SAN DIEGO -- He doesn't have nearly enough innings to qualify for the National League ERA title, but Eric Stults isn't going to sweat that too much.

As it stands, Stults ranks fifth in the Major Leagues in ERA (2.54) among pitchers with at least 80 innings, but the number the left-hander is focused on is much different.

"I'm not a very big numbers guy as far as ERA," Stults said. "For me, in the games I started, did we win the game?"

More often than not, the Padres have. In the 12 games that Stults has started for the Padres, the team is 8-4, including four consecutive victories.

"That tells me a lot about the way we're playing," Stults said. "And in the second half, I feel as if we've had a lot of quality starts."

Stults missed 41 games earlier this season with a strained left lat muscle, otherwise there's no knowing how he would have fared and where he might have fit on that ERA list.

As it stands, Stults' performance rates as exceptional in the book of his manager.

"Both before and after the strain, he's thrown the ball well," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's been consistent as far as each and every start. There hasn't been a variance in stuff. That's the beauty of how he's throwing, the consistency.

"I don't have to worry about him and what he's going to bring each and every start."

Stults will make his next start on Tuesday in Arizona against the D-backs.

Padres renew commitment to Eugene affiliate

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres announced on Wednesday that they have extended their player development contract with their Class A Short-Season affiliate in the Northwest League, the Eugene Emeralds.

The PDC will run through 2014, keeping the Padres in Eugene, where the team plays at PK Park near the University of Oregon campus.

"The Padres are thrilled to continue our relationship with the Emeralds and the city of Eugene. PK Park is a tremendous place to develop our young talent and the staff," San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes said.

The Emeralds have been an affiliate of the Padres since 2001. The club didn't qualify for the playoffs this past season but finished with the best overall record in the Northwest League with a record of 47-29.

"We are excited to continue our relationship in Eugene with the Ems," said Padres vice president, player development and international scouting Randy Smith. "PK Park is a great place to develop our young players."

Padres prospects flock to Arizona

SAN DIEGO -- Many of the Padres' top Minor League prospects have gathered this week at the team's Spring Training complex in Peoria, Ariz., for the start of instructional league.

Players reported to Peoria on Wednesday, with the first workout set for Thursday. The Padres will field one team for the duration of instructional league that will begin play on Sept. 18. Games will continue through Oct. 7.

Members of the player development staff, led by Randy Smith, the club's vice president of player development and international scouting, will preside over workouts. He'll be assisted by Minor League coaches and roving instructors and coordinators.

A total of 74 players will take part in instructional league, though several won't join until late because Class A Fort Wayne is playing in the Midwest League championship series.

Some of the Padres' top prospects will be in Arizona, including all three of the team's top Draft picks from June, pitchers Walker Weickel, Max Fried and Zach Eflin, who earlier in the week paid a visit to Petco Park.

Padres Class A affiliate reaches championship

SAN DIEGO -- The Fort Wayne TinCaps dropped the opener of the Midwest League championship series, 3-2, on Wednesday against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

The TinCaps, the lone Padres affiliate remaining in the playoffs, recently dispensed with Lake County during their previous season.

The best-of-five series will continue Thursday afternoon.

Pitcher Joe Ross, the 25th overall selection in the 2011 Draft, tossed five innings for Fort Wayne, allowing two runs. Ross began the season with the TinCaps before landing on the disabled list on May 11 with a sore right shoulder. Ross recently went 0-2 with a 2.08 ERA in eight starts with Class A Short-Season Eugene.

Several of the Padres' top prospects are on the TinCaps roster, including pitcher Matt Wisler, catcher Austin Hedges and shortstop Jace Peterson.

Short hops

All-Star closer Huston Street threw a simulated game before Wednesday's game against the Cardinals. Street faced several hitters and then tested his strained left calf -- which landed him on the disabled list on Aug. 11 -- as manager Bud Black hit and rolled comebackers to the mound. There's still no definitive word on when Street will rejoin the team, but it could happen in a matter of days if his calf responds well to Wednesday's activity.