SAN DIEGO -- Injured Padres catcher Nick Hundley was excited when he said it."I'm going to go out on a rehab assignment on Saturday, so go play and get ready to roll," Hundley said. Of course, that's assuming Hundley makes it through the scheduled events he has set up. Hundley took batting practice on Wednesday and felt as good as ever. He felt a pinch in his injured right oblique during previous attempts. On Friday, Hundley will work on his throwing. "I feel really good," Hundley said. "I'm excited to get back out onto the field and help these guys out and get ready to compete again." When Hundley went down with his injury, he was leading the team with a .263 batting average, and backups Rob Johnson and Kyle Phillips have struggled to replace that offensive production. Other than that, his gap has been filled nicely, and that doesn't surprise Padres manager Bud Black. He liked what the organization had at catcher since Spring Training. But it won't be long before the Padres have their Opening Day starter back behind the plate. "Nick is doing better," Black said. "He hit on the field [Wednesday]. He's going to go through a number of drills [Friday] on the field. He's going to hit again, he's going to throw bases and work on his defensive work. He's getting closer."
Phillips' first homer special to entire family
SAN DIEGO -- When Kyle Phillips' first career home run cleared the right-field wall in the Padres' 3-2 victory against the Braves on Monday, it wasn't just the 25,832 at Atlanta's Turner Field who were watching.Phillips' father was watching from San Diego, and shortly thereafter, Phillips dedicated his first big league blast to the man who has been watching him since he was a child. "Baseball's obviously a big part of [my father's influence], being around a lot of times and doing a lot of things for me, not only playing catch, but going outside and going out of his way to make things really happen for me," Phillips said. "I had a chance to get to talk to him after the game, and he was pretty emotional. Obviously it was a big moment for him." And then on Wednesday, Phillips hit his second career homer. "You dream as a little kid to hit a home run in the Majors, and obviously when I got here it was probably the last thing on my mind," Phillips said. But once it finally happened, Phillips was able to reflect on all the little things and the memories that led up to that moment. Chances are his father's thoughts went there, too. "My brother played pro baseball, too, and had a chance to homer in the big leagues as well, so it was a big moment for him and the family," Phillips said. The home runs weren't just a sentimental boost, though. Phillips' first home run came in the 10th inning and provided the Padres with the go-ahead run to beat Atlanta. Padres manager Bud Black said he and his staff liked the team's catcher situation during Spring Training, and Phillips has done his part to fill in for injured starter Nick Hundley. "Kyle's done a good job with pitch selection and handling the pitching staff," Black said. "He threw a couple of runners out on this trip, big ones that were much needed. He's held his own ... and the big run the other night in Atlanta in extra innings was a huge lift for us."
Class A Lake Elsinore manager resigns
SAN DIEGO -- Lake Elsinore Storm manager Carlos Lezcano resigned Thursday after five years with the the team. Hitting coach Phil Plantier has been named the interim manager of the Padres' Class A affiliate.Lezcano, who has been a Minor League manager for 19 years, prepared the club for this possibility. "Carlos decided to take care of personal matters, family issues, and we respect that," Smith said Lezcano, the 2010 California League Manager of the Year, led the Storm to four straight playoff appearances, including a run to the finals in 2007. With 23 victories this season, Lezcano is 43 wins shy of 1,000 in his career. Lezcano played in the Minor Leagues systems of the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals before he moved over to the coaching side of the game. "Carlos is a very passionate baseball guy," Smith said. "Passionate with the kids, and he did a good job in the five years he was with us."did a good job in the five years he was with us."
Headley's steady approach paying off
SAN DIEGO -- Chase Headley entered Thursday's game with an 11-game hitting streak, the longest of his career. But the Padres' third baseman says his recent success isn't a byproduct of anything he's done."I actually felt like I was swinging the bat pretty well, even when things weren't going well," Headley said. "Lately, I've had things go my way a little bit." So, if anything, what does he think jump-started him? "I think as the team starts to get going, you get a few guys hot," Headley said. "It's a lot easier to hit when you have three, four, five guys that are hitting well than when you have one guy trying to carry the load. I feel like we're swinging the bats better as a whole." Although the Padres have won five of their last seven games, few players have been hitting at Headley's pace. During his hitting streak -- the fourth-longest active streak in the Majors -- Headley has quietly batted .341 (14-for-41). "You feel that confidence when things are going well," Headley said, "but I try to stay basically the same, whether I'm going good or bad, with my drills and my routines. "If there's something specific I feel like I need to work on, I'll go do that. But for the most part, it's just staying with the routine, trusting the work that you do and hopefully it will pay off for you."
Hoffpauir comes off DL at Triple-A
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres reinstated infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir from the 60-day disabled list and outrighted him to Triple-A Tucson on Thursday.Hoffpauir was put on the DL with an injured quadriceps that he was battling since Spring Training. Hoffpauir has played in 15 games with Triple-A Tucson this season and is batting .298 (14-for-47) with 13 runs and a .433 on-base percentage.
Mark Thompson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.