SAN DIEGO -- There's no denying the Padres are off to a slow start this season, as they entered Sunday's game with a 4-12 record, their slowest start since posting the same record in 1987.
But manager Bud Black noted on Sunday that the team has already played a number of close games -- nine of them to be exact -- where the outcome has been decided by two or fewer runs. The Padres are just 1-8 in those games.
"We've been in every game," Black said.
Black said that he's been encouraged that the Padres have left defending National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw with no-decisions and that the team led Cole Hamels in the seventh inning on Friday and also defeated Roy Halladay on Saturday.
"It's great that our guys know we can match up against these guys," Black said, noting that it's especially important for the players low in service time to see the team can stay in games and, in some cases, beat pitchers like Kershaw, Hamels or Halladay.
Blanks set for season-ending surgery
SAN DIEGO -- A week after he landed on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder, Padres outfielder Kyle Blanks is headed toward season-ending surgery to repair a significant tear in the labrum of that shoulder.
This is the second season-ending surgery Blanks has dealt with in the last three seasons. In May 2010, Blanks had reconstructive surgery on his right elbow and missed the final four months of the season.
"It's not the end of the world, but at the end of the day I'm not going to say it doesn't [stink]," Blanks said. "But there are other guys in this clubhouse who have gone through the same thing. It's a little step back. It's another hurdle."
Blanks first felt soreness in his left shoulder in Spring Training and missed 11 games in Arizona because of it. He felt like he recovered and made the Opening Day roster. He had one hit in five at-bats before feeling the same pain in the shoulder during batting practice on April 13 at Dodger Stadium.
He went on the disabled list the following day.
"When I'm trying to apply things in my head to a physical task, I can't do it," Blanks said. "... I can't do what I want to do. It's not the pain or the soreness, it's just not being able to apply the things I'm thinking about to my swing properly."
Blanks has been told there's a four-to-six-month recovery process, though he won't rush his recovery and instead get ready for a return in 2013.
"We talked about it [on Saturday], and through everything we gathered and sort of had on the table, it made sense to get it fixed," Blanks said.
Blanks is a career .219 hitter in 425 at-bats with the Padres and has 20 home runs. He first arrived in the big leagues with the team in June 2009. He missed the final month of the season after sustaining a tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot.
He was the Padres' Opening Day left fielder in 2010, but hit .157 in 102 at-bats before suffering an elbow injury that led to surgery. Blanks returned in 2011 and opened the season in the Minor Leagues before being recalled on July 22, and he proceeded to hit .229 with seven home runs in 170 at-bats.
Now, 2012 is over for the 25-year-old.
Maybin's speed makes triples exciting
SAN DIEGO -- It's been said the inside-the-park home run is the most exciting play in baseball. But Padres manager Bud Black said that watching Cameron Maybin run the bases while legging out a triple ranks right up there.
"It's one of those things where, right off the bat, you sense it," Black said.
Maybin had a triple on Friday and another on Saturday to give him three on the young season. He had eight a year ago, and Black thinks that Maybin's speed and playing half his games in a spacious ballpark could mean that he reaches double digits in triples this season.
"I get the same feeling with Cam that I did with Willie Wilson," Black said of his former Royals teammate -- who had 147 career triples, including 21 in 1985. "Willie had a picturesque stride. With Cam ... his arm starts flapping."
Maybin, who is trying to work his way out of an early-season slump, said that he's just trying to make more consistent contact.
"It's a game of ups and downs ... but I feel I've mostly been down. But I feel like I'm making more contact," Maybin said. "For me, I've got to make more contact."
As for his triples?
"I guess it's pretty fun. Any time you can get to third base with less than two outs, it's exciting," Maybin said. "I guess people like to see me running the bases."