Darnell patient with injury, but eager to play

Darnell patient with injury, but eager to play

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As much as Padres infielder/outfielder James Darnell understands the patient route is the best way to go for his strained left oblique, he's itching to get into a game.

"I would love to be grabbing a bat; lifting weights ... I love all of it," Darnell said on Wednesday. "... But I understand being patient so this doesn't pop up anymore."

Darnell has 10 at-bats this spring, and only one since Feb. 25 as he has been slowed by the nagging oblique injury. That Darnell has had two stops and starts during his recovery, during which he re-aggravated the injury, certainly hasn't helped.

With Chase Headley set to miss a month after fracturing the tip of his left thumb on Sunday, the Padres have been looking at other third basemen, including Cody Ransom, who is in camp on a Minor League contract. Logan Forsythe, sidelined with plantar fasciitis of the right foot, won't play until Friday.

Had Darnell, a third baseman by trade, been healthy, he might have gotten more looks at third base. But that's not how he's looking at it, even after he's had shoulder injuries in each of the last two seasons.

"I don't view it as bad luck. I just want to be effective and help the team win," he said. "In this game, you have to have a short memory and keep plugging away. All the other stuff is in the past."

Darnell didn't appear in a game from Feb. 25 to March 11, when he had one at-bat. It was at that time he re-aggravated his oblique trying to check his swing.

"After I aggravated it the first time, I started getting back into activity, and then I did it again," Darnell said. "Now they're letting it totally heal so I don't have any issues with it. We want to make sure it's really good."

Darnell, who will open the season with Triple-A Tucson once he's healthy, hopes to get into a game in the next week. The Padres break camp next Thursday and go to San Antonio for two exhibition games against the Rangers.

'I want to play the majority of the year, so you can't keep aggravating it ... you have to let it heal," Darnell said.

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