Notes: Wells vs. Moyer one for books
Matchup of veteran lefties is second oldest in history
SAN DIEGO -- While Saturday's meeting between 44-year-old pitchers David Wells and Jamie Moyer marked the second-oldest combined age of two starting pitchers in baseball history, Padres manager Bud Black didn't find it terribly unusual.
"There was a theory about 10 years ago that the modern-day player wouldn't play as long because they're making more money and they don't need to play," Black said. "I find that the guys are playing longer. Not because of the money, but because they like it."
Black might have a point.
On June 22, a Major League record six pitchers who were in their 40s got starts for their respective teams -- Detroit's Kenny Rogers (42), San Diego's Greg Maddux (41), the New York Mets' Tom Glavine (41), Houston's Woody Williams (40), Atlanta's John Smoltz (40) and Moyer (44).
A week later on June 27, that record might have been broken when New York Yankees' pitcher Roger Clemens (44) joined the 40-plus party. However, Rogers start that day was scrubbed due to rain.
"Because of the resources available to stay healthy and everything on the medical side, the wide range of resources to the players to keep playing keeps increasing," Black said. "You see guys more than ever playing into their late 30s and early 40s. I think it's great they're still performing."
Black said it's typical that pitchers like Moyer and Wells have had to evolve as time has gone by, meaning their velocity might not be the same as it once was. That said, Black said Wells looks very much like the same pitcher who broke into the Major Leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1987.
"I think most pitchers with the exception of maybe a handful of guys have, I wouldn't say totally reinvented themselves, but have had to make adjustments in their style to keep their level of performance to keep them Major League players," Black said. "I saw Jamie [Moyer] early [in his career] and Jamie threw the ball hard.
"Boomer is still in general the same kind of pitcher -- fastball, curveball, change. But here again, he's made some changes to his game."
For the record, the oldest combined of starting pitchers in the same game belongs to Phil Niekro (48 years, 68 days) of the Indians and Don Sutton (42 years, 67 days) from June 8, 1987.
Now batting eighth ... : Second baseman Marcus Giles was back in the starting lineup on Saturday against the Phillies, though for the first time this season, he was not anywhere to be found near the top of the order.
Giles -- who is hitting just .191 since May 7 -- was hitting eighth in the lineup against the Phillies, a spot where he figures to remain indefinitely.
"It's to take the pressure off Marcus," Black said. "He's been grinding somewhat the last month or so. The higher you hit him in the order, there's expectations that go with certain spots in the lineup. I think hitting down in the order will take some of the expectation off Marcus."
Giles, who took a .237 batting average into Saturday's game, hasn't hit eighth since 2004, and that was for only one game. You have to go back to 2003 to find a season where he's spent extensive time in that spot, and that was only 33 at-bats, where he had 10 hits for the Braves.
Black wouldn't go as far to say that Giles will see a completely different set of pitches in the eighth spot as opposed to hitting leadoff or second, where he has been this season, but there are differences.
"A lot of times, it's a very tough spot to hit in because you have the pitcher behind you," Black said. "In certain cases, depending on the situation, the pitcher might not give you anything to hit, so there's got to be some selectivity there."
Filling in: Black had plenty of praise for the job that Blum did while filling in at second base for Giles, and really, the job that he's done overall since the All-Star break.
Blum went a combined 6-for-10 in the three games he started at second base. He's hitting .500 (7-for-14) since the All-Star break.
Blum's biggest hit during that stretch came on July 18, when his RBI single in the eighth inning helped the Padres to a 5-4 victory over the Mets.
Overall, Blum is hitting .239 in 117 at-bats this season, which is certainly a far cry from where his average was on June 27 (.189).
"I think every player will tell you it's not easy to be a bench player and get infrequent at-bats and go out there and get it done all the time," Black said. "That's one of the hardest things to do in this game.
"He's been in that role for a number of different teams over his career, so mentally and physically he's ready whenever he's called upon. It's a great player to have."
Bocachica's future: Three days after he was designated for assignment, Hiram Bocachica cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to report to the Padres' Triple-A affiliate in Portland.
Bocachica, who can play all three outfield positions, was designated for assignment on Wednesday when outfielder Terrmel Sledge was activated from disabled list.
Bocachica was hitting .200 with two home runs in 63 at-bats with the Padres after being claimed after the Oakland A's designated him for assignment in May.
Black noted Wednesday that he hoped Bocachica would clear waivers because he has an element (speed) that the Padres simply don't have much of on their 25-man roster.
On deck: The Padres conclude their four-game series against the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday at PETCO Park. Jake Peavy (9-4, 2.30) will get the start for San Diego. Philadelphia will counter with J.D. Durbin (1-2, 9.00). The Padres open a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Monday.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.