Notes: Towers' cell ringing earlier

Notes: Towers' cell ringing earlier

PITTSBURGH -- Kevin Towers' cellular phone has been ringing more than usual lately, though that doesn't mean the Padres' general manager has any impending deal currently in the works.

It just means that now that the season is nearly two months old, teams with needs are starting to look closer for help, and those other teams who have deemed themselves to be non-contenders might be looking to deal players for prospects.

"It's starting to pick up," Towers said Wednesday. "There are some clubs that are a little more open-minded in spinning players off, maybe -- a lot of clubs like to be proactive."

Could the Padres be one of them?

Towers confirmed Wednesday that he's looking for a right-handed outfielder but, to this point, there's been few attractive options. And the teams that are calling him all want the same thing -- pitching from the Major League club, something Towers is reluctant to part with.

"People are asking about our bullpen," Towers said. "With [Clay] Hensley and [Justin] Germano now pitching good, they think we might have some excess. But depth is very important. We would like to keep our big-league staff intact if we can."

The need for a right-handed outfielder is a pressing matter because the Padres apparently have seen enough of left-handed Terrmel Sledge against left-handed pitching (0-for-18).

On Wednesday, left-hander Paul McAnulty started against the Pirates in left field against a left-handed pitcher (Paul Maholm).

"We've talked about that internally since Spring Training," Padres manager Bud Black said of the possibility of adding a right-handed bat to the team. "It's just not that easy. In a perfect world, you'd like to have a nice balance on your bench as far as left and right. It does show that we're heavily left-handed."

A Cameron sighting: It wasn't a case of Padres reliever Kevin Cameron getting out of Black's doghouse as much as it was a case of him just getting out of the bullpen -- literally.

On Tuesday, Cameron appeared in his first game since May 11 -- a span of 18 games and 21 days. Cameron allowed one run on two hits over two innings with one strikeout.

A stretch of strong (and deep) starts by members of the rotation and a handful of close games essentially left the rookie with little to do but try and keep sharp on the side.

"The first time I've ever really had to go through that," Cameron said of the prolonged stretch of inactivity. "That happens ... as the low man on the totem pole. It was just a matter of getting in there and knocking the rust off."

The run that Cameron allowed in the eighth inning on Adam LaRoche's single was the first run he's allowed all season. That run broke Cameron's franchise record of 17 1/3 scoreless innings to start a career.

"His role was one that was not coming up a lot," Black said. "Last night was the type of game that was Kevin's game. I thought he threw the ball fine despite the layoff. Overall, I thought his stuff was good and he was throwing strikes."

On the mend: Injured right fielder Brian Giles, on the 15-day disabled list with a bone bruise in his right knee, is traveling with the team so that he can work with head trainer Todd Hutcheson and his staff.

"There's really no timeline," Giles said of when he expects to return. "With the bone, it depends on when it's healthy enough to be able to tolerate the pain. ... That's the most frustrating thing about it, there's no timeline."

Giles has hit off a batting tee and done soft toss in the indoor cage the last two days but hasn't been able to run. The only cardiovascular activity Giles has been able to do is the elliptical machine.

"I won't really know until I go out there and run, and I don't anticipate doing that until Washington," Giles said. "Then I'll have an idea where I'm at with the pain tolerance."

Giles has been working with Hutcheson on a number of exercises to try and stimulate blood into that area of his knee.

Mac gets the nod: McAnulty, who was recalled from Triple-A Portland on Saturday, got the start in left field on Wednesday against the Pirates in place of Sledge.

It was McAnulty's first with the Padres since Sept. 30, 2005, against the Dodgers.

Both McAnulty and Sledge are left-handed batters, but Sledge -- who had been getting the majority of starts in left field since Giles has been out of the lineup and Jose Cruz Jr. has replaced him in right field -- is 0-for-18 against left-handed pitchers this season.

"He was swinging the bat well in Portland," Black said. "He's an offensive player. He's got what we feel are hits in his bat. I think tonight was good to give him a start."

McAnulty was hitting .277 with two home runs and 15 RBIs for Portland, though he was hitting .303 after a .233 April when he was recalled.

Friar notes: San Diego reliever Scott Cassidy -- who has been on the disabled list since April 1 (retroactive to March 23) with a strained right knee that later required minor surgery -- has been reinstated and sent to Triple-A Portland. Cassidy has already appeared in five games for the Beavers on a rehabilitation assignment, tossing six scoreless innings.

On deck: The Padres conclude their three-game series against the Pirates at 4:05 p.m. PT on Thursday. Greg Maddux (4-3, 4.20) gets the start for San Diego. The Pirates will counter with Shawn Chacon (1-0, 3.38). The Padres open a three-game series Friday in Washington against the Nationals at 4:05 p.m. PT.

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