Benoit to avoid DL, targets weekend return

Benoit to avoid DL, targets weekend return

LOS ANGELES -- The Padres think that they have caught a break with closer Joaquin Benoit and his sore right shoulder.

Benoit, who hasn't appeared in a game since Aug. 13 due to what manager Bud Black has referred to as a 'cranky' shoulder, played long toss and threw off the bullpen mound Thursday.

"It looks as though we avoided a DL stint," Black said before the Padres faced the Dodgers in the finale of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Benoit, who played catch on Wednesday, said he woke up Thursday morning not feeling any pain and that led him to believe he was in a good place. Then, in the afternoon, he played catch, the long toss before heading to the bullpen where he threw for five minutes.

"It went well today, everything was fine," he said. "I think we're on the right track."

The Padres have only needed a closer once since Benoit has been unavailable and that was Wednesday as rookie Kevin Quackenbush earned his first career save in the Padres' 4-1 victory over the Dodgers.

As for Benoit, he won't pitch Thursday and Black said he'll likely try to steer clear of him Friday when the team opens a three-game series in Arizona. But if all goes well, a Saturday return appears to be on target.

"I think the problem is a little workload and [being] a little tired," said Benoit, who hasn't been on the disabled list since 2009. "I think a couple of days of rest and medicine did the trick."

Benoit took over as closer last month when the Padres traded All-Star Huston Street to the Angels. He's 4-2 with seven saves in 48 games and has thrown 49 1/3 innings.

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