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04/09/09 4:33 PM ET

E. Gonzalez starts at third for Padres

Black sits Kouzmanoff to rest 'lingering' hamstring injury

SAN DIEGO -- Manager Bud Black continues to actively look for ways to find at-bats for his bench players, and on Thursday, Edgar Gonzalez got his, though it came at the expense of teammate Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Kouzmanoff didn't start Thursday's day game against the Dodgers at PETCO Park due to what Black called a lingering right hamstring injury.

Even so, Black was determined to get Gonzalez in the lineup during the opening week of the season, as he has already with reserves like outfielder Scott Hairston, shortstop Everth Cabrera and catcher Henry Blanco.

"It's a combination of things ... we're trying to get bench players in there as much as it's possible," Black said. "Kouz has a little bit of a hamstring that's been a lingering thing."

Black said Kouzmanoff has been dealing with soreness in his hamstring recently but that he might have aggravated it Tuesday when he scored from first base on Chase Headley's double.

Of the bench players on the 25-man roster, only Drew Macias hasn't started a game in the field yet.

Kouzmanoff is hitting .167 this season in 12 at-bats with a triple. He has stranded four runners in scoring position in the first three games.

The Padres like Gonzalez's offensive upside, and third base was a position he played two times last season, but he saw time there this spring. Gonzalez, a natural second baseman, hit .274 last season as a 30-year-old rookie.

Hairston got his second start of the week in center field against Los Angeles left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.