OAKLAND -- The backup catching position isn't one Padres manager Bud Black takes lightly or even takes for granted.

To that end, Black has been happy with the work John Baker has done in his first two-plus months with the team, though a lot of the groundwork as far as getting to know a new pitching staff was set in Spring Training.

"The preparation [with Baker] has been there, his interaction with the pitchers and with [pitching coach Darren Balsley] is there. And on the defensive side, you feel comfortable with him," Black said.

Baker made his 21st start of the season on Saturday. He's hitting .231 with eight RBIs heading into the final game of a three-game series Sunday against the A's, though since May 12 he's hitting .296.

Last season, Nick Hundley had two stretches on the disabled list and the Padres had to use three backup catchers -- Rob Johnson, Luis Martinez and Kyle Phillips. This season, Baker has been the guy the Padres have turned to on days and nights when Hundley hasn't started.

"It's a real valuable piece on a Major League team," Black said.

Quentin also getting on base via hit-by-pitch

OAKLAND -- Carlos Quentin hasn't just kick-started the Padres' offense since coming off the disabled list on May 28, he's also turned into a target of sorts for opposing pitchers.

Going into Sunday's game against the A's, Quentin has been hit by pitches five times in his first 61 plate appearances. He was hit by a pitch in Saturday's 6-4 loss to the A's. He also hit a two-run home run, his sixth with the team in the 15 games in which he's played.

Getting plunked by pitches isn't anything new to Quentin, who was hit 23 times in 2011 with the White Sox -- the most in the American League a year ago. On two other occasions with the White Sox, Quentin has finished second in the AL in hit-by-pitches.

"Early on, you saw what he did ... he made a lot of teams pay for poor pitches over the plate," said San Diego manager Bud Black. "But he's not on the plate. And part of what makes him good is that he stays in there and sees the ball."

Quentin has 11 extra-base hits, six home runs, 13 RBIs, a .417 average and a .541 on-base percentage since missing the first 49 games of the season while working his way back from March knee surgery.

Venable improving in matchups vs. lefties

OAKLAND -- Will Venable had a big two-run, two-out double in Saturday's loss to the A's, a hit that might have been the game-winner had the Padres not allowed three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 6-4 loss.

For Venable, a left-handed hitter, that hit came against a left-handed pitcher, A's reliever Sean Doolittle.

That was the eighth hit this season for Venable against a left-hander. He's hitting .216 against southpaws this season and .213 for his career, though his manager, Bud Black, thinks that Venable has the potential of being better against lefties.

"There's some damage in there against the lefty," Black said of Venable. "He hung in there [Saturday] ... and the guy [Doolittle] hung a breaking ball and Will squared it up."

Venable hit .174 against lefties last season and .154 in 2010.

Short hop

Infielder Logan Forsythe, sidelined since Thursday with a sore left abdomen, was to "increase activity" before Sunday's game against the A's to test his side.

"We'll see how he feels," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Forsythe hasn't played since Wednesday in Seattle. Alexi Amarista got his fourth consecutive start at second base on Sunday.