Back strain lands Venable on DL

Back strain lands Venable on DL

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres placed outfielder Will Venable on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with a lower back strain (retroactive to July 2) and recalled outfielder Aaron Cunningham from Triple-A Portland.

Venable has been having troubles with his back throughout the week and has been in and out of the starting lineup. After missing games against the Rockies on Tuesday and Wednesday, Venable started in right field on Thursday against the Astros, but he was a late scratch from Friday's contest after he aggravated the injury in the batting cage prior to the game.

"Thursday [my back] felt fine, and then [Friday] I came to the ballpark feeling fine, did my treatment, and was hitting in the cage and did a couple things that didn't feel right," Venable said. "[I] did some stretching, and it was getting better. And then the last stretch I had to do, I needed to put my shoes on, and just reaching down to my shoes set [my back] off. There are too many little things setting it off, so I've got to back off."

Venable, who has made 54 starts in right field this season, is batting .238 but was starting to make strides at the plate during the past two weeks. He had nine hits in his past 29 plate appearances, including four home runs, before being put on the disabled list.

"I was pretty upset about it, but it's just part of the game," Venable said. "I'm confident that I'll be able to pick up right where I left off with the adjustments [to my swing] I was making. I feel like I'll be fine."

Padres manager Bud Black said the timing of the All-Star break, which begins on July 12, was part of the reasoning behind putting Venable on the disabled list.

"It made sense not to try to either rush him or be impatient when we're looking at four days there at the break," Black said. "This looked to be at least 7-10 days to be playable."

Cunningham was optioned to Portland when Matt Stairs was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, but his stay in the Northwest was short. He played on Friday in Tacoma, going 2-for-2 as the designated hitter, before returning to San Diego in time for Saturday's game.

"I'm waiting for someone to not notice I was even gone," Cunningham joked. "I said hi to my friends [who play for Portland] and came back. I'm happy to be back."

Cunningham is 9-for-31 in 13 games for the Padres this season with a grand slam.

Chris Denorfia made his second consecutive start in right field on Saturday and batted eighth. He went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts on Friday.