SAN DIEGO -- Padres infielder Jerry Hairston Jr., who has been valuable for his ability to fill in at shortstop and elsewhere this season, has been diagnosed with a strained ligament in his right elbow.

Hairston said that he's had pain in his elbow for the past six weeks but has been able to play through it. Only in the last few days did the pain get to the point where it was very painful to throw.

Hairston has been told that he won't need surgery but that the ligament will need two to three weeks for a complete recovery.

Manager Bud Black said after the Padres' 3-2 loss to the Phillies on Friday that Hairston will be placed on the disabled list on Saturday with a corresponding move to be announced.

Hairston -- who has started 102 games this season among shortstop, second base, third base, left field and right field -- said the elbow doesn't hurt to hit. He served as a pinch-runner and scored the tying run in the ninth inning on Friday.

"It's progressively gotten worse ... I've tried to fight through it," Hairston said before Friday's game. "We'll just rest it and it will get better. They're debating on whether to keep me active or not."

Hairston is hitting .249 this season and has also tied his career high with 10 home runs. He has 50 RBIs, though his true value can be measured on defense, where he stepped in and replaced Everth Cabrera at shortstop during two disabled-list stints.

In addition to starting 53 games at shortstop, Hairston has made 42 starts at second base, many when David Eckstein missed 29 games in July and August with a right calf strain.

Hairston, who has also been battling shin splints in recent weeks, doesn't like the idea of coming out of the lineup.

"I'm one of those guys from the Cal Ripken school, and I played with Cal," Hairston said of his time with the Orioles at the twilight of Ripken's career. "The last six weeks have been tough."

The return of Eckstein from the disabled list and the addition of Miguel Tejada before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has allowed Black to use Hairston -- who signed a one-year deal as a free agent before the season -- to be used as the team originally intended, as a utility man.

The Padres could recall Cabrera, who was optioned to Triple-A Portland on Aug. 21 but could return with Hairston going to DL.

The Padres could reinstate infielder Oscar Salazar from the disabled list Saturday. Salazar was hitting .285 in seven games while on a Minor League rehabilitation stint with Class A Lake Elsinore.

Salazar has missed 27 consecutive games with a strained right Achilles tendon.

Stauffer provides Padres valuable relief

SAN DIEGO -- Though it came in an 11-5 defeat, the performance of Padres long reliever Tim Stauffer against the D-backs on Thursday cannot be overlooked.

Stauffer tossed 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday, the longest relief outing of his career and the longest for a Padres reliever since Josh Banks went six innings in May 2008. Stauffer allowed two earned runs on six hits and fanned six batters, tying the second-highest strikeout total of his career.

"Physically, it felt good getting out there, and it feels good today, too," Stauffer said. "[I was] trying to eat up some innings and [trying] to keep the pitch count down and stay in there."

Stauffer's niche as a long reliever hasn't been needed very much this season because of the success of the San Diego starting rotation, which ranks second in the National League with a 3.58 ERA, and the Padres' tendency to play in, and win, tight ballgames. He had made 22 relief appearances prior to Thursday's contest, with his longest outing being three innings on two occasions.

Stauffer's long outing allowed the Padres to give everyone else in the bullpen besides Joe Thatcher an additional day of rest.

In fact, late-innings relievers Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams and Heath Bell did not pitch in the series against the D-backs. So the trio should be fresh for this weekend's three-game set against the Phillies at PETCO Park.

"You never know when those types of games are going to occur," Padres manager Bud Black said. "To bail out the bullpen and not use anyone else ... every day we can save those guys is huge, especially this time of year. Tim did a great job."

Bell has been the recipient of the most down time, as he hasn't pitched in a game since Aug. 19 in Chicago. It's his longest break between outings this season, but the closer, who has converted 24 consecutive save opportunities, ensures he hasn't packed on any additional rust from skipping two consecutive three-game series.

"It's little tough for the simple fact that you don't have the game-time rhythm," Bell said. "But when you play catch you have to bring intensity, and every time you pick up a ball you have to have a purpose to behind it.

"I feel pretty good, pretty sharp."

Padres' Denorfia rests sore hamstring

SAN DIEGO -- Padres center fielder Chris Denorfia left Thursday's loss against Arizona after suffering a cramp in his right hamstring that looked far worse than it actually was -- especially after he needed to be helped from the field.

It turns out Denorfia had a cramp and nothing else. He said Friday that he was still sore, though it's "pretty standard if you've had a cramp."

Rookie Luis Durango was in the starting lineup in center field, though Denorfia said he was available to play.

"I was maybe going to start Luis anyway to get another left-hander in there against [Phillies pitcher Roy] Oswalt," Padres manager Bud Black said.

As for being helped off the field in the ninth inning, which made Denorfia's cramp look, at least to the untrained eye, far more serious than it was, he had a good excuse.

"I would have looked more ridiculous if I tried to walk on my own," he said.