Notes: No timetable for Bradley's return
Veteran outfielder will leave void in middle of Padres lineup
DENVER -- The Padres push toward their third consecutive postseason bid officially hit a snag on Saturday when it was discovered that outfielder Milton Bradley strained his right oblique on Friday at Coors Field.
San Diego manager Bud Black confirmed the injury prior to Saturday's game against the Rockies, though he has "no timetable," for when Bradley will return to the team's starting lineup.
"[It's] when he's ready," Black said. "I would say doubtful for tomorrow [Sunday]. After that, we'll just go day-to-day."
Bradley injured his right side during a seventh-inning at-bat when he fouled off a pitch in a 10-4 loss to the Rockies. The bat sailed from Bradley's hit on the pitch and he clutched his right side before leaving the game.
The right oblique is different from the injury Bradley suffered to his left oblique while he was still with the Oakland A's in June. That injury nearly led to his trade to Kansas City, though after a failed physical, the Padres traded for him on June 29.
Bradley, who is hitting .321 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 39 games with the Padres, will miss at the very least two games and possibly more. The Padres conclude a three-game series with Colorado on Sunday and are off on Monday before opening an important three-game series in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
This will be the second time Bradley has missed a series of the games for the Padres. He missed 15 starts in August with a strained hamstring. The Padres were just 8-7 games he did not start and 10-6 in games he started since he returned to full-time duty on Aug. 21.
In the meantime, the Padres have several options they can use in left field. On Saturday, it was veteran Brady Clark. It was Clark's first start since June 7 when he was still with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Scott Hairston, who was reinstated from the disabled list on Saturday for, oddly enough, a strained oblique muscle, is another option, as are Terrmel Sledge and Rob Mackowiak.
"It's tough for me to gauge," Black said, reiterating that he doesn't know, and nor does anyone, for that matter, when Bradley will return. "You just don't know how bad it is. Our fingers are crossed that it's mild."
Bradley wasn't available for comment before Saturday as he was receiving treatment on his oblique by the team's medical staff.
The Padres certainly have some experience with strained oblique muscles this season as Hairston missed a month with his oblique injury. Pitcher Chris Young missed two starts but then experienced tightness in his lower back, a result of overcompensating for his oblique stain. Last season, Mike Cameron missed 17 games with an oblique injury.
Without Bradley in the lineup, Cameron shifts from No. 2 to No. 3 with Clark in the No. 2 spot. The rest of the lineup remains unchanged from the one that Black's used in recent weeks since Bradley's return.
Remember him? Hairston was reinstated from the disabled list prior to the game on Saturday, as his strained left oblique muscle has responded well enough to the three days of batting practice he's taken this week.
Hairston wasn't in the starting lineup, but Black said he was available to pinch-hit or run the bases in a pinch as well. For Hairston, he was just happy to be eligible to play again.
Hairston last appeared in a game on Aug. 9 in St. Louis when he injured his oblique on a swing that resulted in a single. He missed the next 26 games.
"It's kind of a tough injury to overcome. A lot of the guys I talked to told me not to rush it," Hairston said. "It's hard to watch games. I just tell myself not to get too excited and listen to my body. It kind of lingers."
Hairston, obtained from Arizona in June, was hitting .400 in his first 11 games with the Padres with three home runs and seven RBIs at the time of his injury.
Keeping it steady: The Padres entered Saturday's game against Colorado on a three-game losing streak, which is one shy of their season-longest streak of four losses (June 6-12).
If anything, the Padres have been able to avoid long losing skids this season. They have also been unable to win more than five consecutive games more than once. And, oddly enough, that streak (June 2-7) happened right before the four-game skid.
"I think every team has stretch of ups and down. I think the strength of our team is we haven't had a deep valley," Black said. "On the other hand, we haven't had a real high either."
Friar notes: Both Double-A San Antonio and Class A Lake Elsinore advanced on Friday in their respective playoffs. San Antonio defeated Frisco, 5-0, to complete a three-game sweep in the Texas League playoffs. The Missions play host to Springfield in the championship series beginning on Tuesday. Lake Elsinore knocked off Inland Empire, 8-2, on Friday to advance to the South Division championship series against Lancaster starting Saturday. ... Adrian Gonzalez has hit safely in 10 consecutive games and has 12 RBIs in that stretch. ... Marcus Giles (knee) will be reinstated off the disabled list on Sunday.
On deck: The Padres conclude their series against the Rockies at 12:05 p.m. PT on Sunday as Young (9-6, 2.63) takes the mound for San Diego. The Rockies will counter with Josh Fogg (8-9, 5.01).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.