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6/12/2014 11:48 A.M. ET

Padres still looking for answers for scuffling offense

PHILADELPHIA -- While the Padres pitching continues to give them a chance to win, their offense is preventing them from doing so. The team entered Thursday's game against the Phillies last in the Major Leagues in batting average (.216), slugging percentage (.344), on-base percentage (.275) and runs (197). They're also last in the big leagues in hits with 462, 40 fewer than the 29th-ranked Cubs.

The trend continued Wednesday night, as seven scoreless innings by Tyson Ross were cast in vain. The Padres offense laid another goose egg against Cole Hamels, and in its past nine games, San Diego has scored just 14 runs.

Manager Bud Black chalked up yesterday's zero-run performance to the effectiveness of their opposing pitcher.

"He came out and had all his pitches working," Black said of Hamels. "Changed speeds. Threw a lot of good pitches behind in the count. We had a couple of decent swings, but not enough."

Thursday's lineup included six batters hitting under .210: Will Venable (.210), Everth Cabrera (.226), Chase Headley (.199), Yonder Alonso (.207), Alexi Amarista (.200) and Eric Stults (.071).

The 2014 Padres offense is also historically one of the worst producing offense in league history. Their 3.08 runs per game entering Thursday's contest is lower than any team in baseball since 1972, when the Angels (2.93), Rangers (2.99) and Indians (3.03) all averaged lower.

Stauffer to return to bullpen, starter callup is imminent

PHILADELPHIA -- Bud Black still hasn't announced whom the Padres will call up to start Saturday's game against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Right-hander Robbie Erlin has been on the disabled list since May 22, retroactive to May 18, and Tim Stauffer has held down his spot in the rotation. But Black prefers Stauffer in the bullpen, so a callup is imminent.

Likely candidates include Donn Roach, currently with Triple-A El Paso, and Jesse Hahn, currently pitching for Double-A San Antonio.

"I don't think we've told the player yet. I'm not the one who's going to tell him, though," Black said.

Kevin Quackenbush has pitched well recently -- he's turned in seven scoreless innings in seven appearances since May 27 -- but the right-hander still remains the most likely candidate to be sent down to make room for Saturday's starter.

"When we activate a pitcher on Saturday, it's going to be a tough move for someone," Black said.

Erlin, meanwhile, is set to undergo a second MRI on Friday.

"Going through the process to make sure that the doctors are seeing the progress on the ligament that they want to see," Black said. "Again, so they can review each scan and feel pretty good that it's healing and, medically, they feel comfortable that he can start a throwing program."

Black added that Erlin is still experiencing a little bit of pain, but it's less severe now.

"It's not to the point yet where doctors feel comfortable he can start a throwing program," Black said.

Stults moved up to give Cashner extra rest

PHILADELPHIA -- Originally scheduled to start Friday, left-hander Eric Stults got the start on Thursday. After a short outing on Sunday, Stults got a chance to get back on the mound quickly while granting Andrew Cashner an extra day of rest.

The Phillies, whose middle of the order features a number of lefty bats, is a better matchup for Stults than for Cashner.

In his last four starts, Stults has given up 18 earned runs in 19 innings pitched. He went just 2 1/3 innings Sunday against Washington, allowing six earned runs on eight hits.

"For Eric, it's simple. It's location," Black said. "It's just a matter of he's making some mistakes out over the plate and the opposition are really taking advantage of those. As opposed to taking a pitch, popping it up, mishitting it. He's in that little bit of a rut where every mistake he makes, the opposition is making him pay."

Although it's only a small sample size, Cashner has fared well at Citi Field, where he's slated to start Friday. In three career appearances at the Mets' home ballpark, Cashner owns a 0.00 ERA in 4.2 innings pitched.

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