SEATTLE -- Outfielder Donavan Tate, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, will begin his professional career next month when the short-season Eugene Emeralds begin Northwest League play.
Randy Smith, the Padres director of player development, said Tate has played in games in extended Spring Training in Arizona every day for the past week.
"He's getting better," Smith said. "He's starting to swing the bat and get his timing down. He's making progress there. You can see all the tools and athleticism."
Tate's professional debut has been delayed for a myriad of medical maladies, including a sports hernia, a broken jaw in an ATV accident, a sprained shoulder and a concussion after he was hit by a pitch in extended Spring Training.
The Padres had originally thought Tate would start his career with Class A Fort Wayne, but the concussion set him back.
There will be a week off next month, when extended Spring Training ends before the start of a mini-camp, to get players ready for short-season Eugene. Eugene opens its season on June 18.
Tate agreed to a club-record $6.25 million signing bonus a year ago.
Garland knows all about foul balls
SEATTLE -- When New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes was dinged for 41 foul balls against the Mets on Saturday, it marked the most foul balls a pitcher has had to endure since Padres pitcher Jon Garland allowed 42 in a start in 2005 while with the White Sox.
On Sept. 16 of that season, Garland, who would go on to win a career-high 18 games for the White Sox, allowed 42 foul balls in an outing where he tallied 123 pitches in a no-decision against the Twins.
Garland didn't offer many thoughts on that particular game when pressed for his thoughts on it Sunday -- "I'm sure it was talked about then," he said -- but noted that allowing so many foul balls can be unnerving for a pitcher.
"I don't know if it gets under your skin or not, but it does get frustrating," Garland said. "To some degree, there's nothing you can do about it. It's hard to get mad. But it costs you innings and time."
Garland allowed one run over eight innings that day, and didn't factor in a game where the White Sox won, 2-1. Who knows? If a few of those foul balls had become quicker outs, he might have stuck around to win a 19th game that season.
Not that Garland lost any sleep over it.
"It's not easy to win a big league game," Garland said. "That's one example right there."
Padres make roster change, call up Durango
SEATTLE -- Now that Interleague Play is gone for 2 1/2 weeks, the Padres decided to add another position player and drop a pitcher from their 25-man roster.
On Monday, the Padres will officially add outfielder Luis Durango to the roster and send reliever Luis Perdomo to Triple-A Portland.
Durango will join the team in San Diego on Tuesday for the start of a series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Padres are off on Monday.
Perdomo was recalled from Portland before Saturday's game against the Mariners, so the team could have a fresh arm for a taxed bullpen.
Perdomo didn't appear in either of the two games he was available to pitch in.
Durango, considered one of the fastest players in the organization, is hitting .305 for the Beavers in his first 40 games this season. Durango already has 17 stolen bases in 2010, though he's been caught 10 times.
Durango played briefly with the Padres at the end of last season, getting six hits over 11 at-bats with two stolen bases.
The Padres currently have two outfielders -- Scott Hairston and Kyle Blanks -- on the 15-day disabled list. Durango will give them depth and someone to pinch-run as well.
Black sticking up for Eckstein
SEATTLE -- Forgive Padres manager Bud Black if he gets a little fired up when the topic of conversation turns to veteran second baseman David Eckstein and those who continue to nitpick his statistical shortcomings.
"This guy plays a very good game of baseball every night," Black said.
Eckstein had two hits on Saturday to raise his average to .307. He leads the team with 15 multi-hit games, including five in his last six games. Eckstein has hit safely in 18 of his last 24 games dating back to April 25 at Cincinnati.
Since that game, Eckstein has a .413 on-base percentage and ranks second in the National League in hits (34) in that span.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.