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06/09/12 1:55 AM ET

Thayer ready to transition out of closer's role

MILWAUKEE -- After filling in for right-hander Huston Street while he was on the disabled list, Dale Thayer has fond memories of his five appearances as a closer.

"It was fun," he said. "I wasn't expecting to be put in that position, but it's pretty much the same. When I was out there for an inning, it was just about going out there and getting three outs."

In those five opportunities, Thayer was perfect, collecting five saves. Pitching one inning in each appearance, he allowed six hits and registered six strikeouts. Thayer said he liked how batters were more aggressive when trailing in the ninth inning, making it easier to get guys to chase, hence the six strikeouts.

Thayer isn't needed as a closer anymore and hasn't been as sharp since his last save on May 19. But he said that's not because he needs to make any adjustments when switching roles.

"No, not at all," Thayer said. "I'm not worried if it's a save situation or not, it's just about doing my job and getting outs."

Venable makes strides in return from injury

MILWAUKEE -- Padres outfielder Will Venable's gradual return from a tight right oblique continued Friday in Milwaukee.

After hitting off a tee early in the day, Venable, who hasn't played since he injured the muscle in his first at-bat Sunday against Arizona, went through his regular routine at Miller Park.

"I'm going to treat the rest of the day like a normal day," he said. "Take batting practice, run around and shag and throw."

The 29-year-old said he felt good after his work with the batting tee and was "encouraged by my process." Still, the pain isn't completely gone.

"But I can do everything," he said. "I just got to see how far I can go without putting myself at risk for doing something worse to it. That's really the only issue right now. It's not about tolerating the pain or not being able to do any movements. It's about making sure that I don't go out there and hurt myself more seriously."

Before the injury, Venable was batting .268 with 12 RBIs and four home runs, including a .307 average and three homers in his last 23 games. His .451 slugging percentage also led San Diego.

Although he said he feels ready to go, Venable didn't know when he might be back in the lineup. He said that's up to the coaches and training staff. Manager Bud Black also wasn't sure on an exact return, but he said Venable is "getting closer."

"We want him back in there," Black said. "But we're going to make sure the side is ready to go. He's starting to pass some tests that gets him closer to action."

Cabrera hustles for inside-the-park homer

MILWAUKEE -- With the Padres down 1-0 to the Brewers in the top of the third, shortstop Everth Cabrera hit a line drive that snuck under Carlos Gomez's glove in center field and went all the way to the wall, leading to an inside-the-park home run.

It was the first inside-the-park homer of the season for the Padres, and the first since Chris Denorfia hit one against the Dodgers on Aug. 5, 2010. San Diego now has 20 such homers in the history of the franchise.

Cabrera's home run was the first hit of the night for the Padres, as Brewers starter Shaun Marcum retired the first seven batters he faced. It was part of a 2-for-3 performance for Cabrera, which also included a walk with the bases loaded to put the Padres up 2-1 in the third inning and a double.

"I'm seeing some good swings," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He hit the ball on the nose three times tonight. He had a good at-bat with the bases loaded walk."

Short hops

• Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay made his first trip back to Milwaukee as an opposing player Friday since last season's one-year stint with the Brewers. Kotsay, who beat Milwaukee with a walk-off homer in the second game of the team's first series this season, said playing with the NLDS champion Brewers last year was "pretty special."

"Milwaukee and the fans, the organization, they'll always have a special place in my career," he said.

• Friday's starter for the Padres, Edinson Volquez, shut the Brewers out through seven innings on May 1. San Diego pitching has held Milwaukee scoreless in the last 18 innings played between the two clubs entering Friday.

• San Diego pitcher Micah Owings, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a right forearm strain, started at first base for the Triple-A Tucson Padres on Friday night. Owings pitched in six games with San Diego this season before getting hurt. The right-hander is a career .283 hitter in 219 Major League plate appearances.

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