Maybin's 10-game hit streak comes to end
Padres center fielder comes up empty in return to leadoff hole
SAN DIEGO -- Cameron Maybin didn't appear to have any lingering issues with the strained left hip flexor that caused him to miss Monday's game, and he didn't feel anything wrong with it, either.
As such, Padres manager Bud Black had his center fielder leading off in Tuesday's opener against the D-backs.
"He felt good," Black said.
Maybin moved well, too. Physically, he ran like new before the game.
"The medical staff feels good about where he is, and Cam knows how he feels," Black said.
If Maybin feels ready, that's certainly good news for the Padres -- especially considering the way he's played of late.
"Isn't he a specimen?" Black said.
Maybin and Arizona's Justin Upton were just named the National League Co-Players of the Week. The 24-year-old stole eight bases and was tied for the big league lead in hits last week. Maybin has swiped a bag in each of his past six games, joining Dave Roberts (2006) and Alan Wiggins (1983) as the only Padres players to do that.
"Pitch recognition. Laying off the slider. Swinging at strikes. Getting on base a number of different ways, the walk, the infield hit, the base hit. Better contact, harder contact," Black said of the difference in Maybin's game. "Offensively, that's pretty simple. He's laying off balls and swinging at strikes. Squaring it up."
Maybin entered Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the D-backs riding a 10-game hitting streak, but that came to an end after an 0-for-4 evening against Arizona starter Joe Saunders.
Martinez catches after Johnson bruises hand
SAN DIEGO -- Padres catcher Rob Johnson left Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the D-backs in the seventh inning with a right hand contusion.
When asked how his hand was after the game, Johnson's first reply was, "Hurts."
"Man, I don't even know. It hit me somewhere like this," Johnson said, motioning to the back of his hand between his thumb and index finger, close to the knuckles. "It's hurting on both sides, but I couldn't throw any more."
Johnson said the pain was worse after the game than it was initially, and that he could feel it throughout his hand. X-rays were negative, but the team won't know more about it until Wednesday.
With starting catcher Nick Hundley injured and Johnson hurt, that leaves rookie Luis Martinez, who was recalled from Triple-A Tucson on Tuesday and finished the game behind the plate, as the only catcher on the 25-man roster.
"I kind of figured I was going to go in," Martinez said. "It looked pretty bad. He couldn't really grip the ball, you know, [or] throw to the pitcher."
Martinez popped out to first base in his only at-bat, which may be the first of many plate appearances in the near future. The Padres sent catcher Kyle Phillips to Tuscon to make room for Martinez on the roster. San Diego also recalled relief pitcher Pat Neshek from Tucson while Ernesto Frieri is on paternity leave.
Frieri is expecting his first child and wanted to be there for the birth in Colombia. His replacement in the bullpen, Neshek, is no stranger to the Padres. The right-hander has pitched in 23 games for San Diego this season with a 3.52 ERA. He's spent parts of five years in the Majors.
But the move to bring up the rookie Martinez is the bigger, and more significant, of the two.
"He's one of our guys who we think might have a future here in the big leagues," Padres manager Bud Black said before the game. "Kyle, self-admitted, wasn't swinging as good as we think he can swing. This gives Kyle a chance to go back to get his swing back, to work on some things offensively. It's a step back to take two forward."
Martinez made a brief stint with the Padres in mid-July and played in his first Major League game on July 15, going 0-for-2 at the plate.
Richard's shoulder inching toward recovery
SAN DIEGO -- When Clayton Richard exited his Independence Day start due to left shoulder tightness, the expectation was that the Padres lefty would miss a start at the most.
Fast forward more than three weeks, and Richard is still waiting to get back on the field.
"We all thought this was going to be only one start and not even the [disabled list]," said manager Bud Black. "Then we decided to put him on the DL and we thought, 'OK he'll be able to come off after the All-Star break,' down there in Florida."
In total, Richard has missed 18 games since he first felt the tightness. He played catch in Philadelphia this weekend, and he was scheduled to play catch again on Tuesday.
"He's slowly moving towards a situation where we can talk about him a little bit more in detail, about where he is and what he's doing," Black said.
But he isn't there yet.
Richard has been able to keep his body in shape while he rehabs his shoulder, but there's still no timetable for his return, a rehab assignment or even when he'll start throwing harder.
"He's feeling better," Black said. "He's not anywhere near close to talking about when a return might be, but he is feeling better."
Mark Thompson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.