Given free reign to run, Venable excelling
Padres outfielder one of most efficient base-stealers in league
MILWAUKEE -- While Padres outfielder Will Venable doesn't rank in the top five in the National League in stolen bases, he rates very highly as one of the most efficient base-stealers in the league.
Heading into Sunday's game against the Brewers at Miller Park, Venable ranked third in the league with a stolen base success rate of 85.7 percent. He trailed Shane Victorino of the Phillies (88.5 percent) and Drew Stubbs of the Reds (87 percent).
For Venable, who has stolen seven of his team-high 24 bases this month, stealing bases isn't purely a result of unabashed speed. There's a lot more to it than that, said manager Bud Black.
"He gets good, aggressive leads and his initial break is outstanding," Black said. "And, of course, the foot speed is there."
Venable isn't the only member of the Padres who has been efficient on the bases. Chase Headley has 16 steals and has only been caught three times. He ranks fourth in the NL with an 84.2 percent success rate.
The Padres have pushed an aggressive edict on the bases since Jed Hoyer took over as general manager in late October. They implemented the plan in Spring Training -- with nearly everyone being given the green light to run.
"All the good ones are fearless," Black said. "They don't mind the negative results."
Torrealba shaken, not stirred after foul balls
MILWAUKEE -- Padres catcher Yorvit Torrealba was feeling much better Sunday after he departed Saturday's game as a precaution after taking two foul balls of his protective mask in the fifth inning.
"It happens, but the first one bothered me more than usual," Torrealba said. "That first one got me pretty good."
Torrealba was noticeably shaken after Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee fouled a ball off the top of Torrealba's mask. Manager Bud Black paid a visit to him at the plate.
"He took a pretty strong blow to the face," Black said. "It buckled him."
Torrealba was hit in the mask by another foul ball later in the inning. He was replaced by Nick Hundley defensively in the sixth inning.
Torrealba, who by the end of the game said he was feeling a lot better, said he was dizzy for a moment after the McGehee foul ball and initially had trouble reading the mammoth scoreboard beyond center field.
"I don't know how to explain it, you get dizzy for a second or two," Torrealba said. "It's like someone punched you as hard as they could on top of the forehead -- like there's all this pressure on the forehead."
Hundley got the start behind the plate Sunday, though that likely would have happened anyway since it was a day game after a night game.
Padres give Latos extra rest between starts
MILWAUKEE -- The Padres decided to give 22-year-old starting pitcher Mat Latos two additional days off next week as they continue to watch his workload and his innings count.
The Padres are off on Monday, which would have given Latos an extra day of rest, as he would have started on Wednesday against the D-backs. He will now start the first game of a three-game series Friday against the Phillies at PETCO Park.
"It's an opportunity with the off-day to get him a few days more of rest," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We mentioned you might see this in the second half. He's been going at it hard the last number of starts."
Latos, who stands at 142 2/3 innings pitched, went 16 days between starts last month when he landed on the disabled list after trying to suppress a sneeze before the All-Star break.
The Padres have said they would like to keep Latos between 150-180 innings, though the number will, obviously, be a lot closer to 180 innings and perhaps even more -- especially if San Diego qualifies for the postseason.
"He's doing fine, his arm feels good," Black said.
Stairs takes pride in pinch-hitting record
MILWAUKEE -- He might have been joking, but Padres veteran Matt Stairs said Sunday that his historic home run ball from Saturday will likely end up displayed in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in Ontario before it does in Cooperstown.
Stairs, a native Canadian, set the Major League record for career pinch-hit home runs on Saturday when he hit his 21st in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers. That home run allowed Stairs to pass Cliff Johnson, who previously held the record.
"I take a lot of pride in pinch-hitting and I've struggled at it this year," Stairs said. "I'm proud and honored to have the pinch-hit home run record. But I'm not going to sit here and smoke a stogie over it."
Stairs, who wasn't sure he was going to play this season until the Padres approached him about doing so, is glad he decided to put off retirement for at least one more season.
"The season has gone perfect -- it's a bonus breaking a record and being in first place," Stairs said.
The Padres were able to retrieve the ball when it bounced back on the field. But the ball was nearly lost against when Brewers outfielder Chris Dickerson prepared to throw it in the outfield seats.
Several members of the Padres in the bullpen stopped him before he could.
"He couldn't understand why we wanted it," said Padres closer Heath Bell. "He said, '[Stairs] has three home runs.'"
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.