SAN DIEGO -- April certainly wasn't kind to the Padres for several reasons -- seven players landed on the disabled list, the team went 7-17 and the defense was nothing short of atrocious.

And it wasn't just the sheer volume of errors (28) that bothered manager Bud Black.

"We made fundamental errors, we had outfielders bobble balls, pitchers not fielding their position and some dropped fly balls," Black said.

"We haven't seen that in the second half. I do think we're playing better overall defense."

Going into Thursday's game against the Dodgers, the Padres ranked 15th in the National League with a .980 fielding percentage, ahead of only the Rockies (.979).

The Padres have committed 21 errors in September, the most since April, though it's the type of errors that rate differently for Black.

"The outfield defense has tightened up and the infield defense has gotten a lot better," said Black, who singled out rookie first baseman Yonder Alonso for his improved play.

Alonso made five errors in the first 35 games of the season but has just five since and none since Aug. 28. He's also saved the other infielders on numerous occasions by digging balls out of the dirt.

Padres coach Powell to help hitters in Venezuela

SAN DIEGO -- The regular season ends on Wednesday for the Padres, though that doesn't mean that the work is done for at least one member of the coaching staff.

Alonzo Powell, who has worked alongside hitting coach Phil Plantier this season, will prepare to make his way to the Venezuelan Winter League where he'll be a hitting coach for Bravos de Margarita (the Margarita Braves).

Powell was asked by friend and current Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens back in Spring Training if he would have interest in working with the Braves hitters this winter.

"We have a history," Powell said. "We played against each other in Japan and I knew him from back in 1986 when we played in Venezuela. I thought this would be a nice opportunity."

Powell isn't sure who will be on the roster yet, though he's certain there will be some Major Leaguers on it, though none from the Padres.

"The more you work with guys, the more you learn," Powell said. "The more situations that you see ... the more you're able to incorporate things into your style of coaching."

The Braves' first game is Oct. 11, though Meulens could still be busy with the Giants, who have won the National League West and will likely begin the National League Division Series on Oct. 6.

Even on DL, Marquis grinds through 'pen sessions

SAN DIEGO -- When pitcher Jason Marquis suffered a broken bone in his left (non-throwing) hand fielding a comebacker on Aug. 22, it essentially ended his season.

Someone apparently forgot to tell Marquis, who has pushed on as if he will pitch again this season, even though the odds of that happening are miniscule.

On Thursday, Marquis threw a bullpen session, a testament to him keeping his arm in shape during his stint on the disabled list.

"He loves baseball," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He loves to throw. When he broke his hand, he wanted to keep throwing. He wanted his body clock to know he was pitching in September. I admire that.

"He's been throwing hard bullpens and going through it."

Marquis, 34, was 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 15 starts with the Padres after signing a Minor League contract in May after he was designated for assignment by the Twins. He will be a free agent this offseason.

Short hop

• Second baseman Logan Forsythe was a late scratch with a sore right knee. He was replaced by Andy Parrino. Forsythe is hitting .317 in his last 38 games since Aug. 7. He has 14 multi-hit games in that stretch. For Parrino, this was his sixth start of the season at second base.