Padres working with limited options in tired 'pen

LOS ANGELES -- Following a weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays in which the Padres used their relievers for a total of 20 innings, the club mulled some of its Minor League pitching options before ultimately opting to stay put.

Right-handers Dale Thayer and Luke Gregerson, who have each pitched in three straight games, are not available for Monday's series opener in Los Angeles, Padres manager Bud Black said. For one night, San Diego will use what is essentially a five-man bullpen.

Should the club still need bullpen help on Tuesday, a callup remains possible. A solid outing from starter Eric Stults would make that a moot point, and Black jokingly projected no runs and 13 strikeouts from the left-hander.

"Stultsy is aware of what's going on," Black said. "The other relievers are as well. You don't know how it's going to play out."

The Padres used eight pitchers to beat the Blue Jays in a 17-inning victory Friday. Then on Sunday, they used seven arms in an 11-inning loss. In the three games combined, the bullpen allowed just four earned runs in 20 innings.

"It says a lot about each and every guy that goes in there," said right-hander Tim Stauffer, who is one of Black's options to close with Gregerson unavailable and Huston Street injured. "In those games -- it's a tie game and one run makes or breaks the game -- you really bear down. It's a little different than pitching in a six-run game. I think it brings out the best in guys, and if the guy before you did well, you want to do well."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.