reliever Cesar Ramos to Triple-A Portland, where he'll go back into the starting rotation.
However, as manager Bud Black said, there's some in the organization who feel Ramos is better suited to be a reliever in the future.
Thatcher started the season on the DL with a strained left shoulder. While making six relief appearances during a rehab assignment in Triple-A, he had a 3.60 ERA in five innings and showed he could pitch on consecutive days.
Ramos gave up one run in 2 1/3 innings spanning six games this season.
"My arm feels good, there's no pain at all," Thatcher said. "I threw pretty well down there. My first time out, I wasn't real sharp but now I feel like I'm ready."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.