SAN DIEGO -- Padres right-hander Mat Latos threw his first bullpen session on Sunday since going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. Latos threw between 40 and 50 pitches.

It's the first time Latos has been on a mound since he earned his 10th victory on July 8 in Washington. A day later, he suffered the oblique injury trying to suppress a sneeze while the team was in Denver.

"We hope to get him a good workout, get him confident with his stuff and also with good intensity," Padres manager Bud Black said, "as he nears his impending return to the rotation."

Latos is expected to be activated from the disabled list in time for a start on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Hairston a nice fit in leadoff role

SAN DIEGO -- Have the Padres finally found their answer at the top of the order in Jerry Hairston Jr.?

Heading into Sunday's game against the D-backs, Hairston has clearly shown the most production hitting leadoff. He led off the Padres' 6-4 win with a single and singled again in the third, scoring on Adrian Gonzalez's hit.

Hairston, who started at second base on Sunday, is hitting .244 with three home runs and 17 of his 35 RBIs this season in the top spot.

The .244 average batting leadoff might not be substantial, but consider that the Padres entered Sunday last in the Major Leagues in leadoff average (.207) and 28th in on-base percentage (.285).

"Statistically, at that spot, it isn't what we thought it would be," Padres manager Bud Black said.

The Padres have used seven different players -- Hairston, his brother Scott, Tony Gwynn, Luis Durango, David Eckstein, Everth Cabrera and Will Venable -- in the leadoff spot in 2010.

Hairston has seven hits in his past 17 at-bats over four games in the leadoff spot with one home run and four walks.

Gonzalez involved in interference call

SAN DIEGO -- Adrian Gonzalez knocked in his 60th run of the season with a single on Sunday and then found himself in a quandary on the bases.

Gonzalez's RBI single to left field in the third inning evened the score, 2-2, as the Padres beat the D-backs, 6-4, at PETCO Park.

Gonzalez was then caught in a rundown between first and second base. He was tagged out by first baseman Adam LaRoche, though not before attempting to grab LaRoche's jersey, hoping interference would be called and he would be awarded second base.

In short, the three-time All-Star tried to get away with a fast one.

Gonzalez even went as far to point at LaRoche, with hopes of convincing the first-base umpire, C.B. Bucknor, that there was contact.

Instead, Bucknor waved Gonzalez out.

Another souvenir for closer Bell

SAN DIEGO -- Closer Heath Bell was scribbling the date and opponent on a ball inside the Padres' clubhouse early Sunday morning.

The ball was from the Padres' 8-5 victory over Arizona on Saturday, the last out from Bell's 25th save of the season. Hours later, he closed the door once again, finishing the Padres' 6-4 win over the D-backs.

Bell has kept each of the balls from his Major League saves -- two in 2007, a National League-leading 42 saves a year ago and now 26 this season.

He said that he plans to display them at his home some day.

As far as any historical significance to getting his 25th save -- baseball, after all, likes its milestones -- Bell shrugged.

"I've got 25, that's it," he said. "My goal is to get 53 saves."

Why 53 saves, Bell was asked.

"I don't know, for some reason my goal was 53," Bell said.

Little-used Stauffer finds way to thrive

SAN DIEGO -- Sometimes it's hard to believe, but reliever Tim Stauffer is still on the Padres active roster.

Even if he has only thrown seven pitches in more than two months.

Stauffer has made one appearance since May 9, though part of that had to do with the emergency appendectomy that landed him on the disabled list from May 1 to July 1, but also partly because the abundance of quality starts thrown by the Padres' rotation, which ranks second in the Majors with a 3.48 ERA.

As the long reliever in the bullpen, Stauffer has mostly been the odd man out.

"It's usually a good sign, not getting used for those long innings," said Stauffer, who has a 0.37 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. "Everybody's been throwing great, so it's probably a good problem to have. It's a long season, and hopefully it all averages out in the end here. But I'm definitely itching to get back out there again."

Despite the extended time away from game action, Stauffer didn't appear to show any signs of rust in his only appearance since coming off the DL on July 9 in Colorado. He tossed a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts. All of his pitches were strikes.

"[I] just try to stay sharp," Stauffer said. "It's hard to emulate being in a game, but you just try to get your work in. As long as everything feels healthy and strong, you can make your pitches when you need to."

Stauffer's role could become even more valuable in the second half. With the Padres trying to limit Mat Latos' innings, Stauffer could be available for a spot start down the road, though manager Bud Black likes having a true long reliever in the bullpen.

Stauffer already filled in for starter Kevin Correia in May when Correia was placed on the bereavement list after his brother passed away. Stauffer tossed five shutout innings in Houston in May.

"I feel like I can do a number of different things out there, whether it's short innings or long innings," Stauffer said. "Whatever they ask of me wouldn't be a problem."