Health of Hairston, Blanks improving
Padres outfielders take batting practice on Tuesday
SAN DIEGO -- Outfielders Scott Hairston and Kyle Blanks, who are both on the disabled list, took early batting practice before the start of Tuesday's game against the Cardinals at PETCO Park.
Hairston (strained left hamstring) and Blanks (strained right elbow) each hit and reported no residual issues, though Blanks did say he's not where he needs to be.
Hairston was to test his hamstring by running before the game.
As for Blanks, this was the first time he's hit since going on the 15-day disabled list May 20 (retroactive to May 18). He hasn't been cleared to start playing catch yet.
"It feels like I need to let it [swing] go," Blanks said. "Subconsciously, I'm holding back. I really need to let it go."
Hairston was placed on the DL on May 17 (retroactive to May 16).
"They're progressing," manager Bud Black said. "This was the first step, getting them on the field."
Black said it hasn't been determined if one of or both players will need a Minor League rehabilitation stint before returning to the Padres active roster.
Durango brings speed to Padres' lineup
SAN DIEGO -- If you've ever watched Padres outfielder Luis Durango play before, it's not terribly difficult to determine what his skill-set is.
"His game is based on speed, both offensively and defensively," manager Bud Black said.
Durango was officially added to the roster before Tuesday's game against the Cardinals at PETCO Park. Black said after Sunday's game in Seattle that Durango would be recalled and reliever Luis Perdomo would be optioned to Triple-A Portland.
That move became official on Tuesday. Perdomo, who was recalled from Portland on Saturday, didn't appear in a game.
Durango, 24, was hitting .305 with 18 stolen bases and a .384 on-base percentage for Portland. Durango is a career .316 hitter in the Minor Leagues and has 140 stolen bases in 497 games.
Durango had some success in a small sample-size late last season with the Padres, getting six hits in 11 at-bats with two steals.
Black hinted that Durango could be in the starting lineup, and possibly hitting leadoff, in Wednesday's game against the Cardinals.
Black lauded Durango's defensive improvement in the last year, his routes, breaks and everything else required of him.
"He's coming on as a player," Black said. "Our Minor League people are excited about him."
Randy Smith, the Padres' director of player development, watched Durango earlier this month in Portland and was impressed with his all-around play.
"He is swinging the bat well," Smith said. "He's an offensive catalyst and makes things happen and changes the way the pitcher and entire defense approach the game."
Durango has been caught stealing 10 times this season. That's been an issue with him climbing the Minor League system, but it's nothing the Padres are too concerned about right now.
"He's improving on his jumps and leads as a baserunner but still a work in progress," Smith said. "He has improved every year with the baserunning, and I would expect the same this year.
"He has a tremendous knack for eventually figuring things out."
Molina will challenge Padres on basepaths
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have a Major League-best 52 stolen bases, though they'll get a test during this three-game series with Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
Molina ranks second in the National League with his 11 runners caught stealing. He trails only Miguel Olivo of the Rockies (15). Seven baserunners have been successful against Molina.
"He's maybe the best thrower in the game," Padres manager Bud Black said. " ... Their pitchers do a great job, too [with holding baserunners]."
So far in 2010, 11 Padres have stolen at least one base. Will Venable leads the way with 12 steals.
Despite leading the Majors Leagues in steals entering Tuesday, the Padres have just two individual players ranked in the top 20 in baseball (Venable and Chase Headley with nine steals).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.