08/24/07 8:00 PM ET
Notes: Padres offense heating up
Bats having their best month as season begins to wind down
By Andy Jasner / Special to MLB.com
But the Padres have been hot the entire month of August, hitting .265 (197-for-743) entering Friday night's game with the Phillies, their best mark in a month this season and the eighth best in the National League in August.
While the extra offensive punch may be perceived as a surprise, that's not the case inside the clubhouse.
"We've hit the ball well all season, especially on the road," said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who hit the game-winning home run in the Padres' 9-8 win in 10 innings on Thursday. "When you play at PETCO, it seems like you might not be as good offensively because of the ballpark. When we go on the road, we hit. It's played down because we play half our games at PETCO. We've been hitting the ball real well and we have confidence in our offense."
The Padres recorded double-digit hits in all three games against the Mets, going 40-for-119.
"Just like everything, hitting feeds off each other," manager Bud Black said. "If you hit well, it's contagious. I think that's what you saw in New York."
Gonzalez has been especially torrid while hitting in seven of his last eight games -- 14-for-36. Since July 15, he has 15 multihit games. Gonzalez entered Friday's action fourth in the NL in doubles (37) and ninth in extra-base hits (60). In the first inning, he launched a two-run home run off Phillies starter Jamie Moyer.
"Like I said, we've been hitting consistently all year," Gonzalez said. "I've tried to be consistent and I think I've hit the ball well at home and on the road."
Big save: Heath Bell couldn't have picked a better place to notch his first Major League save. The right-handed reliever spent his first three seasons playing for the Mets and appeared in 81 games.
His time in New York was a bit tumultuous, so it was refreshing to come back and close out Thursday's victory by throwing a scoreless 10th inning.
"There's a first for everything," Bell said. "They [the Mets] gave me an opportunity to pitch in the Major Leagues. It didn't always go the way I expected it to go with the team. For whatever reason, it just didn't work out. To go there and get a save against that team means a little bit more to me. For the rest of my life, I'll remember that one."
Bell understands save opportunities are rare when your teammate is Trevor Hoffman, who has 514 career saves, the most in Major League history.
"I got an opportunity and took advantage of it," Bell said. "I've had save opportunities in New York and a couple here. I was able to close it out, and it was special. It was a team effort, and I just happened to get credit for the save."
On the mend: There's not an exact timetable for Chris Young's return to the starting rotation. Young remains in San Diego, receiving treatment on his lower back.
Young had tightness in his back following Tuesday's start, in which he threw 64 pitches. He's been resting and getting physical therapy since that point.
"He's better today than he was yesterday," Black said. "We're still up in the air. After the start on Sunday, we'll see] what direction we'll go. That will be determined by his health."
Young leads Major League Baseball with a 2.12 ERA and .184 batting average against.
Other injury news: Catcher Michael Barrett has now had five consecutive days without concussion-like symptoms.
Black said that once Barrett has seven straight days, the team will look to possibly send him out on a rehabilitation assignment. But nothing has been finalized yet.
On Aug. 10, Barrett took a shin to the helmet while trying to break up a double play in Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, outfielder Scott Hairston may not be ready to come off the 15-day disabled list this weekend. He was placed on the disabled list Aug. 10 with a strained left oblique muscle.
"It leaves us a little bit light right-handed off the bench," Black said.
Fitting in: Black said he has been impressed with left fielder Milton Bradley, who has been much-maligned during his star-crossed career.
"Since he's been here, he's played hard," Black said. "He cares about winning. When he sets foot on the field, it's to win that game for the Padres. That doesn't go unnoticed by his teammates."
Coming up: The Padres will send right-hander Clay Hensley (2-3, 6.70 ERA) to the mound for Saturday's 4:05 p.m. PT start. He'll be opposing Philadelphia's Kyle Lohse (7-12, 4.61 ERA).
Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.