Headley on recovery expectations from broken thumb

SAN DIEGO -- Chase Headley's season debut isn't far away.

The Padres' star third baseman made a Minor League rehab start at Class A Lake Elsinore on Friday evening, going 1-for-3 with a double as the designated hitter.

Headley will return to San Diego on Saturday, where he will be honored in a pregame ceremony and receive his Silver Slugger Award and his Gold Glove Award for last season's efforts. A Headley bobblehead will also be given out to the first 25,000 fans for Saturday's game.

Headley has been out since March 17, when he fractured the tip of his left thumb in a Spring Training game. The injury did not require surgery and the bone has been healing on pace.

Headley took live batting practice and did defensive work at Petco Park on Wednesday and Thursday, which prompted the Padres to send him out on a rehab assignment.

"Chase was making good, gradual strides every day, especially over the past week," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He kept passing tests in the batting cage and with his field work, that led us to believe he was ready and able to make a rehab start. We were encouraged by what we've seen, and that he's full ready for this opportunity.

"Chase feels good about it. The medical staff is encouraged by how his thumb is healing. He's doing well, and this is a real positive step for Chase and this ballclub."

Exactly when Headley will return to the Padres' lineup hasn't been determined. There's a possibility that Headley could return during a three-game series against the Dodgers starting Monday, but it will likely be later in the week.

"That's cutting it really close, but I won't say absolutely that he won't play," Black said. "It's a matter of Chase getting some at-bats and getting his timing and rhythm back. Some guys need several games, others need very few. I think Chase will need a handful of games to get his legs under him. Before too long, he'll be ready to go."

The Padres desperately need Headley back in the lineup. They have scuffled without him and are off to a slow start. He was the team's driving offensive force last season, recording MVP-type numbers with a .286 average, 31 home runs and 115 RBIs.

Guzman inserted at third to try to spark offense

SD@COL: Guzman opens the scoring with an RBI single

SAN DIEGO -- Jesus Guzman is a first baseman and corner outfielder, respected far more for his bat than his defense.

On Friday night, the Padres put him at the hot corner. It was Guzman's first big league start at third base and his first time playing the position since 2011. He has played 46 games there for Triple-A Tucson.

Guzman played a different position in an attempt to infuse some life into a scuffling Padres offense.

Guzman went 1-for-3 in his first start at third, and played error-free defense until he was pulled in the eighth for defensive purposes. 

It didn't work out, as second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who moved to third in Guzman's place, made an error that led to two unearned runs in the inning and launched the Rockies' comeback victory. 

The Padres have scored three runs or less in seven of their first 10 games. Guzman is an offensive upgrade, although he is known to struggle defensively.

"We felt that, with our offense going the way it has recently, that we had to get Guzman's bat in the lineup," manager Bud Black said. "We think he's swinging the bat pretty well right now, and we're going to try to get some runs on the board with him in the lineup."

Guzman has been taking ground balls at third base in recent days in anticipation of a possible start at a relatively foreign spot.

"We'll see what happens over there," Guzman said. "It's not like I've never played the position, but it isn't what I've done in the big leagues.

"Honestly, though, I don't worry about where I'm going to play in the field. Whatever Buddy wants me to do, I do. He said he needed me to play third and I'm ready to go."

Weber promoted; Ransom designated for assignment

TEX@DET: Weber debuts for the Detroit Tigers

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres made a move to bolster their bullpen on Friday afternoon, promoting right-handed reliever Thad Weber from Triple-A Tucson. Reserve infielder Cody Ransom was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.

Weber was told to report to San Diego late Thursday night, and was a bullpen option for Friday's game against the Rockies. He will provide long relief for a team that has had just one starter go six innings.

"Thad Weber is here to reinforce our pitching staff," manager Bud Black said. "Our starting rotation hasn't given us a great deal of length early in the season, and we felt we needed to help the guys in the bullpen."

Weber is excited for the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues. It is his third promotion, after a pair of short stints with the Tigers last season. Weber was claimed off waivers by the Padres on Aug. 23.

"We pay attention to what's going on up here but, in all honesty, I had no idea a callup was coming," Weber said. "You'd like to think you'll be the guy if they need one, but you just never know. It could be a short-term deal or I could be up for the rest of the season. I'll take it day by day and be ready for anything that happens."

Ransom must clear waivers before deciding on whether to accept an assignment to Triple-A Tucson. He has 10 days to accept it and it's presumed that he will, but Ransom will be released if he declines the assignment.

Ransom was 0-for-11 with five strikeouts in five games for the Padres. He made the team out of Spring Training as a replacement for Chase Headley, who remains out with fractured left thumb.

The Padres now have a 13th pitcher in Weber and just four bench players behind the starting eight.

Worth noting

• Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera received the Lou Brock Award prior to Friday's game, given to the player who led the National League in stolen bases. Cabrera swiped 44 bags in 2012.

• Brad Brach celebrated his 27th birthday on Friday.

• San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco threw out the first pitch before Friday's game.