Notes: Giles returns to lineup

Notes: Giles returns to lineup

SAN DIEGO -- As the former pitching coach for the Los Angeles Angels, Bud Black has experience in the art of verbal petitioning, which probably didn't make it easier for Padres second baseman Marcus Giles to talk his way into the lineup Wednesday.

As it turned out, Black didn't have to endure an earful of lobbying on Giles' part, much as he did when he was with the Angles when a pitcher who had surpassed his usefulness and effectiveness tried to convince Black otherwise.

Really, all Giles had to do was tell Black how his bruised rib cage -- which had prevented him from playing for two days -- was feeling. After a three-way consultation with Padres trainer Todd Hutcheson, Giles was in the lineup Wednesday against the Nationals.

How's that for easy?

"Marcus and I talked this afternoon prior to posting the lineup," Black said. "The three of us [including Hutcheson], mainly Marcus, felt he was ready to go. In some situations, I place a lot of faith in the player because of our relationship. He felt he was ready to play."

Giles suffered the injury to his ribs on Sunday, two innings after he injured his right side when he broke up a double play. Giles subsequently had X-rays taken on his ribs, though they came back negative.

Giles was advised by Hutcheson that if he tried to come back too soon -- like Monday -- he could have injured the ribs even more, which could have led to a trip to the disabled list. Giles wanted none of that.

The Padres used Terrmel Sledge and Jose Cruz Jr. in the leadoff spot in the two games when Giles was absent. But it was evident Wednesday that Black was happy to get Giles back and have him hit at the top of the order, where he's hitting .327 this season.

"The medical department feels he's ready to go," Black said. "I feel very comfortable with that. And I trust Marcus. Players know what's at stake."

Sticking with Kouz : Padres general manager Kevin Towers said on Wednesday that the Padres will continue to invest their faith and playing time in rookie third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Kouzmanoff, who drove in a run with a triple in Tuesday's 3-0 victory over the Nationals, entered Wednesday's season finale at PETCO Park hitting .122 in 74 at-bats with five RBIs. His RBI triple against the Nationals was just his second RBI since April 14.

There has been speculation that Kouzmanoff might lose playing time when veteran third baseman Russell Branyan comes off the bereavement list before Friday's series opener in Miami against the Marlins or, possibly, be sent to Triple-A Portland.

"I think he deserves a little more time," Towers said of Kouzmanoff. "It's always much more glaring the first month. If this was in August or September, no one would be talking about it. He's a new player who has started out slow. We have veterans who have started out slow."

Kouzmanoff surely isn't alone in his offensive struggles after the first month, as there are several other notable rookies who are off to slow starts, like Indians third baseman Andy Marte (.179, one home run, eight RBIs), Royals third baseman Alex Gordon (.167, two homers, five RBIs) and, of course, the player Towers traded to the Indians to get Kouzmanoff -- second baseman Josh Barfield (.154, one homer, nine RBIs).

"I think if he would have had a bad spring as well ... but he swung the bat well in Spring Training," Towers said. "I would be much more concerned if I never saw [Kouzmanoff hit]. But I saw he was able to make adjustments. I think it's going to happen here."

And what if Kouzmanoff's bat doesn't respond in the foreseeable future?

"We're certainly not going to drive him into the ground," Towers said. "There ultimately comes a time when you have to do what's best for your club. But I don't think we are at that point now."

Pads and ends: The three catchers on the San Diego roster -- Josh Bard, Rob Bowen and Pete Laforest -- spent the time before batting practice Wednesday plying their trade, working on balls in the dirt and throws to second base. Black called the session "general maintenance." ... Minor League pitching prospect Cesar Carrillo will miss the rest of the season and likely will need Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery to repair a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the Padres confirmed Wednesday. The Padres said Carrillo also will seek a second opinion. Carrillo was 0-2 with an 8.62 ERA in 14 2/3 innings with Triple-A Portland. ... Of the Padres' 13 losses this season, five have been by one run.

On deck: The Padres are off Thursday. They'll open a three-game series Friday in Miami against the Marlins. Greg Maddux (2-2, 3.86 ERA) will get the start. The Marlins will counter with Dontrelle Willis (5-1, 5.35 ERA) in a 4:05 p.m. PT game.

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