Notes: Injuries frustrate Greene

Padres notes: Frustration for Greene

LOS ANGELES -- Khalil Greene's still waters run deep. As cool and unaffected as he appears, the Padres' absent shortstop is hurting, and it runs much deeper than the ligament tear in his left middle finger.

This is the third straight season Greene has missed significant time with digit issues, having sustained fractured fingers in 2004 and 2005 and a toe fracture in '05, and it clearly is wearing on him.

"Yeah, it's frustrating -- very frustrating," Greene said, his injured hand preventing him from taking his swings and making highlight-reel plays in the heat of a September race. "I try to look at it in different ways. It's nothing you can control, and I keep that thought in mind.

"The most frustrating part is the history of it. Two of the last three years, I've been on the field only one time consistently the whole month of September. That was last year [after missing half of August with the toe fracture].

"I've always loved games late in the season; that's when I think I've been at my best. It gives you a chance for redemption, regardless of the kind of year you've had. The focus is more intense from a personal standpoint. There's no need for any kind of self-motivation. It's right there in front of you, the challenge."

Greene made his reputation at Clemson while driving his team to the College World Series in 2000 and 2002. The Padres' first-round pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, he reached San Diego as an everyday shortstop in '04 and played 139 games. He seemed destined to surpass that this season, having played virtually every day before injuring the hand on a checked swing on Aug. 3.

Greene came back, aggravated the hand and hasn't been in the lineup since Aug. 17, as Geoff Blum has handled shortstop capably with veteran Manny Alexander in the wings.

"I never missed a game in college -- or in high school, or Little League," Greene said. "I don't try to explain it. I just have to understand it, and go from here."

As a pinch-runner, Greene scored the winning run in Sunday's dramatic 2-1 triumph on pinch-hitter Terrmel Sledge's ninth-inning single. Greene, who turns 27 on Oct. 21, will help any way he can, perhaps playing an inning or two of defense if necessary.

"There are a few things I can do -- play defense, pinch-run," he said. "I've become somewhat of a fan again, pulling for the guys. I just wish I could be out there and just let it go these last couple weeks."

Park, Williamson throwing: Chan Ho Park and Scott Williamson have been on the disabled list for several weeks -- Park since Aug. 21, Williamson since Aug. 26 -- and both could make it back on the roster before the end of the regular season.

Park, recovering from surgery on his lower intestine, threw a bullpen session on Monday for the second time, delivering 30 to 40 pitches, according to head athletic trainer Todd Hutcheson. Park has lost 10 pounds, and it's highly unlikely he can regain enough strength and arm strength to be considered for a starting spot.

"He probably could come out of the bullpen and throw two or three innings," Hutcheson said, "but we're running out of time."

Williamson, recovering from elbow and shoulder ailments, has also been throwing in the bullpen, and is expected to pitch in a simulated game along with Park sometime this week.

Pinch-hitting a plus: With the departures of Mark Sweeney, Robert Fick and Xavier Nady, the club rebuilt its bench, and was unsure how it would respond in pressure situations.

With a lift from late-season callups Sledge and Paul McAnulty, pinch-hitting production has been a major asset. The club's five game-winning pinch-hits match the Marlins for the most in the Major Leagues.

Sledge is 4-for-8 with two RBIs and five walks, and McAnulty is 3-for-11 with a walk-off homer and three RBIs. Another Sept. 1 callup, Jack Cust, is 1-for-2 with a clutch pinch-hit in San Francisco.

A regular now, Blum is among the game's premier pinch-hitters, batting .387 and a homer and four RBIs in 31 at-bats. Josh Bard, Rob Bowen, Mike Piazza and Mark Bellhorn have had their moments as pinch-hitters.

"I've done a lot of pinch-hitting, going back to my rookie year [2004] in Montreal," Sledge said. "It's a different mindset. You have to go up there in an aggressive frame of mind; you can't be overly selective, or your at-bat could be over quick."

Overall, the Padres' pinch-hitters were hitting .254 through Sunday with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 197 at-bats. The opposition -- .219, four homers, 22 RBIs in 192 at-bats -- hasn't been nearly as productive in pinch-hit situations.

"We've gotten some big hits from our guys -- Blum earlier in the season, and McAnulty and Sledge coming through since they've been called up," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Starting over: Chris Young thinks there might be a hidden advantage for Cla Meredith in no longer having to carry around the pressures attached to his scoreless streak, which ended at 34 innings on Sunday when he was unable to hold a lead for Young.

"Maybe in a way, it's a good thing everybody stops talking about it," Young said. "I can't imagine myself being in my first season in the big leagues, and every time out there, having that expectation of not giving up a run. He's been awesome."

Said Meredith: "I've had a lot of help from the defense, some luck, made some good pitches. It'll be nice to tell my kids about someday."

Coming up: Clay Hensley (9-11, 3.83) gets the call on Tuesday night at PETCO Park at 7:05 p.m. PT against Arizona's Livan Hernandez (12-12, 4.98) as the Padres open their final homestand.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.