SAN DIEGO -- When Huston Street entered the Padres' clubhouse before Friday night's game, he did so slowly and with a heavy limp thanks to the strain in his left calf that placed the All-Star on the disabled list Aug. 11. When he walked in Saturday, he did so more quickly and with a limp that was less conspicuous, evidence of some recent improvement that Street hopes will have him back in the Padres' bullpen sooner rather than later.
"The limp has gotten a lot better in the last 48 hours -- four days into it, I was pretty discouraged," Street said. "Three days later, it's been a full week now, I've seen pretty good improvement -- I'd say a lot of improvement."
This came a day after manager Bud Black said he didn't expect Street, who is on the 15-day DL after suffering the strain in a game against the Pirates on Aug. 10, to "pitch on day 16." In other words, Black didn't expect to have his closer back right after the required 15 days of disabled-list inactivity, thanks in part to the trouble the injury was giving Street in the first few days after it happened.
But so significant was the recent improvement that Street tested the calf before Saturday's game, playing catch with a football from as far as 40 yards. Street said he wasn't able to fully step into the throws, but that the calf "was able to handle some weight transfer." The 29-year-old also rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes to further test the calf.
"The comfort that I have is being here with [Padres head athletic trainer Todd Hutcheson] and our whole training staff in there. The fear you have is that you're not going to get better, or that it will take much longer than it should," Street said. "The comfort with those guys is you know you're going to be back much sooner rather than later."
Despite the improvement, however, Street says the fact that he's seven days into his DL stint and hasn't touched a baseball probably means that, as predicted by his manager, he won't be back immediately after the 15 days of DL time expire because of the need to get bullpen sessions and rehab outings under his belt. But he said he will "absolutely" return to pitch this season and anticipates it will be soon after that two-week period.
"I think it's a reasonable expectation that it will go longer than 14, 15 days, but I'm not going to quit on myself," Street said. "The soonest I can possibly be back, I'll be back out there. ... You wait five months every year to play a full season, [and] I've already missed a month [with a strained lat]; I don't want to miss any more time."
Padres send Ohlendorf to Triple-A
SAN DIEGO -- After being knocked around for 14 runs in just 5 1/3 innings in his last two starts, Ross Ohlendorf was optioned to Triple-A Tucson, where he will start Wednesday night. The move came after a Friday night outing in which the 30-year-old righty was shelled for eight runs on six hits in just 2 1/3 innings.
"It wasn't anything in particular," Padres manager Bud Black said of Ohlendorf's recent struggles. "Just the ball not really driven down in the zone, ball trying to get on the corner just didn't get there. When he's missing a lot of deep counts ... that makes it awful hard."
Black hasn't announced his choice to replace Ohlendorf in the rotation -- though he says he does have a choice in mind. In terms of filling Ohlendorf's spot on the 25-man roster, the Padres opted to recall righty Nick Vincent from Tucson in order to give them eight arms in the bullpen in the wake of a four-game run of poor starting pitching.
"We need a little bit of reinforcement to help the guys [in the 'pen]," Black said. "We've talked about our starting pitching, what that's done to the 'pen -- we needed another guy."
Ohlendorf had been pitching with the Red Sox's Triple-A affiliate prior to being signed to a Major League contract by the Padres on June 4. He made 13 appearances for San Diego, nine of them starts, and was 4-4 with a 7.58 ERA. This is Ohlendorf's sixth Major League season with his third different team (Yankees, Pirates).
Ohlendorf was one of a handful of veteran starters brought in by San Diego to fill holes left when several members of their projected rotation fell to injury. Others included Kip Wells (also in Tucson), Jeff Suppan (released June 6), Jason Marquis and Saturday's starter, Eric Stults. Marquis has made the most starts of that group with 21.
Vincent returns to San Diego bullpen
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres recalled righty reliever Nick Vincent from Triple-A Tucson to add another arm to their beleaguered bullpen Saturday. Vincent has made the trip from Tucson to San Diego a few times this year, as this will be the 26-year-old's fourth stint with the big league club.
Vincent, who is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in seven outings with the Padres this season, joins a bullpen that consists of several arms that have also made that Tucson-to-Petco-Park trek this year. Of the eight men in the Padres 'pen, only Luke Gregerson hasn't seen time in the Minors this year. And while Dale Thayer has stayed in San Diego since being recalled from Tucson on April 26, other young arms such as Brad Boxberger, Brad Brach, Cory Burns, Miles Mikolas and Vincent have all been back and forth at least twice this season.
"It's tough every time you go back and forth; you have to live out of a suitcase," Vincent said. "But you get more used to it. ... It's not too shocking anymore, because you know it's just something that could happen at any time."
Still, even if the shock and corresponding mental strain the fluidity creates may be wearing off as the Padres' relievers get used to going up and down, the logistics of the move don't get any easier.
Vincent explained that the players are given seven days in a hotel when called up. If they're up longer, they have to find a place of their own. Given the unpredictability of the Padres' pitching personnel this year, that can be a stressful process.
"If you're here longer than that, you see if you can find a place or stay with somebody," Vincent said. "Brach's got a place, a couple of other guys have places. ... They can help you out."
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.