Notes: Brocail fitted with new nail
Broken nail was limiting Padres reliever's pitching arsenal
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Doug Brocail wasn't exactly showing off his new acrylic fingernail in the Padres' clubhouse on Wednesday, though the veteran reliever was certainly thankful to have it.
After two failed attempts to fix the broken nail on Brocail's right index finger, the right-hander finally had luck this week when he was fitted with an acrylic nail that gave him the opportunity to pitch again.
"The first one we made was out of a teabag and super glue," Brocail said. "That wasn't working too well. But I'm good now and it's good."
Brocail threw a perfect inning in Wednesday's Cactus League game against Milwaukee -- his first action since Monday against Oakland when he allowed two runs on three hits over two innings.
Brocail first tore the nail on March 13 against the Rockies when he caught the nail on his jersey. This wasn't just a cosmetic nuisance, but a detriment to Brocail's pitches. He was unable to find the proper grip on his knuckle-curveball, leaving him with a fastball to rely on.
"With my knuckle-curve, I'm pushing down," Brocail said. "And it also became hard for me to control my split. So I only had one pitch to work with."
Brocail wanted to remain in the game against Oakland longer than he did, but decided to leave when it became apparent that his fastball could only carry him so far.
"I think I could have finished," Brocail said, smiling. "But it might have gotten ugly."
A healthy, happy Hensley: Pitcher Clay Hensley realized after the second inning of Wednesday's start against the Brewers that he had finally shaken the flu that had stuck with him for nearly two weeks.
How did he know?
"Today was the first day I went out and threw and I didn't start shaking after the second inning," Hensley said.
On Wednesday, Hensley made his second start since missing a March 11 start because of the flu, and he mostly cruised through five innings, allowing only a home run to J.J. Hardy in a 63-pitch outing.
Hensley struck out six, allowing one hit and no walks in lowering his spring ERA to 1.38.
The sparkling ERA wasn't so much a point of pride for him as were the no walks. In his last start on Friday against Texas, Hensley -- still feeling the remnants of the flu at the time -- walked three in three innings.
"That was the biggest goal for me today," Hensley said. "I needed to pound the strike zone early and often and minimize the walks."
Less is more: It seems that April 3 -- the opening of the regular season -- can't get here soon enough for Padres second baseman Marcus Giles.
Giles said Wednesday that he's of the opinion that Spring Training is not only too long, but that the more at-bats he gets the worse he is.
"I think the more at-bats in Spring Training you get, the worse you get," Giles said. "I think too many at-bats is not good for me. I don't like playing a lot in Spring Training. I need 10-15 at-bats. That's all I need. Some people need more. For me, that makes me worse."
In that sense, Giles likely enjoyed the tender right quad that kept him from the lineup for six games. He returned to the lineup Friday and is hitting .313 since and .355 overall this spring.
Up next: The Padres play host to the Chicago Cubs at 1:05 p.m. PT on Thursday at the Peoria Sports Complex. Greg Maddux gets the start for San Diego.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.