LOS ANGELES -- The Padres entered Wednesday tied for first in the Majors with 45 stolen bases, and it's not because of one speedster alone. Will Venable leads the team with 10 steals, but nine other Padres have swiped at least one bag.Omnipresent speed helps at a time when the Padres have reached five runs scored in a game just once since a 7-0 win over the Astros on May 7. It's a team-wide funk at the plate, manager Bud Black said. "We talked about that in Spring Training," Black said, "about a philosophy the Padres organization needs to have based on our park, based on our personnel, and based on our personnel moving forward: the guys that we have in the Minor Leagues, the guys that I think our scouting department and front office are going to look at in the Draft. So it's been implemented, and our guys have picked up on it pretty quickly. Speed has come back in vogue, both offensively and defensively."
Blanks has elbow strain
LOS ANGELES -- Padres manager Bud Black said outfielder Kyle Blanks' availability for the opener of a two-game road series with the Dodgers Wednesday night could be determined in-game.Blanks had an MRI on his right elbow earlier Wednesday that he said showed a strain in a tendon. Black said he had not been told the results when he spoke to the media before the game. The elbow discomfort flared up for Blanks during a pregame long toss on Tuesday in San Diego, and he wasn't entirely surprised. At points in his career, he's felt tightness when throwing, although it hasn't happened recently. But there were two things that separated this instance from others. For one, Blanks didn't think he was particularly overexerting himself. "I really honestly didn't feel like I was putting that much effort into it," Blanks said. "I definitely wasn't throwing 100 percent, I was just getting some air on it and throwing long." Two, whenever Blanks felt the tightness before, it never carried over to his at-bats. It did Tuesday, when Blanks stepped into the batting cage and felt tightness at full extension, making him a late scratch before a 7-6 loss to the Giants in 13 innings. "I was just throwing and the last couple throws I went to kind of straighten out my arm, felt a little tight, which I've had happen in the past," Blanks said. "Then I went to start hitting in the first round of BP I felt the same thing, which I have never had." Blanks, struggling with a .157 average, said he "would never want to take a break for this reason," but said some time off to heal could also help clear his head. "It could be a time to get an empty head going," Blanks said. "Take it for what it is, another experience to take away from the game and just learn from it." Called up to replace the injured Scott Hairston, Chris Denorfia is 3-for-6 in his first two games with the Padres and could see more playing time if Blanks is out. "What we saw out of spring from Deno is a guy that we feel comfortable with," Black said. "He can steal a base, play defense, things that we're looking for in players. He has a little power and a little experience, which we like."
Black keeping an eye on Thatcher
LOS ANGELES -- Left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher likely isn't available on Wednesday night against the Dodgers after he was removed from a 12-inning loss to the Giants Tuesday night because of discomfort in the lower left side of his back.Thatcher worked around a single and a hit batsmen in the 11th inning at PETCO Park, but he didn't feel right heading back out for the 12th. He got one out in the inning, and then was pulled for losing pitcher Cesar Ramos, a move Thatcher called "more of a precaution." Manager Bud Black didn't think Thatcher looked right and, with the game in extra innings, did not want to chance leaving him in. "That's not normal behavior on the mound, when a guy stretches and grimaces on the mound and then says, 'I'm fine,'" Black said. "Let's say he faces [the next batter, Juan Uribe], and Uribe hits a homer. I would've said, 'Why'd I leave Joe in?'" Thatcher has a 3.60 ERA and no decisions in five innings over nine appearances.
Padres have Interleague options at first
LOS ANGELES -- Adrian Gonzalez could see some time as a designated hitter when the Padres kick off Interleague Play on Friday night in Seattle, potentially leaving first base open for Oscar Salazar, Matt Stairs or Kyle Blanks, if Blanks' elbow strain has improved."We've played Stairs at first in Houston, the game that Gonzo's shoulder flared up," manager Bud Black said. "Stairs can play anywhere."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.