5/23/2014 8:30 P.M. ET
Boyer makes long-awaited return to Majors
By Corey Brock and Will Laws / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres added a new member -- but certainly not a newcomer -- to their bullpen before Thursday's game, when they brought up right-handed reliever Blaine Boyer from Triple-A El Paso to take the roster spot of injured starter Robbie Erlin.
Boyer, who hadn't pitched in the big leagues since April 11, 2011, didn't waste any time in getting into the flow of things, as he tossed two scoreless innings of relief in a 5-1 loss to the Cubs.
Prior to joining the Padres, Boyer appeared in 18 games for the Chihuahuas, posting a 3.32 ERA in 21 2/3 innings innings with five walks and 13 strikeouts.
In his big league career, Boyer is 9-14 record with a 4.81 ERA in 233 games across seven seasons. This was Boyer's first callup to the Major Leagues since 2011, when he had a five-game cameo with the Mets. He joined a relieving corps that's ranked second in the Majors in ERA (2.23) and first in batting average against (.214).
Boyer was watching the new "Godzilla" movie Wednesday night when he got a text from Chihuahuas manager Pat Murphy, who went on to tell him that he'd be making his long-awaited return to the big leagues -- but not before toying with Boyer's emotions.
"He just slow-played the whole conversation forever," Boyer said. "Finally at the end he said, 'So, oh, by the way, you're getting called up.'"
Bench coach Dave Roberts was impressed with Boyer's outing.
"That was good, that was a positive," Roberts said. "He was throwing fastball for strikes, velocity was good, going after hitters. For us to get two innings out of him was good."
Boyer, 32, debuted in 2005 with Atlanta, where he was part of the Braves' division-winning squad that year. Boyer bounced around for a couple years before retiring after the 2011 season. After spending 2012 at home, he played in Japan in 2013, then signed a Minor League contract with the Padres in January.
"I wasn't coming back just to play in the Minor Leagues and thumb around," Boyer said. "I made my mind up that I was ready, and here we are."
While pitching in Triple-A, Boyer didn't allow a run in nearly a month, tossing 10 1/3 shutout innings with 12 strikeouts in eight appearances for the Chihuahuas since April 26.
But he'll have to get used to facing big league opponents on a consistent basis again -- even if he isn't familiar with most of the hitters he could face this weekend.
"I was just going over the scouting report looking at them. Half these guys, I don't even know who they are," Boyer said. "It's been a while since I've been back up here."
Missing Thursday's game a new experience for Black
SAN DIEGO -- When Padres manager Bud Black missed Thursday's game to attend the college graduation of his daughter Jessie, it wasn't the first time he's had to track his team remotely.
However, most of those previous instances during his seven-plus years with the team have involved an ejection -- there have been 18 of them since his first season in 2007 -- where he's had to watch the rest of the game from his clubhouse office by television.
But when Black and his wife Nan flew to see their youngest daughter graduate from the University of Maryland on Thursday, it meant a much greater distance between Black and his team.
"That was a little odd," Black said Friday. "When you get ejected, you go upstairs, and watch it in your office or the clubhouse, and then maybe sneak back down towards the dugout [if] you might want to help out a little bit," Black said.
"But it's different when you're 3,000 miles away."
The Padres, with bench coach Dave Roberts running the team for the evening, lost to the Cubs, 5-1, on Thursday at Petco Park.
Black did watch some of the game on MLB.TV and kept tabs on what was going on but left the game in the hands of Roberts and his coaching staff.
"Those guys were fine," Black said. "Doc, Phil [Plantier], Zo [Alonzo Powell], they were fine."
Buckner to get callup, start Saturday's game
SAN DIEGO -- After going the first six weeks or so of the season with the same five starters they broke camp with at the end of March, the Padres will tab their third different starting pitcher in a week on Saturday when Billy Buckner starts against the Cubs.
The Padres have yet to add Buckner, a 30-year-old right-hander, to the roster. He'll be added before Saturday's game.
Buckner was 3-2 with a 2.89 in five starts with Triple-A El Paso. He signed with the team on April 19 after not being with a team in Spring Training.
The team had considered giving right-hander Donn Roach a second start, but felt it might need him in relief Friday since Tim Stauffer, who like Roach is a long reliever, is being pressed into a start after pitcher Robbie Erlin developed soreness in his left elbow.
In the past week, Andrew Cashner and Erlin developed elbow soreness. Roach made a start last Sunday for Cashner and Stauffer takes over the Erlin on Friday.
Buckner has appeared in 43 games over the past four seasons with four teams and has made 23 starts with the Royals, D-backs and Angels. Manager Bud Black likes his experience.
"He's done this before. His experience, in his career, popping him in there, mentally we won't have any issues," Black said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Will Laws is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.