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08/27/09 12:30 AM ET

Friars reap Rich-ard rewards of trade

San Diego (54-74) at Atlanta (66-60), 4 p.m. PT

ATLANTA -- During the Padres' victory over the Braves on Tuesday night, the scoreboard at Turner Field flashed a linescore from the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. It showed that the Gwinnett Braves lost on Monday and that former Padres ace Jake Peavy was the winning pitcher for the Charlotte Knights.

While Peavy figures to play a prominent role in the future of the White Sox, one of the pitchers the Padres got in return for the veteran is already making his mark.

Since coming to the Padres from the White Sox in the Peavy deal, left-hander Clayton Richard has been an outstanding member of the starting rotation. Richard will take the mound for the Padres in Thursday's series finale against the Braves at Turner Field and will face Braves hurler Javier Vazquez.

In five starts with the Padres, Richard is 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA. In his last start on Friday, against the Cardinals, Richard went six scoreless innings against a hot-hitting lineup. As good as Richard has been early, Padres manager Bud Black expects him to get better.

"Clayton is going to be a fine Major League pitcher," Black said. "In the brief time he's been here, I've seen him make a lot of strides. If he stays healthy, I could see him as a member of this rotation for a long time."

The big lefty was 4-3 for the White Sox before the July 31 trade. Black already admires Richard's raw abilities, but thinks a little polishing could lead to him being a very successful pitcher for quite some time.

"I think his secondary pitches could still get better," Black said. "I think he's got a good changeup, but once he learns how to use his secondary pitches a little better, he could be special."

Richard has never pitched against the Braves. The only Braves hitter he has faced is Adam LaRoche, who he has struck out twice in three at-bats.

Pitching matchup
SD: LHP Clayton Richard (7-3, 4.42 ERA)
Richard continues to impress since joining the Padres. In his last start, Richard allowed five hits in a victory over the red-hot Cardinals. He finished with six strikeouts and three walks and benefited from several nice defensive plays behind him. "I thought the fastball had good life through the hitting area. It looked like he beat some good hitters on fastballs," Black said. "He was stressed a few times and made some pitches." Richard, who made some adjustments on the side after walking six in his previous start, worked on staying back and keeping his front side closed.

ATL: RHP Javier Vazquez (10-9, 3.14 ERA)
Vazquez battled Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez for six innings on Friday but ran out of gas in the seventh. After allowing one run through six innings, Vazquez surrendered four in the seventh to end an otherwise solid outing. The Marlins scattered several singles early, but Vazquez gave up home runs to Jeremy Hermida and Hanley Ramirez in the seventh to end his night. On Aug. 4 against the Padres, Vazquez allowed just two runs over seven innings but took a loss.

The Padres' seven hits in the sixth inning Wednesday night set a single-game season-high for hits in an inning. The previous high was five, which has happened eight times. ... Will Venable had put together a string of six straight hits, all of which were doubles, before snapping that streak with a single in the seventh. ... Reliever Adam Russell made his first career plate appearance in the seventh. He grounded out. When first told he was going to hit, Russell thought it was a joke. "I thought they wanted me to get my helmet on and get ready to bat and then they were going to tell me to sit down. I kept looking back at the dugout when I was on deck."

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• 4 San Diego

On radio
• XPRS 1090, XEMO 860 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Padres (Kevin Correia, 8-10, 4.46) at Marlins (Chris Volstad, 9-10, 4.73), 4:10 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Padres (TBD) at Marlins (Ricky Nolasco, 9-8, 5.31), 3:10 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Padres (Mat Latos, 4-3, 4.06) at Marlins (Sean West, 5-5, 4.44), 10:10 a.m. PT

Adam Rosenberg is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.