SAN DIEGO -- With the spate of off-days and rainouts likely finished, the Padres opened a stretch of schedule on Friday in which they will play 20 games in the next 20 days against the Tigers, Rockies, Giants, Brewers, Nationals and Giants. With a roof in Milwaukee, the only chance of a rainout is in Washington and, far less likely, San Francisco.
Which means, of course, that San Diego will lean hard on its five-man rotation. Black said Friday that, following Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross this weekend against Detroit, left-hander Eric Stults will start Monday night against the Rockies and lefty Robbie Erlin will start Tuesday night's game also against Colorado.
Both Stults and Erlin started Wednesday's doubleheader in Cleveland, so Black could have gone either way with the two lefties.
The deciding factor was that Erlin threw 95 pitches in the second game Wednesday, and Black thinks he could use the benefit of an extra day's rest. Stults, in the first game, threw 90 pitches.
Because Stults has 74 Major League starts on his resume, and Erlin just 10, the Padres want to make sure to give Erlin every edge he needs, especially with Josh Johnson on the disabled list with a strained flexor muscle and not making significant progress.
"He's getting a little closer, but nothing really imminent," Black said. "He still has some discomfort. He's still working with the trainers and physical therapists.
"There's still some soreness in his forearm."
Maybin to start rehab with Triple-A El Paso
SAN DIEGO -- It still will be a while until the Padres are in one piece again, but outfielder Cameron Maybin shipped out to Triple-A El Paso on Friday and the club is hoping to see him sooner rather than later.
While outfielder Carlos Quentin and starter Josh Johnson are not close to returning, Maybin, who has been working at extended spring training, is expected to get a minimum of 20 at-bats for the Chihuahuas before the Padres consider bringing him back.
"Right now, he's restarting his Spring Training," manager Bud Black said. "He's in baseball shape. Now, we've got to get him in baseball-ready shape."
That will involve Maybin facing live pitching, playing nine innings at a time, sliding, hitting ... "the things you accomplish as a position player during 4 1/2 weeks of Spring Training," Black said.
Black said he would like to see Maybin, who ruptured the biceps muscle in his left arm while diving for a ball in early March, get "well over" 20 at-bats.
Quentin continues steady recovery from injury
SAN DIEGO -- While Cameron Maybin's return is beginning to creep onto the horizon, and while the Padres' offense works to shake its early-season slump, the club does not expect injured slugger Carlos Quentin back any time soon.
"Carlos is doing a lot of work inside the weight room," Black said. "He's hitting in the cage. He's getting closer to hitting on the field."
The hope is that Quentin moves onto the field to hit during the club's 10-game homestand against the Tigers, Rockies and Giants that opened Friday. But there is no timetable on Quentin's bruised left knee.
Black said that "hopefully within the next week" Quentin will hit on the field. "It's getting there," Black said.
Problem is, there is no treatment to expedite the healing of a bone bruise. So it's essentially a matter of waiting.
Headley not concerned by sore right knee
SAN DIEGO -- Third baseman Chase Headley has a sore right knee. But for now, it's pretty clear that his slow start pains him worse than the knee.
The good news is that the general soreness is not related to the surgery he had last fall, according to Headley.
"It's not any more of an issue than what you deal with throughout the year," he said. "You've always got something that doesn't feel very good."
Right now, more than the knee, it's his numbers that don't feel very good. He entered Friday's game batting just .125, and he was hitting just .125 (1-for-8) with runners in scoring position.
On the other hand, he drove home his first run of the season in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader in Cleveland, an inside-out flare that dropped in shallow left field between the shortstop and left fielder.
Certainly, it took some weight off of his shoulders and made him feel better about things starting the current homestand.
"Not only personally, but as a team we've been struggling in those situations," Headley said. "As much as for yourself, you want to come through for your team."
Overall, the Padres were batting just .133 (10-for-75) with runners in scoring position through their first nine games. They ranked 14th in the National League with a .209 team batting average and 15th in the NL with just 20 runs.
"I know one thing -- those averages won't stay there," manager Bud Black said. "They definitely need to come up."
They started to in San Diego's 6-0 victory over the Tigers on Friday night, and Headley was front and center. He boomed an RBI double in the first and smashed a two-run homer, his first of the season, in the sixth.
"He had some good swings," manager Bud Black said after the game. "You can see some good swings coming. He hasn't had it result in a lot of hits."
Headley spoke at length afterward about how nice it was to get some early runs for starter Andrew Cashner. But make no mistake, crushing his first homer of the season was nice, too.
"It was great," Headley said. "It's one of those things where when you're going bad, you look at the video and you think, 'It's not nearly as bad as it looks.'"
Friday night, it was far better than his .167 batting average looks.
Scott Miller is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.