Eckstein on the verge of return to Padres

Eckstein on the verge of return to Padres

SAN FRANCISCO -- Padres infielder David Eckstein could return to the lineup as early as next weekend, though it's more likely he'll be back in time for the Padres' next homestand that begins Aug. 24.

Eckstein, out since July 21 with a right calf strain, has returned to full baseball activities and says he's ready to get back.

"I went through a full pregame session [Saturday] and I'm getting my running in," Eckstein said before Sunday's series finale with the Giants. "I've been taking grounders and batting practice for a week."

Eckstein is scheduled to participate in baserunning drills on Monday in Chicago's Wrigley Field. If everything works out, his next step will be playing in a few Minor League games.

"He's going to go through a good workout on the field in Chicago," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He'll need three games to get back into game condition. He's the kind of guy, if he were out for just the 15 days, he could come right back. I think it's been a little longer this time."

Eckstein has a .278 batting average on the season, with a home run and 22 RBIs.

"If everything checks out I'll go play some games," Eckstein said.