ATLANTA -- When Padres pitcher Jon Garland starts Wednesday against the Braves, he'll try to emerge from the first inning unscathed and unscored upon.
That hasn't been easy this season for Garland.
Garland has a 5.21 ERA in the first inning of his starts and opponents are hitting .337 against him.
"I guess it goes back to that old statement, 'If you're going to get a starting pitcher, you better get to him early,'" Garland said.
Opposing batters are hitting .308 the first time through the lineup against Garland, .244 the second time and .195 the third time through the lineup.
"I don't know what it is. I don't know if they just have a good plan or that they think I'm trying to attack the strike zone early to keep my pitch count down," Garland said.
In the first three innings of starts, Garland has a 5.37 ERA. In innings four and beyond, that ERA is 1.56.
Eckstein leaves game with calf strain
ATLANTA -- Padres second baseman David Eckstein left Tuesday's game with a right calf strain after a play at the plate in the first inning.
Eckstein was trying to score from second base on a Nick Hundley single with two outs, but was thrown out by center fielder Melky Cabrera.
Eckstein got up and walked back to the dugout with a limp. He appeared defensively at second base in the bottom of the first inning, but Everth Cabrera pinch-hit for him in the second inning.
Eckstein missed seven consecutive starts before the All-Star break with a similar strain.
Eckstein said that he first felt tightness in his calf against the Astros on July 3, when he legged out an infield single in the first inning.
Cabrera replaced Eckstein in the lineup and at shortstop, with Jerry Hairston Jr. sliding over to second base.
Latos slated to start, barring setbacks
ATLANTA -- It's official: Padres pitcher Mat Latos will be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list in time for a start Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
There's only one small catch.
San Diego manager Bud Black said that as long as Latos comes out of his bullpen session Wednesday all right, he'll make his first start since July 8 when he faces the Pirates on Saturday at PNC Park.
"We're hoping he's well enough to make that start Saturday," Black said.
On Sunday, Latos threw his first bullpen session since going on the DL with a strained left oblique July 16 (retroactive to July 9), an injury he suffered attempting to suppress a sneeze just before the All-Star break.
Latos threw between 40-50 pitches in Sunday's bullpen session and will likely throw more and with greater intensity Wednesday.
"It will be a solid bullpen," Black said.
Prospect Cumberland out six to eight weeks
ATLANTA -- Padres shortstop prospect Drew Cumberland will miss six to eight weeks with a severe laceration of his left knee.
Cumberland suffered the injury Thursday with Double-A San Antonio after sliding into a cement wall trying to make a catch in foul territory.
Randy Smith, the Padres director of player development, said that because of the location and severity of the laceration, the organization will take its time with Cumberland.
"Pain management and getting the swelling out is the No. 1 priority at this time," Smith said.
Cumberland was in the midst of having a breakout season. The 21-year-old hit .365 with a .404 on-base percentage in 60 games for Class A Lake Elsinore before being promoted to San Antonio.
Cumberland was hitting .278 in his first 15 games with the Missions and participated in the Futures Game in Anaheim on July 11 before the injury.
Between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio, Cumberland -- the 46th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft -- is hitting .350 with a .385 on-base percentage, seven home runs, 41 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.
Veteran Pena signs Minor League deal
ATLANTA -- The Padres made a move Monday to add depth to their farm system when they signed outfielder Wily Mo Pena to a Minor League contract.
Pena, 28, has a career .254 batting average and 77 home runs over seven seasons with three different Major League teams (Reds, Red Sox and Nationals).
Pena had been playing for Bridgeport of the Atlantic League where he was hitting .310 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 155 at-bats.
"We've been keeping tabs on him for awhile," said Randy Smith, the Padres director of player development. "He's in good shape and still has power and can throw."
Pena last played in the Major Leagues in 2008, when he hit .205 in 206 at-bats with the Nationals. He spent part of last season with Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .276 in 41 games.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.