SAN DIEGO -- After struggling in his Major League debut on April 10, Padres rookie pitcher Joe Wieland had considerably more success in his start against the Phillies on Thursday, as he allowed just one run over six innings, with seven strikeouts.
Part of the reason for the turnaround was that the 22-year-old was able to not only able to use his curveball more, but he was able to throw it for strikes early in the game.
"The biggest thing was I was throwing it for strikes," Wieland said. "The second you don't show that, you can throw it for strikes, they [opposing hitters] will lay off it. You have to get it in their heads."
That's probably why Wieland threw 13 curveballs in the first inning alone. He allowed his lone run on a curveball, a sacrifice fly by Jimmy Rollins.
Of the 99 pitches Wieland threw, 34 of them were curveballs. Eighteen of them went for strikes, with eight of the curveballs resulting in outs, including three strikeouts.
"I think his curve, if you were to grade the two pitches, is better than his slider," said Padres manager Bud Black, who said that Wieland throws a hard curveball with a 12-to-6 sharp tilt to it.
Black said that the abundance of curveballs might have had something to do with the guy calling them, catcher John Baker, who saw a lot of the Phillies during the last four seasons when he played for the Marlins.
Rehabbing Stauffer throws bullpen session
SAN DIEGO -- Pitcher Tim Stauffer took a positive step forward in his rehabilitation on Saturday, when he threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session hours before the Padres faced the Phillies at Petco Park.
Stauffer threw all of his pitches without incident, said pitching coach Darren Balsley, who gave manager Bud Black the 'thumbs up' sign when Black inquired about the bullpen session.
"It felt good ... cutting it loose," said Stauffer, who went on the disabled list with a strained right elbow on April 5.
"It was a little more game-like intensity. It felt good from the first one to the last. It's a good sign, so I'll take it."
Stauffer will now move to a simulated game on Tuesday at Petco Park before a game against the Nationals. Stauffer will likely throw 40 or so pitches, Black said, and "get up and down" three times to simulate the breaks that would occur between innings.
There's a good chance that if Stauffer comes out of the simulated game feeling fine that he will head out on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.
Stauffer is ready to get back on the mound in a big league game.
"It [injury] was unfortunate, the timing obviously," he said. "But it's a lot more fair to the team going out there healthy than trying to pitch with subpar stuff and risk a worse injury. It's the peace of mind more than anything that you can cut it loose."
Padres juggle lineup again on Saturday
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres, who have scored one run in their last 21 innings, shuffled their lineup again on Saturday, giving veteran Mark Kotsay the start in left field -- his first start at Petco Park -- and having Nick Hundley bat fourth against the Phillies.
The Padres haven't gotten a lot of production out of the cleanup spot in the order. Heading into Saturday's game, Padres' cleanup hitters had a batting average of .177, with a .274 slugging percentage and no home runs.
This is the first time that Hundley has hit fourth this season. He's hit either fifth or six previously, though he hit .289 in 45 at-bats in the cleanup slot last season.
"We do think he's having some better at-bats overall," Padres manager Bud Black said of Hundley. "Last year, he produced some runs in that spot."