Carlos Quentin's nagging left shoulder has kept him out since June 14, and he's no guarantee to return on Saturday when the Padres host the Dodgers in the third meeting of a four-game series.
But if he does, it presents an interesting matchup with Zack Greinke on the mound.
Greinke returns to Petco Park for the first time since April 11, when he plunked Quentin and was promptly speared by the 6-foot-2, 235-pound slugger, provoking a bench-clearing brawl. Greinke suffered a broken collarbone but returned quickly after missing a month.
If Quentin does play, though, is he due for punishment? Greinke wouldn't talk about it, but one unnamed Dodgers pitcher, according to a Yahoo! Sports report from early June, said, "We will get [Quentin]. It may not be next time we see him. It may not be the time after that. It may not be two times after that. But we will get him. I promise."
The tension could be as tangible as the San Diego weather, but Greinke may have more important things to worry about. Since his return, the first-year Dodger has posted a 5.02 ERA over 37 2/3 innings, striking out 25 while walking 14. He changed his routine between starts, adding more long toss and throwing shorter bullpen sessions in efforts to build arm strength.
After averaging 92.3 mph on his four-seam fastball last season, he's averaged just 90.8 mph this season, according to Fangraphs.com. Greinke said he was unsure if it's a direct result of the time he missed.
Regardless of Quentin's status, Greinke should have his hands full with a hot Padres team that has won eight straight games at Petco Park and 13 of their past 17 overall.
With four regulars -- Yonder Alonso, Everth Cabrera, Jedd Gyorko and Cameron Maybin -- on the disabled list, the Padres have gotten results from unlikely sources.
"This is a great opportunity for a number of guys to get regular work," manager Bud Black said. "It's a collective effort by the group. We don't have that one player who can carry the team for a while."
The Padres' bullpen combined to throw all nine innings in Friday's 5-2 win after Clayton Richard exited with left shoulder pain after throwing just two pitches.
With tired relievers, the Padres will hope Edinson Volquez can pitch past the fifth inning for just the second time in his past five outings.
"For him, it's about the secondary pitches in the strike zone," Black said.
Volquez also will be pitching in the comfort of Petco Park, where he's posted a 3.38 ERA in 160 innings over his career.
Dodgers: First Hanley, then Kemp
Hanley Ramirez has started four consecutive games at shortstop, and the results have been spectacular. Perhaps the balky hamstring is no longer a nuisance.
Ramirez reached base safely three times Friday and has done so 11 times over his past four games.
The Dodgers now await the return of Matt Kemp.
Kemp will begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Albuquerque, where he'll serve as the designated hitter and then move to the outfield. Kemp, working his way back from a right hamstring strain, will need at least three games before being activated.
Padres: Go, go, Ciriaco
Pedro Ciriaco was an odd man out for the Red Sox this year, getting designated for assignment after just 51 at-bats in which he hit .216.
Getting regular playing time with the Padres after being claimed him off waivers, Ciriaco is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with a triple, a homer and three stolen bases in seven games.
"Crazy. I've been here for a week and I feel like it's been a year," he said. "They make it easy for me and everyone on the team, manager and coaches have been incredible."
• Padres second baseman Gyorko's right groin strain has almost fully recovered, and he's begun taking part in on-field drills before games. He could begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment as soon as Saturday and is eligible to be reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday.
• The Padres stole another base Friday and have a Major League-leading 66 steals this season. Vin Scully marveled at this one on the Dodgers' broadcast, considering Ciriaco swiped second off Clayton Kershaw, a lefty with a devastating pickoff move.
• A day after his career three-strikeout game, rookie Yasiel Puig went 2-for-4. He's hitting .455 (30-for-66) over 17 Major League games.