PEORIA, Ariz. -- Outfielder Chris Denorfia, who has yet to play in a game because of a lower back injury, said he hopes to appear in Minor League games when they begin on Thursday in order to get enough at-bats to catch up to the rest of his teammates.

"I'm close," Denorfia said.

Denorfia said Tuesday that he hopes to be cleared to participate in full baseball activities by the time Minor League games begin. His hope it that he would be able to get upwards of six or more at-bats, leading off each inning to help make up for lost time.

"If I had my choice, I would be playing today," Denorfia said. "But we're just being really cautious. I don't foresee it being a problem starting the season."

Two hours earlier, during his daily gathering with reporters, Padres manager Bud Black expressed some apprehension as to when Denorfia could play in a game.

"There's a little bit of concern since it's really not progressing to the point where we know when he's going to get into games," Black said.

To this point, Denorfia has done everything but what he called "strenuous baseball activities." He hopes that clearance comes before Thursday.

"Now it's a matter of getting at-bats and getting into game shape," he said.

Maybin getting comfortable at the plate

PEORIA, Ariz. -- How happy was Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin about breaking out of an 0-for-12 funk at the plate with two hits on Monday?

"Oh goodness, it was great," Maybin said. "I almost wanted to ask for the ball. It's definitely the longest I have gone in spring without a hit."

Maybin had a home run to start the game in Scottsdale against the Rockies, getting deep into a fastball from Jeremy Guthrie and sending it over the left-field wall. Maybin later doubled in an 11-2 loss.

Those were the first two hits of Spring Training for Maybin, who agreed to a $25 million contract extension on March 3, a deal which could keep him in San Diego through 2017.

"It's a process and the good thing is I've been trying to work on some things, shortening up my stroke a little," Maybin said. "It's starting to come. I'm more worried about being comfortable first. I'd rather be going through it now than at the end of the month."

Maybin has been getting extra swings in the covered hitting area each morning with hitting coaches Phil Plantier and Alonzo Powell and feels like he's starting to find something that works for him.

"I've been swinging the bat better the last few days. My rhythm and timing have gotten a lot better. My mechanics are the best they've ever been as far as simplifying my swing and having a better chance," Maybin said. "I'm feeling better each day."

Oblique strain shelves Erlin for at least a week

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin will be sidelined for at least one week with a mild strain of his left oblique, according to Padres manager Bud Black.

Erlin, who was obtained from the Rangers in the July 31 trade with Texas along with Joe Wieland, told Black that he's not sure when he sustained the injury.

So far this spring, Erlin has allowed two earned runs in four innings over two appearances. He tossed two scoreless innings against the D-backs on March 11.

In that appearance against Arizona, Erlin relieved Tim Stauffer, working out of a two-on, no-out situation by getting a fly ball and a double-play ball.

The Padres won't have any trouble covering Erlin's missed innings, even after sending out two pitchers -- Jorge Reyes and Cory Burns -- to Minor League camp on Monday. As Black said, the team can always pull a pitcher from Minor League camp for games if needed.

Short hops

• Third baseman Edinson Rincon, who has impressed early with six hits, including five doubles, over nine at-bats, will miss a few days with a sore left foot.

• Outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks (left hamstring) and infielder Everth Cabrera (sore right shoulder) could return to game action as soon as Wednesday.

• The Padres play a pair of split-squad games on Wednesday at the D-backs and at the Reds.