SAN DIEGO -- It was exactly 11 months ago when then-Orioles infielder Oscar Salazar was given the news: Baltimore had traded him in exchange for Padres sidearmer Cla Meredith. While he admitted there was a multitude of emotions at the time, Salazar -- speaking prior to Saturday's game -- could only remember one: excitement.
"I was happy for myself [and] happy for [the Orioles], because they made the right move," Salazar said.
"It was the best move for myself that they traded me to the National League. We've been playing good baseball lately [in San Diego]. It's kind of all for a reason. It's been good."
A utility man, Salazar has proved to be a productive bat off the bench for the Padres. He entered Saturday batting .288 (17-for-59) over his last 31 games and drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the 10th inning of the June 6 game at Philadelphia. Salazar blasted a pinch-hit, three-run homer in a June 12 game against Seattle and said he's grateful for the opportunity afforded to him in San Diego.
"I have more of a chance to play in the National League," Salazar said. "So, I just keep trying to do what I can do to help out and stay in the big leagues."
Salazar keeps in frequent contact with Orioles shortstop Cesar Izturis and is aware of the struggles his former club is dealing with. The O's entered Saturday with losses in 18 of their previous 21 games and were a Major League-worst 18-49.
"[Izturis] says they have to put everything together, they have to do all the right things at once," Salazar said. "He knows they need to play good baseball in their situation. And it's tough right now."
It's been equally tough for Salazar's trade counterpart, Meredith. The right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk following the May 28 game and has continued to struggle in the Minor Leagues. In his first four appearances with the Tides, Meredith has allowed seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings, giving way to a 17.18 ERA.
Hall inductee Harvey visits PETCO Park
SAN DIEGO -- Former Major League umpire Doug Harvey, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 25, stopped by PETCO Park on Saturday.
Actually, Harvey's first stop was the umpires' room at the ballpark.
"I miss the game, but I miss the umpires more than anything," said Harvey, who retired in 1992. "We're in the brotherhood, a very unique brotherhood. That's important to me."
Harvey, who called 4,670 games during a 31-year career as a National League umpire, and former Major League manager Whitey Herzog were the Veterans Committee's choices for induction into the Hall of Fame.
In addition to Harvey's NL efforts, he worked six All-Star Games, five World Series and seven League Championship Series.
Harvey has ties to San Diego, having played baseball and football at San Diego State College (now San Diego State University). Harvey remained a San Diego resident during his umpiring career.
"The thing that stood out for me was he had a commanding presence. He was active in engaging both teams. He was an active, energetic umpire," Padres manager Bud Black said of Harvey.
"You could tell he was in charge of the game when he was behind the plate."
Seeing pitches helps Gonzalez win game
SAN DIEGO -- Though it ultimately resulted in a fielder's choice and an out at the plate, Tony Gwynn's pinch-hit at-bat in the ninth inning Friday may have indirectly helped lift the Padres to their 3-2 walk-off victory over the Orioles at PETCO Park.
Gwynn's five-pitch at-bat with the score tied at 2 included three curveballs, which Adrian Gonzalez said simply solidified his approach when he stepped into the batter's box after Gwynn.
Gonzalez lined the first pitch he saw from Orioles closer David Hernandez to right field, which brought Aaron Cunningham home to score the winning run.
"My game plan was to look for the first fastball," Gonzalez said. "When I saw him throw a couple decent curveballs to Tony and a couple of the guys that hit in front of him, I was like, 'I don't want to get to the point where I get to that curveball. I want to be ready for the fastball.'"
Gwynn's at-bat was one of many that Gonzalez was able to draw from in that decisive ninth inning, as five of the six Padres that came to the plate before him saw at least three pitches. In all, Hernandez threw 23 pitches while San Diego rallied from a 2-1 deficit to earn its Major League-leading eighth walk-off win.
"I didn't think about it until [Gonzalez] mentioned it to me after the game," Gwynn said. "I'm just up there trying to get the job done; I'm not necessarily thinking about seeing a bunch of pitches. Guys were having good at-bats -- most of them were long at-bats -- and it allowed [Gonzalez] to kind of dissect what he wanted to do and how he wanted to attack."
Stauffer nearing end of rehab stint
SAN DIEGO -- Pitcher Tim Stauffer allowed two unearned runs in five innings Friday in a Minor League rehabilitation start with Triple-A Portland.
Stauffer, who has been on the disabled list since May 11 (retroactive to May 10) after an emergency appendectomy, will likely make one more start for Portland.
That start is scheduled for Wednesday against Fresno. The team could recall him at some point after that start.
Stauffer has made four appearances with Portland since starting his rehabilitation stint on June 4.
The Padres want Stauffer to build up his arm strength to the point where he can throw upwards of 80 pitches in a start, in case he's needed in long relief or as a starter.
Stauffer threw 68 pitches Friday, allowing three hits with one walk and no strikeouts.
San Diego manager Bud Black said Saturday that outfielder Kyle Blanks, who had an MRI on his strained right elbow Friday, could be out "upwards to three or four weeks." The results of the MRI showed some inflammation, meaning Blanks will stay in San Diego and receive treatment next week when the team is on the road. He won't be able to swing a bat for a while, Black said. Blanks has been on the disabled list since May 20 (retroactive to May 18). ... Black said Matt Stairs, battling multiple issues with his right knee, is "feeling better" and will make the trip to Tampa Bay on Monday for the start of a three-game series Tuesday. Black said the team is "holding out hope" that Stairs will be able to play, as the Padres will be afforded the chance to use the designated hitter in that series.