Hairston injured his thumb trying to make a diving catch in center field on Wednesday in a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. An MRI on Thursday revealed the injury. Hairston will have surgery on Tuesday.
Padres manager Bud Black said Friday that Hairston would be able to grip a bat in three weeks, though that wouldn't be nearly enough time to get him healthy enough to get back before the regular-season finale on Sept. 28.
Hairston set several career highs this season, including runs (42), doubles (18), RBIs (31), home runs (17) and walks (28) over 326 at-bats. But as Hairston sat in front of his locker on Friday, none of that really mattered.
"I kind of walk away still kind of feeling like I could have shown more," Hairston said. "As a player, you always feel like you're never satisfied. All of that stuff is rolling through my head right now.
"I'll continue to work hard, hopefully be back and have a better year next year. That will be the focus, having a better year next year."
Hairston suffered the injury when his glove bent awkwardly as he tried to make a back-handed catch while diving.
"The way the glove was when I landed, it was in a position where my hand was really vulnerable," Hairston said. "Usually the glove is laying flat on the ground. It's one of those things you don't think about when you're running. It happens sometimes you get away with it and it's just sore, something it can be really bad."
Hairston, who hit four home runs last September as the Padres made their playoff push that came up a game short, accounted for himself well in center field, a position he had not played before this season.
"Overall, I think he adapted fairly well to center field. Offensively, he set career highs in a lot of offensive categories. He's a streaky hitter, when he's hot, he's hot," Black said.
Hairston's misfortune could mean more playing time for outfielder Will Venable, who was recalled from Triple-A Portland on Friday. Venable got the start in center field on Friday as Jody Gerut sprained his left middle finger on Wednesday.
Gerut is listed as day-to-day.
There were a handful of roster moves Friday. Aside from Hairston's move to the disabled list and Venable's promotion, relief pitcher Cla Meredith was also recalled from Portland as was pitcher Josh Geer, who will start Saturday against Colorado.
Meredith started the season on the Padres' 25-man roster but was sent to Portland on Aug. 15. He had a 2.70 ERA in 6 2/3 innings with the Beavers.
Geer was 8-9 with a 4.54 ERA in 28 games with Portland. Venable, who figures to get playing time with Hairston out, hit .292 with 14 home runs and 58 RBI.
Also, pitcher Josh Banks was outrighted to Portland and Wil Ledezma was claimed off waivers by the Diamondbacks.
Ledezma was 0-2 with a 4.47 ERA in 25 games, including six starts for the Padres.
Banks was 3-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 17 games for San Diego, including 13 starts.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.