SAN DIEGO -- Padres rookie pitcher Cory Luebke is fine rolling with the punches on a club trying to earn a postseason berth.When the left-hander was first called up to the big league club in early September, it appeared he might step right into the rotation for the remainder of the stretch run. But after his third start in Colorado on Sept. 13, Luebke was reassigned to the bullpen because of Chris Young's return from a shoulder injury and Tim Stauffer's successful transition from long reliever to starter. Luebke had to wait a while to get that first appearance out of the Padres' bullpen -- 12 days, to be exact. It wasn't under the most ideal conditions, either, as he entered Sunday's game against the Reds in the eighth inning with no outs, runners on the corners and five runs already scored against Edward Mujica and Adam Russell. Luebke got out of the jam by allowing only one inherited runner to score because of his own throwing error to home plate and followed with a scoreless ninth. In all, he tossed two innings with no hits allowed, two walks and three strikeouts. "His stuff was good, a little erratic," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He would throw one pitch good, one bad. But he hadn't pitched in that situation. It was a good experience for him." Luebke said he didn't mind the long layoff in between appearances and that he's comfortable filling any role the team needs him to in the final week of the regular season. "I think it's whatever you make of it," Luebke said. "You're still throwing a ball over the plate. It's a little different not pitching live for a few weeks, but I think everybody up here has thrown enough innings to where once you get a batter or two out of the way, it's back to normal."
Sore back sidelines Venable
SAN DIEGO -- Padres outfielder Will Venable was held out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game on Tuesday with lower back stiffness.Venable, whose status is day-to-day, was a late scratch from Monday's contest against the Cubs at PETCO Park after he felt his back tighten up during the cool-down period following batting practice. "I was hopeful [to play] today, and it didn't come around as much as I thought it was going to," Venable said. "I knew getting in the lineup was going to be tough. I just spent some time trying to state my case with the trainers, but they're right in the sense that if I go back out there too early, it's going to run too high a risk of setting me back, and then I'm no good to anybody." Venable had a similar back injury in July that landed him on the disabled list for 13 games but said that this one is far less serious. He's been getting treatment on his back every day since the first injury but had not felt any abnormal discomfort until Monday. "If that [first injury] was an eight out of 10, this is a 4 1/2 or a five," Venable said. "It's just enough that I can't play, not so much that I'm going to have to be out for two weeks like last time." The absence of Venable is a big blow to the Padres' offense, as he has been the team's hottest hitter over the past two weeks. He's riding a nine-game hitting streak and batting .462 over his past 16 games. "Will has been an integral part of our club all year, especially with the way he's been swinging the bat lately," Padres manager Bud Black said. Matt Stairs made his second consecutive start in left field Tuesday, while Chris Denorfia got the nod in center. David Eckstein slid up to the leadoff hole, where Venable had batted in his last nine starts, for the second consecutive game.
Tejada open to returning in 2011
SAN DIEGO -- Padres shortstop Miguel Tejada said that he is amendable to returning to San Diego next season if the organization will have him.Tejada, who will be a free agent after the season, said that "it's nice here and it's a great organization, a great city to play in and I have great teammates. I've enjoyed my time in San Diego." Entering Tuesday's game against the Cubs, Tejada was hitting .277 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 53 games since he was traded to San Diego from the Orioles on July 29. Tejada signed a one-year deal worth $6 million before the season with the Orioles. It's highly unlikely the Padres will pay anywhere near that for a 36-year-old. But Tejada's presence in the clubhouse and value on the field has made him a big hit, especially with his manager, the coaching staff and teammates. But 2011, Tejada made clear Tuesday, is a topic of discussion for another day. "I'm not really thinking about that. I'm enjoying the moment, I'm happy where I'm at and just taking it one day at a time," Tejada said.
Corey Brock is a reporter and Gina Mizell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.