07/22/07 5:48 PM ET
Notes: Blum gets start at second
Slumping regular Marcus Giles takes another day off
By Elizabeth Botello / MLB.com
It's something that Padres fans might see more of in the coming days.
"It's just that in the last four or five days, [I] thought that Blum should be given some at-bats, and he's responded with good performances on the field and at the plate," Padres manager Bud Black said. "And Marcus is still battling himself a little bit.
"I think it's not just one thing. I think it's a number of things. I think he still is expanding on his own a little bit. I think that he seems to be out front of the offspeed pitches, and he's trying to stay back and then when he does that, he's behind in the fastball so he's sort of caught in between. For a hitter, that's always a rough spot."
Giles' batting average has steadily gone down to its current .235. He batted .208 in June and is hitting .140 in July (7-for-50) since starting May at .330. But Black knows how much Giles has done for this team, especially during the first half, as does general manager Kevin Towers.
"He pretty much carried us in April and he's certainly struggled in May, June and July," Towers said. "We hope some time off, we can get him back to where he was in April. He's at an age  where we don't think his skill set has left him. "Right now, Blum is swinging the bat and will likely get the majority of playing time."
Blum took over second base from Wednesday through Friday. He had six hits, scored two runs and had an RBI in those three games before Giles took over on Saturday.
"Any player benefits from regular playing time, and Geoff is one of those players where the more at-bats he gets the more comfortable he gets in the box," Black said.
Blum, who is batting .239, batted eighth in the lineup on Sunday.
"I'm just going to take advantage of any of the opportunities given to me," Blum said.
Blum found out Saturday night that he would be playing on Sunday but had no idea what position.
Blum believes Giles is just going through a rough spot right now and will find his groove soon. Giles didn't want to talk to reporters before Sunday's game.
"That's the nature of the game. There are a lot of ebbs and flows in the game, and right now he's just riding out a tough set. It's just a matter of time before he gets his swing back," Blum said.
"First part of the season he was mainly responsible for our success, and we felt that if he gets back to that performance, he's going to help us," Black said.
Bradley is answer: Milton Bradley has been all the San Diego Padres hoped he'd be, both in left field and at the plate.
Bradley, who was acquired by the Padres in late June from the Oakland Athletics, is already making waves.
The Harbor City native, who was recently moved to the second slot in the lineup, almost hit for the cycle on Saturday night against the Phillies. He hit a single, triple and home run and needed just a double to become the first Padre to ever hit for the cycle. But Bradley struck out in at his last at-bat to finish the night 3-for-5.
"He's swinging the bat great. He's been everything as advertised," Black said. "He's been getting on base. He's making plays in the outfield. He's playing to win, and I enjoy watching him play. He's been a great addition."
Bradley was batting .292 with the A's. In 10 games with the Padres, Bradley is batting .351 with two home runs and six RBIs. His average for the season is .314.
Poly invasion: Three of Long Beach Polytechnic High School's most famous athletes were in attendance on Sunday -- Tony Gwynn, the Phillies' Chase Utley and Bradley.
Gwynn, who was in the broadcaster's booth, watched Utley and Bradley play against each other in the final game of the four-game series.
Long Beach Poly was named the best high school sports program by Sports Illustrated in 2005. Utley and Milton played two years together at Long Beach Poly.
"I think it's pretty uncommon that you have two guys that played in the same high school together that make it to the big leagues," Utley said. "It's pretty difficult to make it the big leagues.
"Milton's been an unbelievable player since high school. He was a year older then me. My sophomore year and junior years we played together."
The two have provided their team with plenty of offense in this four-game series.
Bradley hit a double on Thursday and had three hits Saturday. Utley hit a double on Thursday and another double and home run on Friday against the Padres. The two have only struck out once each in this series.
"I talked to him the other day, the first day we got here. He told me he likes it and I don't blame him. It's a good place to play," Utley said.
Utley was also glad to be in San Diego to watch the pregame ceremony for fellow alum Gwynn.
"Yeah, I'm actually glad that I got to see the ceremony. Tony's one of the best hitters of all-time. He made it look so easy," Utley said.
"And again, it's pretty unique we all attended the same high school."
On deck: The Padres hit the road for a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at 6:05 p.m. PT on Monday at Coors Field. Greg Maddux (7-7, 4.17 ERA) gets the start for San Diego. The Rockies will counter with Jeff Francis (10-5, 4.07).
Elizabeth Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Corey Brock contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.