SAN DIEGO -- Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko insists he has not quite rediscovered the early-season groove he felt prior to sustaining a June groin injury that kept him out of action for a month.
But Gyorko's recent numbers tell another story.
With his two-homer game Friday night -- the first of his career, Gyorko moved past Braves catcher Evan Gattis for the rookie home run lead with 16. Entering play Saturday, Gyorko's August slugging percentage (.676) and OPS (.962) were his highest of any month.
"I was chasing some balls out of the zone when I first came back, and that was getting me in trouble," Gyorko said. "I was getting myself out in hitter's counts."
After returning from the groin injury July 12, Gyorko struggled, hitting just .100 without an extra-base hit in 50 July at-bats.
He attributed his poor showing at the plate to a lack of comfort in the batter's box -- something that no longer seems to be plaguing him.
"When your timing's not right, nothing seems to be going right," Gyorko said. "You're not seeing the ball as long as you'd like; you jump at the ball a little bit. Just let the ball travel to you."
Quentin improves as Padres remain cautious
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres finally got a bit of good news regarding injured left fielder Carlos Quentin on Saturday.
Though Quentin did not go through any running drills on the field, his bum right knee was feeling better after some treatment, manager Bud Black said.
"Because of the marked improvement -- how he's feeling -- we're a little bit more positive than we were a few days ago," Black said.
Earlier this week, Black had put the prospects of a Quentin return this season at 50-50, and Friday he addressed the possibility of offseason surgery -- which would be Quentin's third knee operation in two years.
Even with Saturday's positive turn, the Padres are still exercising caution with Quentin, who leads the club with an .855 OPS and was hitting .275 with 13 homers. He has played in just 82 games this year after playing in 86 in 2012.
"Quentin is doing some work on the treadmill inside," Black said. "He's progressing so well that we want to make sure this track of improvement continues."
In other Padres injury news, center fielder Cameron Maybin will head to Cincinnati to see Dr. Tim Kremchek for a second opinion on the strained PCL in his left knee. Maybin, who has played in just 14 games this year after averaging 142 in the previous two seasons, will most likely be evaluated Tuesday.
Meanwhile, outfielder Kyle Blanks (Achilles tendinitis) is headed to Triple-A Tucson as expected, and he will begin his rehab stint there Sunday. If all goes well, the Padres expect to have Blanks back at the beginning of September.
Brach re-entering Majors with confidence
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres recalled reliever Brad Brach from Triple-A Tucson on Saturday to replace Edinson Volquez on the active roster.
Brach, a 27-year-old right-hander, began his fourth stint with the big league club this season Saturday night against the Cubs. In 25 appearances for the Padres, Brach posted a 3.97 ERA.
The New Jersey native spent time at Triple-A Tucson perfecting his follow-through, making certain he always finished toward home plate. But the most important adjustment Brach said he made with the Tucson Padres was between the ears.
"Confidence was a big thing -- just being confident in myself," Brach said. "It's been a very up-and-down year, and confidence has been hard to keep."
Manager Bud Black said that would be the key for Brach, who has walked 11 hitters in 22 2/3 innings this season.
"Like for all pitchers, especially for guys that are trying to re-establish themselves in the Major Leagues, just [throw] first-pitch strikes, get ahead, put guys away," Black said. "Brad's got the stuff."