SEATTLE -- Two months removed from surgery on his left shoulder, Padres reliever Joe Thatcher has progressed to the point that he'll throw his first bullpen session on Monday when the team heads to San Francisco for a series against the Giants.
"It will be a good first step," Thatcher said.
There have actually been quite a few "first steps" for the left-hander since having surgery to shave down his frayed labrum and rotator cuff and to remove the bursa sac in his left shoulder.
Thatcher played catch on June 12 for the first time since surgery and has progressed since then, throwing on flat ground and then throwing on flat ground with intensity.
On Wednesday at PETCO Park, Thatcher increased the intensity of his throwing program, as he threw 25 pitches where "I kind of let some of them go pretty good."
"It's felt good ... there's been no discomfort," he said.
Thatcher was sidelined most of Spring Training because of soreness in his left shoulder and then started the season on the 60-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22.
A year ago, Thatcher was one of the top left-handed specialists in the National League, posting a 1.29 ERA in 65 games.
Hundley back in lineup after missing four games
SEATTLE -- Catcher Nick Hundley was back in the Padres' starting lineup Friday after he missed four consecutive games with an irritated tendon in his right elbow.
Hundley said he first felt soreness in the elbow while catching against the Braves on June 25. He initially hoped the pain would subside.
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When it didn't, he became worried.
"About the fifth inning, I started to get nervous," Hundley said. "I'd never had any elbow problems in my life."
Hundley had an MRI on the elbow that showed no structural damage. He did, however, discover that there was fluid buildup in the elbow. He also had a cortisone shot.
"On Monday, it felt terrible. On Tuesday, it started feeling good. And by Wednesday, I was able to hit and do everything," said Hundley, who got an extra day to recover Thursday when the Padres had an off-day to travel to Seattle.
All told, Hundley has missed 35 of the Padres' first 82 games this season -- 31 games after he landed on the disabled list with a strained right oblique on May 5.
Since returning from the disabled list on June 8, Hundley is hitting .159 with two RBIs and 19 strikeouts in 44 at-bats.
"It's been frustrating," Hundley said. "I came into this season with a good idea of what I wanted to do. Then I had the good start (.274 in first 84 at-bats). But no one ever says it's going to be easy. Battling through hardships is what the game is about."
The Padres are carrying three catchers, including Rob Johnson and Kyle Phillips, which came in handy earlier this week when Hundley was sidelined.
Harang tests injured foot with running drills
SEATTLE -- It's not uncommon to see a Padres pitcher keeping his legs in shape by running in the outfield in the hours before a game, though Aaron Harang's running session Friday was anything but a common practice.
Harang, on the disabled list since June 10 with a right foot contusion, was able to test his foot by running, cutting and doing a series of drills in the outfield at Safeco Field.
"It was jogging and I did some shuffles and cuts off it," Harang said. "It was good to see how it reacts to what I did."
Harang, who has been wearing a walk boot to protect the foot, has been fitted with cleats that feature custom orthotics. He's also been able to throw in the bullpen to keep his right arm in shape.
On two occasions, Harang has thrown 100 pitches in what was similar to a simulated game setting.
"Everything is going good," he said. "I'll keep doing the same things I'm doing now ... until I can go on a rehab assignment," Harang said.
San Diego manager Bud Black thought Harang's workout Friday was a significant sign of progress.
"That was a major step," Black said. "He's really turned the corner."
Harang, who was 7-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 13 starts before the injury, will likely need one or two Minor League appearances before the team is ready to activate him from the 15-day disabled list, likely sometime after the All-Star break.