SAN DIEGO -- Starter Andrew Cashner threw 94 pitches in six innings and struck out ten in his third start for Double-A San Antonio Saturday night.
A major component of the Padres' bullpen for the first two months of the season, the flame-throwing Cashner was sent down to Double-A to extend himself into a starter after a spot-start for the Padres against Milwaukee June 9th. He gave up one run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings in that outing.
Cashner's conversion was necessitated by the flurry of injuries to the Padres' rotation this year, and while Manager Bud Black was quick to say that Cashner's timetable for return to the big leagues would not be affected by Anthony Bass's recent move to the disabled list, San Diego was already in need of a starter for Thursday's game in Houston -- less than an hour from Cashner's hometown of Conroe and a little over a three-hour drive north from the Double-A Missions' ballpark.
"We're still keeping an eye on Cash, deciding whether we're going to give him another Minor League start or bring him back," Black said. "We're going through that evaluation now. We like the way he's thrown, he feels good, in the next day or two we might have a more definitive answer."
Cashner was a closer for Texas Christian University, but did start a game for the Cubs early last season. Cashner had a 3.81 ERA in 27 appearances out of the bullpen for the Padres prior to that start and this stint with the Missions.
"He's followed the path that we've set out ... the report from our Double-A staff was good, they've seen the progress in stamina and endurance," Black said. "The side work in between is everything you look for from a starting pitcher, so all signs point to him progressing like we had hoped."
Bass headed to DL with shoulder inflammation
SAN DIEGO -- Another San Diego starter is headed to the disabled list. Right-hander Anthony Bass is the latest in a string of starters to hit the DL. Bass had been one of the more durable Padre arms prior to leaving his start against the Rangers Wednesday due to shoulder inflammation. Infielder Andy Parrino, who was placed on the DL June 3rd with a right wrist ligament sprain, has been activated to fill Bass's roster spot.
The move to the DL is retroactive to June 21, meaning Bass will not necessarily miss a significant number of starts. Manager Bud Black certainly hopes that will be the case, though he doesn't want to push his 24-year-old too far and lose him for an extended period.
"We're encouraged by how he's feeling from his last start, but it didn't look as though he was going to be able to get back in enough time to not keep him off the DL," Black said. "I think we're better served to give him the time needed, not rush him back."
Bass, who had struggled prior to throwing five solid innings against Texas before leaving with the injury, was 2-7 with a 4.70 ERA and 72 strikeouts so far this season. He was moved into the starting rotation from the bullpen earlier this season after making just two appearances out of the 'pen.
Initially, Black and the Padres believed Bass might be able to bounce back in time to start in turn Tuesday, as he had felt similar soreness earlier in the season after his start against the Cubs on May 30 and had no trouble making his next start five days later. He was not as resilient following Wednesday's outing.
"He had the same sort of feeling during the game against the Rangers as he did against Chicago, so that gave him some hope that, 'Hey, maybe this will be OK', because it was OK in Chicago," Black said. "But when he was still sore a couple days after the Texas start, we said let's be conservative with this."
While that caution may be best in the long term, it does leave San Diego short-armed in the short-term and in need of a starter to fill Bass's slot Tuesday. Black said the team is looking inside the organization to fill that spot, though no announcement has been made.
When it is, the Padres will need to make another roster move to add that player to the squad, meaning Parrino's return to the club could be short-lived, as swapping a bat for an arm makes the most sense for San Diego's injury-riddled pitching staff. So far this season, Parrino is hitting .176 in 91 at-bats.
Alonso to take a few days off to rest knee
SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Yonder Alonso will not start Sunday against the Mariners, nor Monday in Houston, due to a sore left knee. Alonso said he tweaked the knee sliding on the last road trip, though the pain is more the result of accumulated wear and tear.
"Alonso has a little bit of a cranky knee that we're gonna rest for a day or two ... this is not a situation where he's gonna be on the DL," Padres Manager Bud Black said. "Like all players, once you start the season and get into it, there's always something that's been nagging you. You go in that locker room, there's just something that doesn't quite feel 100 percent ... he got an injection last night to help the soreness, doctors think this will be what he needs to get over the hump."
The 25-year-old Alonso is currently second among Major League rookies with 17 doubles, and is tied for the fourth-most hits (64) in that group. He is hitting .254 with two homers and 18 RBIs in 70 games this season.
"It's sore, but I'll be ready in Houston," Alonso said. "I'll be fine."
Veteran left-handed bat Mark Kotsay will start in Alonso's place at first base on Sunday against right-hander Hector Neosi, and Black said he expects Jesus Guzman to handle first tomorrow night against Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez.
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.