MILWAUKEE -- A second baseman by trade, Padres utilityman Eric Patterson finds it a little interesting that he has played more than twice as many games in the outfield (120 games) than second base (49) at the Major League level.

Not that he's complaining, mind you.

"For me, it doesn't matter where I'm playing," Patterson said.

With second baseman Orlando Hudson on the 15-day disabled list since May 4 with a strained right hamstring, Patterson has been getting the bulk of the starts at second base, though Alberto Gonzalez was in the lineup there on Tuesday against the Brewers.

Patterson has one error in 32 total chances at second base this season, and has welcomed a return to a position he played growing up, at Georgia Tech and during his first few years in the Cubs organization.

"I'm enjoying it," Patterson said. "I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel over there, but I like that at second base you're constantly moving and talking to guys. The game is a lot faster in the infield than in the outfield."

Patterson said there's a different feeling he gets after playing nine innings at second base, as opposed to spending an entire game in the outfield.

"I'm worn down after a game at second base," he said. "Physically and mentally, it takes a toll on you."

Denorfia finds success as a pinch-hitter

MILWAUKEE -- Matt Stairs has moved on to the Nationals this season, but it appears he has left behind an apt pupil in Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia.

Denorfia, who said Tuesday he learned a few things from watching Stairs last season, has hits in his last three at-bats as a pinch-hitter, including a double Monday night in the eighth inning of the Padres' 4-3 loss to the Brewers.

Denorfia is tied for second in the National League with five pinch hits, and is hitting .357 when being called off the bench late in games, something manager Bud Black considers to be a tricky task.

"It's probably the most difficult role on the team, to have statistical success," Black said. "You're asking a player to come off the bench cold, from not being involved in a game for an at-bat against probably the best two or three relievers on a team."

Denorfia said his success as a pinch-hitter stems from accepting his role on the team -- a bat off the bench late in games, and someone who will often get a start when the Padres face a left-handed pitcher.

Denorfia has already eclipsed his success as a pinch-hitter in 2010, when he went 2-for-12.

"I come to the ballpark every day knowing what I need to do," said Denorfia, who pores over video of potential pitchers he'll face and goes over scouting reports before and during a game to prepare himself. "I've put all my efforts toward that."

After that, he said, it's almost like "playing manager yourself," Denorfia said, as he will often speculate when he'll be used and in what situation.

A year ago, Denorfia watched Stairs -- who had 13 pinch hits, including four home runs, as he became the Major League career leader in pinch-hit home runs -- and how he went about his business in preparing each night for one at-bat.

"He was one of the best to ever do it ... you pick up things," Denorfia said. "With him it was the approach, that preparedness and the knack of being ready in that situation."

Denorfia then stopped himself, careful not to give away too many secrets.

"I'm not going to tell you when I'm hunting and when I'm not," Denorfia said, smiling.

Padres visit Milwaukee medical center

MILWAUKEE -- Before Tuesday's game at Miller Field, a trio of Padres paid a visit to the patients and staff members as well as the hospital volunteers at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.

San Diego pitcher Clayton Richard, on the day he was set to pitch against the Brewers, helped organize the visit with Athletes for Hope, a non-profit organization founded in 2007 by philanthropic professional athletes who give back with charitable work.

Richard, pitcher Tim Stauffer and catcher Nick Hundley shook hands, took pictures and talked with veterans as well as staff and volunteers.