No date set for Gerut's return

No date set for Gerut's return

SAN DIEGO -- Padres manager Bud Black insists center fielder Jody Gerut will play again this season, though he can't say when.

Gerut was out of the lineup for the 13th consecutive game on Wednesday, as his sprained left middle finger is still giving him trouble.

Black said Gerut was able to hit off a batting tee Tuesday, though he's still not able to hit during batting practice.

Black said earlier this week that he's hopeful Gerut can play in this weekend's series against the Giants.

Gerut suffered the injury sliding on a stolen-base attempt against the D-backs on Aug. 27. The Padres are 5-7 since he's been out of the lineup.

The injury to Gerut has allowed Black and the Padres to take an extended look at rookie Will Venable in center field. Venable entered Wednesday's game hitting .342 with five multihit games.

"We definitely have seen more of Will, but we'd still like to see Jody," Black said of the 30-year-old Gerut, who is considered a contender for the National League's Comeback Player of the Year Award.

At the time of the injury, Gerut was hitting .297 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs in 327 at-bats this season, his first with the Padres.

"I can see Jody on this team next year," Black said. "He's performed well."

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