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08/19/10 2:46 PM ET

Padres sign Gerut to Minor League deal

CHICAGO -- On the day outfielder Tony Gwynn was placed on the disabled list with a fractured right hand, the Padres turned to a familiar face for some outfield depth.

The Padres signed outfielder Jody Gerut -- who played parts of two seasons for the team -- to a Minor League contract on Thursday.

Oddly enough, the Padres traded Gerut to the Brewers for Gwynn on May 21, 2009.

Gerut was released by the Brewers on Aug. 13 and cleared waivers and became a free agent on Aug. 17.

Gerut hit .197 in 71 at-bats for the Brewers this season in a reserve capacity. He hit .296 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs in 328 at-bats for the Padres in 2008.

Gerut will report to Triple-A Portland. He is not on the 40-man roster.

Broken hand likely ends Gwynn's season

CHICAGO -- Padres center fielder Tony Gwynn, who is having one of the best defensive seasons of any National League outfielder, is likely done for the season after he suffered a fractured hamate bone in his right hand on Wednesday.

Gwynn suffered the injury taking a swing in the sixth inning of the Padres' 5-1 victory at Wrigley Field over the Cubs.

The injury wasn't initially considered serious, manager Bud Black said, but Gwynn was given a more serious diagnosis after seeing a hand specialist late Wednesday.

Gwynn, who was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, was flying back to San Diego to see a specialist there. Black wouldn't comment on the exact severity of the injury until the team hears from the specialist.

At any rate, Gwynn -- who according to Fangraphs has the second-best Ultimate Zone Rating in the National League among outfielders (13.6) -- likely won't be able to return this season given the Padres have 42 regular-season games remaining after Thursday.

Teammate Everth Cabrera suffered a similar injury to his left hand last season and was on the disabled list from April 20 until June 19.

"He's been great," Black said of Gwynn. "He's made some game-saving plays and made some plays with his arm. He's been extremely steady and sure-handed."

Gwynn has struggled this season offensively, hitting .212 in 327 at-bats. Chris Denorfia has received most of the playing time in center field in recent weeks, but the defense that Gwynn has provided has earned him playing time and rave reviews.

"Just in the time when I started playing more in left field, to have him there, knowing he was going to take care of me on balls was comforting," Padres outfielder Will Venable said. "His presence, the ground he covers ... that's a big loss. It's disappointing news."

Venable had a good idea something was wrong with Gwynn when he had to leave the game after a brief consultation near the dugout with trainer Todd Hutcheson and Black.

"Tony is not coming out of the game for anything. I knew it wasn't good," Venable said.

Black said the Padres could add an outfielder to the roster, though that might not happen until Tuesday when the team faces Arizona at PETCO Park.

Venable and Scott Hairston have experience in center field, though the way Denorfia has been playing, both players had seen more time in left field lately.

Padres recall reliever Webb from Triple-A

CHICAGO -- When outfielder Tony Gwynn hit the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a fractured right hand, the Padres recalled reliever Ryan Webb from Triple-A Portland to add depth to their bullpen.

San Diego manager Bud Black acknowledged that there's a good chance the team will add an outfielder before too long. The Padres have an off-day on Monday before they open a series against the D-backs at PETCO Park.

Webb is certainly no stranger to the Padres. He is 3-1 with a 3.05 ERA this season in 39 relief appearances with the team. He was recently optioned to Portland on Aug. 7, when reliever Mike Adams came off the disabled list.

While with Portland, Webb allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Overall with Portland this season, Webb has a 1.10 ERA in 13 games.

Stairs still has it at plate, in field

CHICAGO -- Padres outfielder Matt Stairs was a tough man to find after the Padres' 5-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday, as he was in the training room tending to his 42-year-old body after a full and gratifying day, in the field and at-bat.

Stairs, getting a rare start in left field, drove in the first two runs of the game when he hit a full-count pitch the other way, off the ivy in left field for a double. One inning later, he made a diving catch of a sinking line drive to save a run.

"It's not like I haven't played 700 or 800 games out there," Stairs joked, given he's seen plenty of time in the outfield in his career.

"But both plays were nice because the catch saved a run, but it's always nice to get a few runs early. Getting that hit ... got the momentum for us early."

Stairs has started nine games in left field this season, one in right field and one at first base.

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