Chatting Cage: Maybin answers fans' questions

SAN DIEGO -- Cameron Maybin was held out of the Padres lineup for a second straight game on Saturday in an attempt to fix his offensive struggles.

The team's starting center fielder has scuffled thus far this season, going 2-for-27 with four strikeouts. An .074 average has worn on the talented 25-year old, and hitting coaches Phil Plantier and Alonzo Powell have been charged with getting him straightened out during the two days off.

"Cam needs to take a couple steps back," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The hitting coaches are working on some things to get him back on track and feeling good about his at-bats again. Hopefully that will translate to some base hits."

Maybin will be back in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Rockies.

Headley expected to return next week

SD@LAA: Headley jams thumb breaking up double play

SAN DIEGO -- Chase Headley was back in town Saturday to be honored for last season's accomplishments.

The Padres third baseman took a break from his Minor League rehab assignment to receive his 2012 Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards during a pregame ceremony, but positive news about his playing future came a couple hours before.

Headley's review of Friday's assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore was glowing, more for the experience than a 1-for-3 night, during which he doubled a sharp liner to left as a designated hitter.

Headley has a checklist of unscripted moments that test the progress of his fractured left thumb, and breaking his bat after getting jammed on the knuckles was crossed off Friday night. So too was the jarring sensation that accompanies hitting off the end of the bat.

The final tests come on defense, which he will play on Sunday and likely Monday for Lake Elsinore. Headley said that doesn't guarantee he'll return the following day against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Padres manager Bud Black wouldn't eliminate the possibility of a Tuesday return, but he insists that Headley is "truly day to day."

Headley and Black both said that significant progress is being made.

"Friday's appearance couldn't have gone better, considering the circumstances," Headley said. "The remaining issues come on defense, with hard-hit line drives and back-handing grounders where I have to squeeze the glove really hard. I've made some progress in that regard, but I have a little bit left to work through."

Headley wants to rejoin the Padres as soon as possible, but insists the team's struggles and Carlos Quentin's looming suspension for a bench-clearing brawl on Thursday will not cause him to rush his return.

"You can't let it," Headley said. "I would want to be back quickly if we were 15-0 or if we're in the situation we're in now. I want to help the team as soon as I can, but I have to make sure I'm physically ready to do that. It doesn't do anybody any good to come back if I'm not able and confident."

A date hasn't been set, but Headley is expected back in the lineup next week, barring a setback.

"As a group, we're making sure that he's progressing and feeling where he needs to be as he's approaching his return," Black said. "As far as an expected date of return, we can't give you one. We do know that he felt good yesterday and he's gonna have a good workout. We'll discuss Monday what to do moving forward."

Ruling on Quentin's appeal could come Sunday

LAD@SD: Quentin on what led to incident at Petco Park

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres expect a ruling on Carlos Quentin's appealed eight-game suspension on Sunday.

Manager Bud Black said the league will soon issue a ruling on the issue, which emanated from Quentin's role in Thursday's bench-clearing brawl with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Quentin charged pitcher Zack Greinke, whose collarbone was broken in the fracas.

Quentin appealed the suspension, which would take effect immediately following MLB's final ruling. The Padres play a three-game series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles starting Monday.

Quentin chose not to comment on the punishment, which was handed down during Friday's loss to the Rockies, citing the ongoing appeal process.

Quentin was not in Saturday's starting lineup, both in deference to a left-handed-heavy lineup against right-handed Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin and a stressful period since the brawl. Quentin went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Friday.

"Carlos has a lot going on right now," Padres manager Bud Black said. "His at-bats weren't great yesterday."

In the eighth inning of Saturday's 9-5 loss, Quentin came on to pinch-hit with two runners on base and one out, but he fouled out to the catcher on the first pitch.

Padres pushing it on the bases

LAD@SD: Venable clears the bases with a triple

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres were aggressive on the basepaths last season, with positive results. They swiped 155 and were caught just 46 times.

In this very early season, the percentage isn't as good. The Padres entered play Saturday 3-for-7 in steals, but that's mostly due to getting caught three times by the Rockies on Friday.

The situation must be right to gamble on stealing a base -- even with speedy weapons like outfielder Will Venable and a National League stolen-base champ in shortstop Everth Cabrera -- but the Padres have to stay more aggressive than most with an offense that's struggled early on.

"We have to push things a bit, especially with where our offense is right now," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I don't have a problem with our basestealers or their approach. That's fine. But we also have a reputation for being aggressive on the basepaths, especially with certain guys, so the opposition is on alert.

"We've had several close plays and been called out, but we have to keep playing that way. We can't wait for home runs or the big inning. We have to push that and make sure that teams are aware of our speed and our aggressiveness."

Cabrera was caught stealing third for the third out of the third inning with the Padres trailing 5-2 in an eventual 9-5 loss on Saturday.

Worth noting

• Former Padres catcher Benito Santiago was on hand Saturday to give third baseman Chase Headley his 2012 Silver Slugger Award, in the same pregame ceremony when Headley was given a Gold Glove.

Santiago, the 1987 National League Rookie of the Year, also won both awards in the same season (1988, '90) as did Tony Gwynn ('86, '87, '89) and Ken Caminiti ('96).

• Padres catcher Nick Hundley tied a career high on Friday with his third consecutive multi-hit game.

• Chris Denorfia extended his hitting streak to nine games on Saturday. He has a hit in each game he's played this season. His career best is 12 games (June 2012).

• Jesus Guzman's second big league game at third base didn't go as well as his first. During Friday's initial foray at the position, Guzman went 1-for-3 and didn't make an error in the field.

Saturday's start didn't go so well. He struck out in the first and made two fielding errors in the third. The first led off the inning and doubled the impact of Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario's home run. The second didn't cause damage, but his throw was nowhere close to first base.

He was moved to left field in the fourth inning, where he couldn't come up with a line drive at the warning track.

Mark Kostay sustained a hamstring strain in Saturday's game and was removed in the fourth inning. It is considered mild, but he'll miss some time while undergoing treatment.