7/19/2014 8:40 P.M. ET
Black confirms Benoit's new role as closer
By Corey Brock and Will Laws / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- With Huston Street, the Padres' closer for the past two and a half years, headed to Orange County to pitch for the Angels, San Diego fans will have to get used to seeing Joaquin Benoit jog out of the bullpen for save opportunities.
As expected, manager Bud Black confirmed on Saturday that Benoit will slide into Street's vacated role.
"Trying to fill his shoes is really going to be hard for me," said Benoit on Friday night after giving up the game-winning run in the ninth inning of the Padres' 5-4 loss to the Mets. "Hopefully, I can do what he was doing."
The real intrigue lies in who will take over the setup role now that Benoit has been promoted. Black indicated that he'll decide who pitches the eighth inning based on each reliever's recent usage and performance, though Kevin Quackenbush and Dale Thayer seem to have the upper hand for now.
"I think you guys have noticed that Quack's innings have become a little bit more high-leverage for us. He's pitching in more high-leverage games and he's performing," Black said. "You look at Dale, Dale's been a good performer for us, too. He had a couple of hiccups, but overall, his body of work has been pretty solid for us."
Quackenbush pitched the eighth inning on Friday night with the score tied and recently solidified his spot in the 'pen after being frequently shuttled to Triple-A during the first couple of months of the season when a roster move was necessary. He has 28 strikeouts and eight walks in 27 1/3 innings with a 0.88 WHIP.
"Quack was a guy who early on was identified by our Minor League managers and staffers that you could trust to pitch late in the game," Black said. "He now seems to be settling in and doing nice work."
Thayer saved five consecutive games back in 2012 when Street was injured, and this season has a career-best 2.09 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings.
Another name to look out for is Nick Vincent, who was activated from the disabled list (shoulder soreness) on Saturday to take Street's spot on the 25-man roster. Vincent's ERA has climbed with each month this season. He posted a 1.46 ERA in March/April and a 4.50 ERA in May before being hit hard in four June appearances, a span in which his season ERA ballooned from 2.96 to 5.67, where it currently stands.
"Nick had a very nice run -- he had a few bad games that elevated his ERA, but we still think a lot of Nick," Black said. "The next week to 10 days, we'll get him back into the swing of things."
Black also said that righty Blaine Boyer and lefty Alex Torres, who have been most effective when facing same-handed batters, could get time late in games during matchup-based situations.
Hinch proud of process behind Street trade
SAN DIEGO -- Assistant general manager A.J. Hinch didn't even need a moment to deliberate on Saturday when asked to pick the most difficult of his professional pursuits -- getting his first big league hit, winning his first Major League game as a manager or pulling off his first trade.
"Oh, the trade, by far," Hinch told MLB.com, with a smile on his face. "With the hit [in 1998], at least I could at least blame myself for it taking so long. The first win as a manager [in 2009], it was very nerve-wracking, but it's somewhat out of your control.
"With the trade, there are so many moving parts, and you're trying to hit a lot of different check marks."
Hinch certainly felt as though the organization accounted very well for itself after trading All-Star closer Huston Street to the Angels on Friday night for four Minor League players.
Hinch, who is presiding over the day-to-day operations of the big league roster following the dismissal of GM Josh Byrnes on June 22, was ultimately the one who made the final call on the six-player trade with the Angels, which had Street as the centerpiece.
Hinch had plenty of assistance, as current assistant GMs Fred Uhlman Jr. and Josh Stein, and senior vice president of baseball operations Omar Minaya chimed in. Professional scouts contributed reports on the four players -- infielders Taylor Lindsey and Jose Rondon, and pitchers R.J. Alvarez and Elliot Morris.
Hinch's relationship with Angels GM Jerry Dipoto might well have made for a pretty easy transaction as well, as the two worked together with the D-backs from 2005 to 2010. Dipoto was the director of scouting and player development while Hinch held several front-office posts, eventually ascending to manager in 2009 and 2010.
In the end, though, you had two individuals motivated to get something done.
"Jerry and I spent a lot of time on the phone, brainstorming about what they were after and what we were after. Slowly but surely, we got to the point where we were both meeting each other's goals," Hinch said. "His goal was to add Huston Street. Ours was to extract talent. It expanded from there, and the next thing you know, it's a four-for-two [deal].
"Once you get down to the finish line, relationships matter. We were both really being direct with the other in terms of communications and what we were trying to accomplish."
Even though Hinch and Dipoto had talked for well over a week about a potential trade, if you would have told Hinch on Friday morning that by the time he drove home after the game that a deal would have been done, well ...
"I've kind of learned in my time in baseball to expect the unexpected," he said. "You never know. At this time of year, with the state of how things are going, this being trading season, anything can happen.
"We had specific criteria we felt like we were going to need to trade a talent like Huston Street, and we accomplished that. I have a lot of pride in our process in how we're doing it. At the end of the day, if I can finish the day saying we acted in the best interest of the organization and felt like we did what was best for the organization moving forward in its current state, then I can sleep well at night."
Padres mark the anniversary of Gwynn's debut
SAN DIEGO -- On this day in 1982, Anthony Keith Gwynn Sr. made his Major League debut for the Padres. The answer to your next question is easy enough to answer.
Of course he had a hit. Two of them, in fact.
Gwynn, who passed away on June 16 after a battle with cancer of the salivary gland, played all 20 years and 2,440 games of his Major League career with the Padres.
That career started against the Phillies at Jack Murphy Stadium in Mission Valley, the Padres' home at the time.
Gwynn, hitting fifth and playing center field, went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
He had to wait until the eighth inning for his first hit, a double off Sid Monge. He added a single in the ninth inning against Ron Reed, but the Padres fell, 7-6, before a crowd of 33,558.
Those two hits were the first of many for Gwynn, who finished with 3,141. He went into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
On June 27, a crowd of 23,229 gathered at Petco Park for a memorial tribute to Gwynn, a moving tribute that included speeches by Reggie Jackson, Trevor Hoffman and Gwynn's agent and longtime friend, John Boggs.
• Robbie Erlin (elbow soreness) will pitch a simulated game on Tuesday. Erlin was in San Diego's rotation before going on the DL on May 22.
• Second baseman Jedd Gyorko (plantar fasciitis) will play in the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso on Saturday night. He is expected to play six innings.
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.