DENVER -- On Friday, pitcher Andrew Cashner made his final Minor League rehab appearance with Triple-A Tucson. On Saturday, Cashner was back in the Padres' clubhouse and in uniform for the game against the Rockies.

It marked the first time Cashner put on a Padres uniform since he went on the disabled list on July 4 with a strained right lat muscle sustained in a start against the D-backs.

"My injury took a little longer than we expected," Cashner said.

Cashner allowed three runs on four hits over 56 pitches on Friday against Reno. He will slide back into the starting rotation sometime next week, according to Padres manager Bud Black.

"For us and for him, it's good to get him pitching again," said Black, noting that Cashner could probably throw upwards of 70 pitches the next time he takes the mound.

Cashner started the season as the Padres eighth-inning specialist and posted a 3.81 ERA in 27 games. He later moved into the starting rotation where he had a 2.53 ERA in three starts before the injury.

"I'm ready to go," Cashner said. "I got my three rehabilitation outings in and felt good. I worked on some stuff, getting strike one, following it up with strike two, going after hitters early in the count."

Now he'll get a chance to make up for lost time. Black said Saturday that Cashner could potentially get a gig pitching somewhere this winter to make up for the innings he lost.

"This month is big for me," Cashner said.

Padres name Gasparino director of scouting

DENVER -- When the Padres first started to look at potential candidates to fill their vacant director of scouting position last month, assistant general manager of player personnel Chad MacDonald had but one goal:

"We were open-minded and wanted to find the best person for the job," MacDonald said Saturday.

MacDonald and the Padres didn't have to look far, as they tabbed their national cross-checker, Billy Gasparino, to fill the post vacated by Jaron Madison last month.

In fact, the Padres didn't interview any external candidates.

"He has the ability to lead, he's a good evaluator and he understands our expectations," MacDonald said. "We wanted to continue our continuity. Billy fit the bill."

Gasparino, who has been the national cross-checker with the Padres since 2010, interviewed on Tuesday. He was one of six internal candidates who were interviewed for the job.

"It became evident that we had a bunch of good internal candidates," MacDonald said.

Gasparino, 35, came to the Padres from the Blue Jays, where he was their national cross-checker since 2007. A former Minor League infielder, Gasparino was an area scout for the Blue Jays for three years and also interned with the Indians.

Gasparino, who makes his home in Venice, Calif., said Saturday that he's excited for this opportunity.

"I've been here and I'm very comfortable with the people I work with," Gasparino said. "We have a great staff. This should be an easy transition for me. We have a super-talented front office. We already have a good staff and a good process in place."

Gasparino was hired to replace Madison, who left in August for a similar post with the Cubs, where he was reunited with former Padres assistant general manager Jason McLeod and general manager Jed Hoyer.

Thatcher returns from DL, but surgery on horizon

DENVER -- When Padres reliever Joe Thatcher landed on the disabled list on July 26 with tendinitis in his right knee, the prognosis looked fairly grim.

"When it first happened, I wasn't sure [when I would return], because for the first two weeks, it didn't get any better," Thatcher said on Saturday. "There was a possibility I wouldn't make it back."

But after more than a month of rest and rehabilitation, the Padres reinstated the left-handed reliever from the disabled list before Saturday's game against the Rockies.

"[Trainer Todd Hutcheson] and those guys did a great job," Thatcher said.

Thatcher has been told that his knee will still require surgery after the season and fairly quickly -- not because he's getting married in December, but because the recovery rate is four months.

"We'll get it fixed," Thatcher said. "They'll go in and removed the damaged tendon and staple the healthy parts together."

Before going on the disabled list, Thatcher was 0-4 with a 3.42 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. The team now has two left-handed relievers in the bullpen, along with rookie Tommy Layne. Left-handed batters are hitless in 17 at-bats against Layne in his first 11 games in the big leagues.

"We feel good about those two," Padres manager Bud Black said of Thatcher and Layne. "But it's good to have Joe back. He feels good about the knee. Joe really wanted to come back."