SAN DIEGO -- There's nothing wrong with catcher Michael Barrett's bat, and the Padres are hopeful the same holds true for his right elbow.

Barrett, who has been on the disabled list with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow since April 8, had three hits Wednesday for Triple-A Portland. He has five hits in seven at-bats in three games.

Barrett will be back in San Diego on Friday, though not to be activated. He won't even have any kind of complete checkup on his elbow, as the Padres have been content with the arm strength he has shown.

San Diego manager Bud Black was asked why the team wouldn't activate Barrett as soon as possible, like Friday when the Padres open a four-game series against the Reds.

"It's a little bit of conditioning," Black said. "He was out for 41 days. It's tough for him to catch nine innings. It would be tough for him to get activated and face big league pitching."

The plan for now is to have Barrett work out with the Padres on Thursday and drive to Class A Lake Elsinore for the first of what might only be two games with the Storm.

When Barrett is activated from the disabled list, it will likely end rookie Luke Carlin's stay with the team. Carlin has struggled offensively, hitting .167 in 18 at-bats, though Black and the coaching staff have raved about his defense.

There's no telling how playing time might be split between Barrett and Josh Bard, who took a .202 average into Wednesday's game.

"Bardo hasn't hit like we expected him to hit," Black said.