Torrealba's bat forcing Black's hand

Torrealba's bat forcing Black's hand

SAN DIEGO -- A big chunk of the Padres' offense this month has come from somewhat of an unlikely source -- catcher Yorvit Torrealba.

Torrealba, who is riding an 11-game hitting streak, is batting .415 (17-of-41) in July with two doubles, one home run, seven RBIs and five runs scored. During that stretch, he has raised his average from .278 to a team-high .310.

"I'm just seeing the ball," Torrealba said. "I believe I have the same swing I've had all year long, but now I'm able to stay back a little bit longer and wait for the ball to come to me."

Torrealba kept his hitting streak alive in an unconventional way on Tuesday night, as he reached base on an infield single in the fourth inning after the ball ricocheted off of Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley.

"I thought it was going to be a ground-ball double play," Torrealba said. "Obviously, as soon as it hit off [Billingsley's] leg, I figured I definitely had a good chance to be safe at first. I just hustled and was able to make it."

Despite the offensive success Torrealba has had this month, he was out of the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Dodgers at PETCO Park and has continued to split time with Nick Hundley. But that's because the duo has been a formidable one, as Torrealba and Hundley have combined to hit .310 since June 28, which would be the fourth-best mark by a catcher with at least 50 at-bats in the Majors over the past 30 days.

"For Nick and I, we're kind of used to it now," Torrealba said. "Sometimes there's going to be days where you sit down and think about it and say, 'Oh, if I played every day, my timing is going to be a little bit better.' But overall, it doesn't matter when you play, you still have to go out there and do your best."

Overall this season, the tandem of Torrealba and Hundley ranks fourth among catchers in the Majors in average (.280), hits (101) and RBIs (49).

But even though the platoon situation has worked all season, is it hard for Padres manager Bud Black to not ride Torrealba's hot bat?

"A little bit," Black said. "This started in April ... we have an idea as we move through the week [who's going to start which days], but those guys have been doing great. It's been well-documented that those guys have both been major contributors, and Torre has had a nice little streak at the plate."