Notes: Tomko impressing thus far

Notes: Tomko impressing thus far

DENVER -- The Padres have yet to announce who will start on Saturday, when the team needs its fifth starter against the Giants, though it's safe to say that recently acquired Brett Tomko has given them plenty to think about.

Tomko, who was acquired by the Padres on Tuesday, threw three scoreless innings against the Rockies on Friday, which has put him on the Padres' radar for the vacant opening for the back end of the rotation. Tomko struck out three against Colorado and showed velocity in the mid-90s with one walk in relief of Justin Germano in a 10-4 loss.

"It was nice," Tomko said. "I had a pretty good heater going and was effectively wild at times."

Tomko wasn't just encouraged by his velocity but how his mechanics are getting back to where he is comfortable -- and away from what the Dodgers were preaching to him this season, where they wanted him to cut back on velocity to try to get more movement.

"It feels good ... I can tell the way the ball is coming out of my hand," he said. "It's a big difference. And I'm not throwing across my body and my stride is back where it used to be."

Padres manager Bud Black -- who said he's also considering Jack Cassel for the start on Saturday -- likes the way Tomko has been throwing since joining the team.

"He was happy to get here and sort of revert to the style of pitching that he's comfortable with," Black said. "His velocity has been outstanding."

Now in left field ... : With Milton Bradley still nursing a strained right oblique, the Padres figure to use several players in left field. On Sunday, it was Terrmel Sledge. On Saturday, it was Brady Clark, who got his first start since June 7, when he was still with the Dodgers.

Clark went 1-for-3 in the game, which was only the third time he has played with the Padres since being recalled from Triple-A Portland on Sept. 1 when the rosters expanded. He could potentially be the guy who sees the most playing time with Bradley injured.

It's certainly been a strange season for Clark, who started the season with the Dodgers on June 20. Five days later, Clark signed with Boston and reported to its Triple-A team (Pawtucket).

Clark played five games for Pawtucket before leaving the Red Sox organization. The outfielder came back to his hometown of Portland and immersed himself in fatherhood, after his second daughter, Finley, was born on July 7.

"In that sense, it was perfect timing," Clark said of the time away from baseball before he signed a Minor League deal with the Padres on Aug. 20. "I had time to be with my family and get that time in."

Clark hit .339 in 14 games for the Beavers, a stretch that allowed him to regain his hitting stroke as well as get some confidence at the plate after a rough stretch (.224) while with the Dodgers.

"It was very important to get back to seeing live pitching again, regardless of what level it was at," Clark said. "I had been out of the game for a while. You always want to get some at-bats under your belt, so it was good in that sense."

Clark had a hit in Friday's game against the Rockies when he came into the game during the seventh-inning at-bat where Bradley was injured. Clark certainly does not relish the circumstances that could lead to more playing time, although he is excited to contribute.

"It's unfortunate to lose Milton, because he's such a great player. But for me, it's good to get a chance to get back out there again. It's been a long time," Clark said.

Giles returns: Second baseman Marcus Giles celebrated his return from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a start against the Rockies.

Giles was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 25, the day after he was upended on a slide that the Padres considered dirty by the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz. Giles ended up missing 14 games with the injury.

Black figured that Sunday was a good day to get Giles into the lineup, since he was hitting .467 against Colorado pitcher Josh Fogg. Also, Black said he doesn't want to run the risk of having his bench players get too rusty.

"The numbers [against Fogg] do look good, but you want to get him as current as possible ... you can't let the bench players get too far away from playing," Black said.

On deck: The Padres are off Monday but open a critical three-game series in Los Angeles at 7:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday against the Dodgers. Jake Peavy (16-6, 2.43) -- who will be pitching on five days' rest -- gets the start for San Diego. The Dodgers will counter with Esteban Loaiza (1-0, 3.86).

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