After missing the team's past 44 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Gyorko was reinstated from the disabled list prior to Monday's afternoon game against the Braves. He was in the starting lineup at second base, batting sixth.
Gyorko landed on the DL on June 6, retroactive to June 4, and was brought along slowly. He had to wear a protective boot to stabilize the foot. It was only earlier this month when he was cleared to head to Arizona to begin workouts, which started with the simplest of drills, including running.
"You never really know if it's right until you get out there and get on it. I went to Arizona, and I was out there running around. If you can run in Arizona, you can run anywhere. The fields are kind of hard at this time of year," Gyorko said. "But it feels good. I think we're past it."
Gyorko eventually joined Triple-A El Paso for his rehabilitation stint, hitting .294 in six games. He flew on Sunday from El Paso to Atlanta. Before getting hurt, Gyorko struggled at the outset of his second season in the big leagues, hitting .162 in 56 games with five home runs and 24 RBIs.
The Padres are hoping for big things over the final two-plus months from Gyorko, who hit 23 home runs as a rookie and signed a $35 million contract extension with the team in April.
"We need him to hit. ... He's a good hitter," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Where his average is now, do I think he's that kind of hitter? No. He's got a long ways to go to get to his lifetime average. He can play better."
One reason for hope? Gyorko's batting average on balls in play (BABIP) thus far is just .192, suggesting, among other things, that's he's been unlucky on balls in play this season.
"I don't know how much luck goes into it. I'm going just try to hit the ball hard. If you hit the ball hard enough times, good things will happen eventually," Gyorko said.
The Padres optioned infielder Brooks Conrad to El Paso to make room for Gyorko on the 25-man roster. Conrad hit .100 in 30 at-bats over 13 games with San Diego.