7/12/2013 2:04 A.M. ET
Alonso likely to return from DL on Friday
By Corey Brock and Jamal Collier / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Yonder Alonso missed his 34rd consecutive game Thursday while he remains on the disabled list with a broken bone in his right hand.
There's a good chance there won't be a 35th missed game.
Manager Bud Black said there's a "high probability" Alonso will be reinstated from the DL in time to start Friday against the Giants at Petco Park.
Alonso, who landed on the DL on June 6 (retroactive to May 31) with a fracture in his hand, played in his fourth Minor League game with Triple-A Tucson on Thursday as part of his rehabilitation assignment.
Alonso, who had six hits in his first 11 at-bats with Tucson, was hitting .284 in 54 games with six home runs and 29 RBIs before landing on the DL.
"Physically, he's doing well," Black said. "The hand is fine, there's no pain. The swings are better. He's gotten some hits, not a lot of them hard contact. But he swung the bat better last night, he used his lower half and it's much more indicative of the swings we expect when he comes back."
Second baseman Jedd Gyorko -- on the disabled list since June 10 with a strained right groin -- had two hits in his first rehabilitation game Wednesday with Class A Lake Elsinore. He will play Thursday for the Storm and then Friday with Tucson in a game in Las Vegas.
Black was asked why he wouldn't consider simply allowing Alonso and Gyorko to sit these last games before the All-Star break then turn them loose in the second half.
"Every game is important; if guys are healthy and we think they're ready to contribute and help us win, we'll pull the trigger," Black said. "But we've got to first make sure everyone is ready. It's why we have put a lot of eyes and a lot of observations on our players."
The Padres will need to make some notable moves in order to get Alonso and Gyorko back on the roster. Black said the team was still going through its options as of Thursday afternoon.
Richard to have surgery, won't return this year
SAN DIEGO -- Pitcher Clayton Richard will have season-ending surgery to his left shoulder as soon as next week, though there is some upside to his malady.
Richard, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 22, will have surgery to essentially shave down part of his left clavicle so he doesn't encounter future problems with his acromioclavicular joint.
The AC joint is located at the junction of the shoulder and clavicle.
The good news is that an MRI showed no damage to the AC joint in Richard's shoulder. Given the timing of the surgery, though, there wouldn't be enough time for rest and rehabilitation in time for him to return during the regular season.
"It's never good to have surgery, but it's nice that it's not necessarily in the shoulder itself," Richard said.
Richard started a game June 21 against the Dodgers but left after throwing two pitches. He's been on the disabled list ever since. At the time, his injury was termed a left shoulder strain.
The team will likely place Richard on the 60-day disabled list Friday to make room for Friday's starter, Sean O'Sullivan, who was with Triple-A Tucson.
As for Richard, he will finish the year with a 2-5 record and a 7.01 ERA in 12 games, including 11 starts.
Padres won't be buyers without improvement
SAN DIEGO -- Less than three weeks ago, the Padres were doing much more than just considering the option of adding pitching before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
However, a recent swoon -- the Padres have dropped 11 of their last 12 games -- has San Diego in a much different place today.
"It has changed," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. "We were very aggressive in kicking the tires. The prices we heard were very high."
As recently as June 17, the Padres were 36-34 and just one game back in the competitive National League West. They entered play Thursday with a 41-51 record, 6 1/2 games back in the NL West.
The Padres would still like to improve their pitching for the second half but are wary about parting with prospects for a rental situation. If they can obtain a pitcher they can control beyond 2013, that might be something they're interested in.
But for now, the team needs to play better before Byrnes thinks again about making a deal.
"Now, we need to climb back in it," Byrnes said.
Starting for Padres is O'Sullivan's 'dream come true'
SAN DIEGO -- Pitcher Sean O'Sullivan has made 34 career starts in the Major Leagues with the Angels and Royals, but none since 2011.
On Friday, he'll make his first start as a member of the Padres, the team the San Diego native grew up rooting for as a kid before going on to play at Valhalla High School and Grossmont College.
"A dream come true is the only way I can describe it," he said prior to Thursday's game, already one of the first players dressed in uniform for pregame warmups. "I always dreamt as a little kid about putting this uniform on, so it's a special day."
When O'Sullivan found out he would make the start Friday, it surprised him. He knew the spot in the rotation was open, and he'd pitched well at Triple-A Tucson with a 7-4 record and 3.88 ERA in 18 starts. He pitched well in Spring Training with a 1.35 ERA in 13 1/3 innings.
But he thought one of the other pitchers at Tucson that the Padres have already used in the Majors this season would get the call. Besides, he wasn't even on the 40-man roster.
"I wasn't expecting it, so it's kind of a great way to be caught off guard," he said.
The Padres also will have to make a corresponding move before Friday's game to add O'Sullivan to the roster.
O'Sullivan only reserved tickets for his family Thursday, but he has already heard from other friends that they're buying tickets. He admitted with all the excitement of pitching in his hometown, it will certainly be hard not to put any added pressure on himself.
"It's hard not to want to do so well," O'Sullivan said. "I'll try to put that as far back in as I can and go out there and play baseball."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.