HOUSTON -- Manager Bud Black isn't one who is shy about changing his lineup, and on Thursday he unveiled one that had hot-hitting catcher Nick Hundley batting fifth for the first time this season.
Hundley, who entered Thursday's game against Houston hitting .406 with a .487 on-base percentage, has mostly hit eighth this season. He spent two games hitting sixth and one more hitting ninth.
Hundley already has 13 hits this month, one shy of what he had in April a year ago. And the Padres still have 16 games remaining this month, including Thursday's game.
"When a guy is swinging the bat well, you'd like to give him a few more opportunities," Black said.
Hudson embraces baserunning approach
HOUSTON -- Since the beginning of last season, the Padres have preached an aggressive approach to running the bases, such as taking bigger leads, aggressive turns around bases and, of course, stealing bases when prudent.
The Padres have found a willing pupil in second baseman Orlando Hudson, who is in his first season with the team. Hudson has five stolen bases in 11 games.
At the age of 33, Hudson is well on his way to obliterating his previous best of 10 stolen bases set in 2007 with the D-backs and again last season with the Twins.
"I think that Orlando has great instincts on the bases," said Padres first-base coach Dave Roberts, who works with baserunners. "It hasn't been part of his game in recent years, but it's something he's good at.
"I don't consider him a burner, but when he gets an opportunity to steal, he's going to take advantage of it."
Hudson is a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen-base attempts, with four of those steals coming in the last four games. It should be pointed out Hudson has seven hits in that stretch, as part of a nine-game hitting streak entering Thursday.
"The hardest part is still getting on base," he said, "... you can't steal first base."
But if Hudson gets on base, he, like several others in the lineup, has the green light to try to steal a base.
"It's what we've got to do, push the envelope. It's not just me, we've got other guys who can also steal bases," Hudson said. "I like it."
Entering Thursday, the Padres had 13 stolen bases in their first 11 games. A year ago, the first year the new front-office regime pushed aggressiveness on the bases, the Padres stole 124 bases, 42 more than the previous season.
Padres have five of first 58 Draft picks
HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball on Thursday announced the selection order for the June 6-8 First-Year Player Draft, a Draft that will certainly have the Padres busy early on.
San Diego has five of the first 58 overall selections.
The Padres have the No. 9 overall pick as compensation for not signing their 2010 first-round pick, high school pitcher Karsten Whitson. The team has its own first-round pick later, at No. 25 overall.
The Padres then have three picks in the compensation round for losing free-agent pitcher Jon Garland (who signed with the Dodgers), catcher Yorvit Torrealba (Rangers) and then pitcher Kevin Correia (Pirates).
Those picks are Nos. 48 (Garland), 54 (Torrealba) and 58 (Correia).
"We have five early picks in one of the deepest Drafts in recent memories. We need to get it right," Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said last month. "... We need to fill the farm system. The best way to do that is to add depth.
"Some of the guys we'll miss on. But having proper depth in your system and developing those players, you really increase your odds of being successful at the Major League level."
Top prospect Kelly excels in home debut
HOUSTON -- Pitcher Casey Kelly, the top prospect in the Padres' Minor League system, shined in his home debut on Thursday for Double-A San Antonio.
Kelly allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts in six innings in a no-decision against Northwest Arkansas.
Kelly, one of four players the Padres obtained from the Red Sox in the December deal that sent All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, got 13 ground-ball outs in the game.
Kelly allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings in a start, also against Northwest Arkansas, last week.
San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer was on hand to watch Kelly pitch. He also saw Kyle Blanks play for the first time this season.
Blanks, who was the designated hitter, had reconstructive elbow surgery last season and was brought along slowly in Spring Training.
Blanks went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.