Pirela targets Friday for return to lineup

Padres outfielder enters as pinch-runner in Wednesday's loss

Pirela targets Friday for return to lineup

MINNEAPOLIS -- Padres outfielder Jose Pirela was not in the starting lineup because of a sprained left finger, but was used as a pinch-runner during Wednesday's 3-1 loss in the series finale against the Twins at Target Field.

Following a leadoff single by Hector Sanchez in the ninth, San Diego manager Andy Green brought in Pirela to run. He was caught trying to steal second and remained in the game as the designated hitter, though he did not end up coming to the plate.

Green remains optimistic that Pirela will return to the lineup Friday night in the series opener against the Rockies at Coors Field. Pirela did not take batting practice Wednesday.

Pirela jammed his left pinky finger sliding into third base during Sunday's series finale vs. the D-backs in Phoenix. He was diagnosed with a sprain after X-rays came back negative.

The Padres have an off-day Thursday before their three-game weekend set.

"Just kind of where it is, it's that left pinky finger, it presses on the knob of the bat," Green said. "It's tough to swing right now, so he will keep getting better and hopefully he's back with us Friday."

Pirela had reached base in his previous 10 games, posting a .281 batting average with a homer and six RBIs over that stretch. On the season, Pirela is batting .288 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs. Pirela has been a key factor in crucial situations, hitting .348 with runners in scoring position and .360 with RISP and two outs.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. He covered the Padres on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.