SAN DIEGO -- The Padres purchased Justin Germano's contract from Triple-A Portland on May 7, and the very next day, he was making his staring pitcher debut as a Padre. He immediately made an impact and took over their fifth spot in their starting rotation. Germano went 5-0 in his first seven starts, and then in June, he started to crumble. He got into a funk and has not been able to break loose of it. Since June 20, he has gone 2-10 and is coming off three straight losses. Concern began to build for the rookie. That's why the short-term solution is a missed start. Padres manager Bud Black said Germano will miss his next start, which would have been Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jack Cassel will replace him.
"It just means Justin is just going to take a step back," Black said. "I think it's a good thing for Justin to take a step back. He's approaching, in innings ... the number of innings that he's thrown has probably exceeded everything he's done in the past. "And I think physically, I think it might be a good time to miss a start and we'll re-evaluate later next week." Black said Germano will only miss one start and could not project any further ahead. Germano is 7-10 this season with a 4.56 ERA. "As you know, he's a big part of our early success," Black said, "reeling off five wins at a time when we needed to solidify that start. He came in and did a great job, 5-0 right off the bat, throwing great baseball." Cassel gets another turn: Cassel was told Friday that he would make Monday's start against the visiting Pirates. Cassel was recalled from Portland on Aug. 31, and later that day, he started against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He received a no-decision in the Padres' 6-4 win over the Blue Crew. He allowed three runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings of work. Cassel most recently pitched an inning of scoreless relief against the Dodgers on Thursday. Cassel said he was not exactly expecting the news, but was elated when he found out. "For me, if they see me a better fit coming out as a starter and give them five, six innings, then I'm 100 percent for it and I'm just happy to pitch," Cassel said. For 2007, Cassel has appeared in three games (one start) for the Padres. "For me, I'm going to take these next couple days and do my best to prepare for Monday and go out there and have some fun and throw some strikes and give us a chance to win," Cassel said. "I'm elated that they have the confidence in me to give me the opportunity to beat that Pittsburgh team." Movement in the roster: Infielder Oscar Robles will be activated from the 15-day disabled list Saturday. Robles landed on the DL on Aug. 31, the same day he was recalled from Portland, with a left wrist tendon sheath tear. "His 15 days are up," Black said. "He should be a full go." In the meantime, left fielder Milton Bradley is still doubtful for this three-game series with the San Francisco Giants. Hensley stays put: The Padres bullpen will continue to house Clay Hensley. Hensley saw time this year as a starter and reliever for the Padres. But because he was plagued with injuries during the first half of the season, Hensley has been recalled and optioned back and forth from Triple-A. Hensley has appeared in 13 games (nine starts) for a 2-3 record this season. And even though he was considered for Monday's start, Black said he will stay in the 'pen. "Clay will be pitching in relief," Black said, "using him in those situations, long relief or middle relief." Taking it back to the '90s: PETCO Park turned the clock back to the 1990s for Retro Night on Friday. The Padres wore their 1997 blue pinstripe uniforms for the occasion. That uniform was chosen in honor of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn. Gwynn, who won eight batting titles, was awarded his last title in 1997. Olympic and X-Games gold medalist Shaun White, who is a "California Grown" spokesperson, threw the first pitch. Before the game, Padres ace Jake Peavy received a plaque for being the National League Pitcher of the Month. On deck: The Padres start their second contest of a three-game set against the Giants at 7:05 p.m. PT at PETCO Park on Saturday. Brett Tomko (2-11, 5.70 ERA) gets the start for San Diego. The Giants will counter with Matt Cain (7-14, 3.78) on the mound.
Elizabeth M. Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.