Carlin was heading to the Major Leagues.
The Padres made a move Friday to give them more of an offensive boost at the catching position when they purchased the contract of Carlin from Portland. The Padres optioned catcher Colt Morton to Double-A San Antonio.
Carlin was hitting .387 in 11 games for Portland while spelling Nick Hundley. Carlin, a 27-year-old switch-hitter, has three home runs and 11 RBIs this season.
He replaces Morton, who had one hit in 15 at-bats after being promoted from Double-A on April 8 after Michael Barrett sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Morton's only hit, oddly enough, came in Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Braves.
Carlin will serve as Josh Bard's backup, much like Morton did, though his head was swimming even after he arrived at PETCO Park.
"It was one of the last things on my mind," Carlin said. "Obviously, I've always wanted to get here. But I didn't even think I was in the mix. I wanted to play well and go about my business the right way. It was surprising; I was shocked."
Carlin signed with the Padres as a Minor League free agent in 2003. He's a career .245 hitter in 426 Minor League games. Carlin called himself a "defensive catcher."
The Padres invited him to Major League camp in Spring Training in 2006 and 2007, but didn't this past spring after he struggled at Portland last season, hitting .220 in his 300 at-bats.
"I have a better idea of what I want to do at the plate," Carlin said. "I had a lot of ground to cover offensively to get here. I only hit .220 last year in a hitters' league. I just put my head down and worked hard. And here I am."
San Diego manager Bud Black wouldn't speculate how often Carlin will spell Bard, but he could get a start Sunday against the Rockies since it's a day game after a night game.
"Carlin was playing great in Portland in a backup role, which is sometimes hard to do," Black said. "All the reports [general manager Kevin Towers] was getting was that he was ready to his in the big leagues."
There's still no timetable for Barrett's return, though Black said he's is not only playing catch but doing so in the bullpen.