Notes: Nothing wrong with Meredith
Events conspired to keep reliever sitting, not injury
SEATTLE -- It was four days into his nine-day stretch of inactivity when Padres relief pitcher Cla Meredith really started to get antsy -- though not nearly as much as friends and family back home in Virginia.
"You've got people back home hollering at you, wondering, 'What's going on? What did you do wrong? Are you hurt?'" Meredith said. "It was a little weird. That's the first time I experienced it."
No, Meredith wasn't hurt, nor was he being punished for anything he did wrong. What happened to keep the right-hander on the bench was a series of events, the biggest being strong performances by the Padres' starting pitchers.
That's a point San Diego manager Bud Black wanted to make clear after Meredith threw two scoreless innings during Saturday's 7-4 loss to Seattle, his first outing since May 9 in Atlanta.
"He'd been up and close a couple of times, but just the way the games had been ... it seems like for a lot of relievers, for a lot of clubs, it's feast or famine," Black said. "... But I think that nine-game stretch ... I'll go on record and say that'll never happen again. That's rare for a guy who's an integral part of our 'pen."
The starting pitchers generally have been working deeper into games, which has led Meredith -- who is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 games this season -- to plenty of pine time in the bullpen.
"The main reason is that our starters have been doing a heck of a job going deep in the ballgame," Meredith said. "Also, we have more than one arm down there in the bullpen that's pretty good."
Meredith was encouraged by his two-inning stint on Saturday. He struck out two and allowed two hits, but said his ball was moving much more so then in his last appearance on May 9, when he was charged with a blown save and a loss in a 3-2 defeat to the Braves.
"That's one thing I have to keep in mind. When I get geared up, my velocity might go up a bit and my ball might flatten out," Meredith said. "I've got to remember to stay back, stay nice and easy, and that ball will work for me.
"Velocity to me is pretty much out the window. The radar gun means nothing to me. Last night, I had some good action on it."
Praising Hampson: Had Padres reliever Justin Hampson not missed time during Spring Training with a sore elbow, he might well have worked himself onto the team's 25-man Opening Day roster.
As it stood, though, Hampson made it to San Diego anyway and has performed well out of the bullpen. On Saturday, the left-hander tossed two shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.29 in seven games.
"He's been great," Black said. "He's pitched extremely well. He's shown that he's a viable member of the pitching staff. He's shown, for us, to come in and be a strike thrower. His performance speaks for itself. He's pitched in all different types of games."
Hampson has walked just five batters in 14 innings and has allowed eight hits over that same stretch.
And unlike when he was a starting pitcher, Hampson said he likes being able to come into a game and immediately throw all of his pitches, instead of establishing pitches and patterns to hitters.
A bum knee: Brian Giles didn't start Sunday's game at Safeco Field, as Black thought it would be best to give his right fielder one day off to rest his right knee that has bothered him recently.
Black said Giles' knee issue wasn't brought about by a specific incident, but instead was something that's been nagging in recent weeks.
Giles actually gets two days to rest, as the Padres are off Monday before beginning a three-game series at PETCO Park on Tuesday against the Cubs.
"I think it's a good day for him," Black said. "It sort of jumped up on him the last week or so. We'll continue to monitor the knee and see what's best for Brian."
Jose Cruz Jr. got the start in right field for Giles, who has one hit in his last four games, a streak that's covered 16 at-bats.
Friar notes: A day after scoring 30 runs against Lancaster, Lake Elsinore -- the Padres' Class A team in the California League -- scored 12 runs on Saturday against the same team but lost, 14-12. Mike Baxter had four hits, including a home run, and knocked in three runs for the Storm. ... Pitcher Scott Cassidy made his first rehabilitation outing Saturday for Triple-A Portland, striking out all three batters he faced in one inning against Las Vegas. Cassidy, who had right knee surgery on April, is on a rehabilitation outing with Portland that will cover 30 days. ... The Padres Caravana begins its second season Monday with an appearance by pitcher Chris Young at the Padres team store in the Plaza Rio Mall in Tijuana at noon. Young will be available to sign autographs. ... With his first-inning stolen base Sunday, Mariners center fielder Ichiro Suzuki has six stolen bases in the three-game series. ... San Diego pitcher David wells turned 44 on Sunday. He shares the same birthday as equipment manager Spencer Dallin and video coordinator Mike Tompkins.
On deck: The Padres are off Monday, then open a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at PETCO Park against the Cubs. Jake Peavy (5-1, 1.64 ERA) gets the start for the Padres. The Cubs will counter with Rich Hill (4-3, 2.91).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.