Notes: Padres activate Bradley
Right-handed reliever Brocail also comes off disabled list
SAN DIEGO -- On Saturday, Milton Bradley final had an answer for his teammates who spent the better part of a week wondering when he was going to be in the starting lineup.
"Guys have been asking me when I'm going to get out there," Bradley said. "I just want to get acclimated and become part of the team and play. I'm anxious to get out there and do something."
The switch-hitting Bradley got the chance on Saturday, when he was activated from the 15-day disabled list and put in the starting the lineup in left field for the Padres' game at PETCO Park against the Braves.
"I'm excited to get out there," Bradley said. "I have played in San Diego for other teams. The fans are into it, excited and looking forward to winning. ... That's what I'm looking forward to."
Bradley -- who hit fifth in the batting order -- was acquired from the Oakland A's on June 29 but was placed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique that caused discomfort when he tried to hit left-handed.
Bradley was placed on the disabled list on July 1, a move made retroactive to June 21. He participated in hitting drills all week at PETCO Park, and, after he took batting practice on Friday, marched into manager Bud Black's office and declared himself ready to play.
"As the week wore on, the discomfort lessened to the point where he was ready to play," Black said. "In these situations where the player truly knows how he feels, I told Milton to be as honest as possible. Last night after batting practice we spoke in my office, and he said he was ready."
The corresponding move on Saturday had San Diego sticking outfielder Terrmel Sledge on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to June 28) with a strained right thumb he injured June 27 in San Francisco trying to make a diving catch.
Also on Saturday, the Padres activated pitcher Doug Brocail from the 15-day disabled list and optioned reliever Justin Hampson to Triple-A Portland.
Bradley, a career .271 hitter, said that his oblique injury, suffered while with the A's, is something he'll have to monitor as the season goes on, though he's already been through that experience last season with the A's and knows how to take care of it.
"It's probably going to be something I feel for the next month or so," Bradley said. "I dealt with the same thing last year throughout the playoffs."
A healthy Bradley could go a long way in improving a Padres offense that ranks second to last in the Major Leagues in batting average (.241) and 25th out of 30 teams in runs this season.
"He's shown in his career that he's an offensive force," Black said. "He has power; he has speed. He does have an intensity through his at-bats that's going to help the club. He's a guy who has hit in the middle of the order. He's going to hit in the middle of our order, and we think he's going to be productive."
Gonzo's day off: First baseman Adrian Gonzalez experienced his first day off on Friday after starting 84 consecutive games this season.
Gonzalez, who hit a dry spell in the hitting department after going 4-for-47, needed a day to relax mentally and physically. He was in the lineup Saturday.
"Yeah, it was a good break for me," Gonzalez said. "I was watching the game all the time but just because I was in the cage and I was stretching and things like that, I wasn't able to be in the dugout.
Although Gonzalez had the day off, there was a slight chance he'd hit for the Padres, but only if it were a close game in the eighth or ninth inning.
"Once I got ready, for there was a chance for me to be there, I had to be there just in case," Gonzalez said. "If it was a close game I would have been in there.
"It wasn't as good as I wanted it to be since we lost. But, I mean, even if I would have played it wouldn't have been that great because we lost. The main focus every day is to win a game.
"It was good personally to kind of stay back. [Geoff] Blum did a great job at first [base]. It was just relaxing for me, and I was able to take a mental break, which was the purpose of it."
Black said the day off could have been taken earlier, but it just didn't happen.
"Yesterday was a good day for Adrian," Black said. "He felt as though he needed that, and it could have maybe been done a little sooner but he's such an important part of our lineup.
"We felt as though he was always one game from a 3-for-4. Sometimes, you've just got to realize it's better to take a step back."
Friar notes: Black wasn't quite ready to announce the order of pitchers for the second half of the season. He wants to see how 40-plus veterans David Wells and Greg Maddux come out of the weekend and how many innings Jake Peavy and Chris Young log in Tuesday's All-Star Game in San Francisco. About the only pitcher who won't be considered to start a game in the three-game series in Arizona beginning Friday will be Justin Germano. ... Black said that the Padres considered having Hampson make a few starts for Triple-A Portland but ultimately decided to keep him in the bullpen.
On deck: San Diego plays its final game before the All-Star break on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. PT against the Braves. The game will be televised by ESPN. Maddux (7-5, 3.96 ERA) gets the start for the Padres. The Braves will counter with Kyle Davies (3-7, 5.85).
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Associate reporter Elizabeth Botello contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.