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Black may get creative with lineup

Black may get creative with lineup

LOS ANGELES -- Kevin Kouzmanoff playing first base? Chase Headley back at third base? It could happen sometime this month.

San Diego general manager Kevin Towers said Monday that as the Padres move into the final month of the season they will play their prospects, which means manager Bud Black might have to be creative with the lineup.

In order to get rookie center fielder Will Venable at-bats -- Venable started his fourth consecutive game Monday, mostly because Jody Gerut has a sprained finger -- the Padres might occasionally give Headley a few reps at third base.

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Remember, Headley is a third baseman by trade and is in his first season as an outfielder. Towers also said the notion of Kouzmanoff spelling Adrian Gonzalez for a day isn't out of the question either.

But for the time being, expect to see a lot of Venable, Headley, catcher Nick Hundley and second baseman Matt Antonelli as the Padres look ahead with an eye toward 2009.

On Wednesday, the Padres will get their first look at another rookie, left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who will make his Major League debut.

Pitching matchup
SD: RHP Cha Seung Baek (4-9, 4.99 ERA)
Baek pitched well in his last start, a loss to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, when he allowed two runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. Baek left the game having allowed one run, but reliever Clay Hensley allowed an inherited runner to score in the inning. Otherwise, Baek continues to pitch well in stretches during what amounts to an open tryout for a spot in the Padres' 2009 starting rotation. Baek struck out three Diamondbacks and walked one in his last start.

LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-5, 4.56 ERA)
Kershaw got hit hard for his second straight outing Thursday against the Nationals, allowing five runs on five hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. In his last two starts, both losses, Kershaw has racked up a 15.63 ERA and pitched just 6 1/3 innings. Before that, his five previous outings were considered quality starts in which he went 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA. Kershaw was optioned to Triple-A after the game to add bullpen depth but will be back for this start.

Tidbits
Gerut missed his fourth consecutive game on Monday as the left middle finger he strained on Wednesday against Arizona has been slow to heal. Black said Gerut has been getting "a little better every day," but that he might not play Tuesday. Gerut did take batting practice in the cage before the game, and the Padres wanted to see how he came out of that before deciding if he can go Tuesday. ... Black on the decision to release Tadahito Iguchi on Monday: "I loved the way Tad went about his business. He was going to do everything in his power to help the Padres win." Iguchi wasn't the same player in terms of offense since coming back from the disabled list on Aug. 1 after he separated his right shoulder falling while running the bases. ... Black said he wouldn't be surprised if someone picked up pitcher Brett Tomko, who was also released on Monday. Tomko showed good velocity during his limited time in San Diego.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• 4SD/704-HD

On radio
• XPRS 1090/105.7 FM , XEMO 860 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Padres (Wade LeBlanc, MLB debut) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 7-10, 3.87), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Padres (Josh Geer, 1-0, 3.60) at Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 10-7, 4.49), 5:05 p.m. PT
• Friday: Padres (Jake Peavy, 9-9, 2.69) at Brewers (CC Sabathia, 15-8, 2.82), 5:05 p.m. PT

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

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