Cabrera close to returning to Padres

Cabrera close to returning to Padres

ST. PETERSBURG -- Barring any setbacks, shortstop Everth Cabrera will join the team on Friday in Florida for the start of a three-game series against the Marlins.

Cabrera, who has missed 41 games in two separate disabled-list stints due to a strained right hamstring, played his third Minor League rehabilitation game on Wednesday with Triple-A Portland.

Cabrera went 1-for-4 with a stolen base on Tuesday, and Padres manager Bud Black said he received a favorable report from Portland manager Terry Kennedy about how Cabrera looked and felt.

"T.K. said he's running well, that he's confident," Black said. "We'll see how he comes out of [Wednesday's] game."

Cabrera played three games with Class A Lake Elsinore before joining Portland. The game on Wednesday was his third with the Beavers.

When Cabrera returns, it will allow Black more flexibility with his roster, as veteran Jerry Hairston Jr. -- who has made 44 starts at shortstop -- can go back to a utility role and spell third baseman Chase Headley on occasion.

Headley has started all but two games at third base this season, because with Cabrera out, the Padres haven't had a player they could use with full confidence at third base.