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04/06/10 8:02 PM ET

Antonelli, Luebke to begin season on DL

Padres' prospects expected to be back by early May

PHOENIX -- Second baseman Matt Antonelli, coming off a strong Spring Training in which he re-established himself as a player to watch, will miss the start of the season with Triple-A Portland because of soreness in the hamate bone in his left hand.

Antonelli hit .378 with one home run and eight RBIs in 37 at-bats with the Padres during Spring Training. Antonelli, the Padres' No. 1 Draft pick (17th overall) in 2006, is set to be reevaluated on Wednesday.

Randy Smith, the Padres director of player development, said Antonelli has been wearing a splint to "quiet down" the injury.

Smith said that there's no fracture to the hook of the hamate bone, an injury similar to the one Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera had last season.

That has Smith encouraged that Antonelli will be able to begin his season with Triple-A Portland in a few weeks.

Antonelli will be in Portland for the third consecutive season, though he feels he is much better equipped to have success there after reworking his swing last fall with the help of Tony Muser, the Padres roving hitting instructor.

Also, left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke will eventually begin the season with Double-A San Antonio, though he'll start the season the disabled list after straining his oblique in Spring Training.

Smith said that it could be early May before Luebke returns to action. Luebke was a combined 11-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 23 starts between Class A Lake Elsinore and San Antonio.

Padres' prospect Forsythe on the move

PHOENIX -- Logan Forsythe, considered one of the Padres top Minor League prospects, is on the move -- and it might be for good.

Forsythe will begin the season at second base on Thursday when Double-A San Antonio opens the Texas League season.

Forsythe, a third baseman by trade, will likely remain at second base, alleviating the glut of third basemen in the system, according to Randy Smith, the Padres director of player development.

Forsythe played some second base in Spring Training and fared well there. Padres manager Bud Black said he liked Forsythe's actions at second base.

The move will allow the young infielder and fellow prospect James Darnell, also a third baseman, to play together on the field at the same time.

Smith said Forsythe will take ground balls before games with the Missions but that the move is, for now, permanent.

"We know what kind of third baseman he is, now we'll see how he looks at second base," Smith said. "At least we'll have that question answered."

Forsythe, 23, hit a combined .300 last season between Class A Lake Elsinore and with the Missions. Forsythe had 11 home runs, 61 RBIs and had a combined .429 on-base percentage.

Darnell, also 23, was the Padres Minor League position player of the year. He hit .311 in 126 games between Class A Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore with 20 home runs, 81 RBIs and a .423 on-base percentage.

Stauffer adjusting to new role with Padres

PHOENIX -- Other than Monday starter Jon Garland, there was only one pitcher Padres manager Bud Black wanted to stay away from on Tuesday -- reliever Tim Stauffer.

Stauffer threw two scoreless innings in a 6-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday. He was able to go two innings in relief after Garland lasted four innings and another relief pitcher, Edward Mujica, threw one inning.

The Padres are still trying to figure out how resilient Stauffer's arm will be in his new role as a long reliever out of the bullpen.

"We'll see what it looks like. We won't know until we keep doing this," Black said. "... These guys have special arms. They can adapt sometimes. We're hoping that Tim can adapt."

Stauffer was one of three pitchers out of Minor League options to make the roster out of spring. He made the team on the strength of a 3.52 ERA in six games in Cactus League play. There was a thought the team might trade him to a team needing pitching.

Instead, the Padres kept him.

"I don't make management decisions. I wanted to pitch well and put myself in a position to make the team," Stauffer said. "I'm happy to be here and to get another shot."

Now he's adjusting to a new role.

Coming out of the bullpen is something different for Stauffer, who before this season had appeared in 142 professional games with all but 20 of them being starts.

Stauffer threw 33 pitches and allowed two hits in two innings with two strikeouts and one walks. Better still, he helped preserve the back end of the Padres' bullpen in a game that was 6-1 entering the ninth inning.

"I knew that was the situation I would probably be in ... coming in and going multiple innings. It felt like any other game," Stauffer said. "It will be a work in progress to see how it [arm] feels, but I don't see any restrictions whatsoever as far as being ready the next day."

Padres tidbits
Black said outfielder Scott Hairston, who didn't start either of the first two games of the season, will likely start Wednesday and likely on Friday against a left-handed pitcher, Jorge De La Rosa, in Colorado. Hairston played for the Padres from 2007-09 but was traded to Oakland last July. The Padres traded for him in the offseason, looking for a bat to combat the left-handed pitching they'll see, specifically in the division. ... Reliever Joe Thatcher, on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder, will throw on Wednesday. As Black said, "We'll see where we go from there." Thatcher was placed on the disabled list Sunday retroactive to March 26. ... Black said he plans on getting playing time for just about all of his players early. "I think it's important to keep guys as current as possible. These guys are used to playing in Spring Training."

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