SAN DIEGO -- Mark Kotsay was going on and on late Tuesday night about all the preparation that goes into preparing to pinch-hit in a game -- getting your mind prepared, getting loose, riding a bike and taking a few cuts in the cage before returning to the dugout to await an at-bat that might never come.
But after detailing the lengthy process and the nuances involved in preparing to pinch-hit -- like he did Tuesday before blasting a two-run home run in the eighth inning of a 2-0 victory over the Brewers -- Kotsay sat back in his chair and smiled.
"It's all a guessing game," he said, smiling.
It's a guessing game in which Kotsay has become quite proficient. That hit Tuesday raised his career average as a pinch-hitter to .310 (44-for-142). Kotsay ranks fifth among active players in pinch-hits with 100 or more plate appearances.
Last season, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke called Kotsay "the best pinch-hitter he has ever seen." San Diego manager Bud Black has plenty of praise and admiration for Kotsay's ability to pinch-hit with this kind of success.
"I think .250 is a good barometer for a pinch-hitter," Black said. "It's arguably the most difficult role on the club to succeed in, because of all the variables. It shows the type of player he is mentally that he is able to go up in a small window of time and produce."
Luebke to disabled list with elbow strain
SAN DIEGO -- In order to get pitcher Jeff Suppan on the 25-man roster for his start Wednesday against the Brewers, the Padres had to make a corresponding roster move.
The one that made the most sense was placing their best pitcher, left-hander Cory Luebke, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left elbow.
On Tuesday, the Padres said that Luebke -- who last pitched on April 27 -- would miss one start because of the elbow. The decision to place him on the disabled list on Wednesday wasn't an indication that he isn't progressing well. In fact, the opposite is the case.
"He wasn't going to make this start [Wednesday] and moving forward and thinking about his next start, we want to make sure it has resolved itself," manager Bud Black said. "He feels better and he's encouraged."
Luebke (3-1) would be eligible to come off the disabled list on May 12 when the team is in Philadelphia.
Luebke first felt pain in his elbow in the fourth inning of his last start against the Giants. Later that night, he started a treatment program with the Padres medical staff and has done so ever since. It was only on Tuesday when his injured elbow came to light.
Suppan, 37, got the start against the Brewers and will likely remain in the starting rotation for the time being, though Tim Stauffer -- who makes his second Minor League rehabilitation assignment Friday for Triple-A Tucson -- could be ready to join the rotation soon.
To make room for Suppan on the 40-man roster, the team moved outfielder Kyle Blanks from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Blanks had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder a week ago.
Volquez shrugs off unlucky winless start
SAN DIEGO -- It hardly seems fair, but in each of his last two starts, Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez has allowed one run in 14 innings. So what does he have to show for those 197 pitches? Two no-decisions.
Reliever Andrew Cashner, who followed Volquez in each of those two starts, has thrown a combined 23 pitches in those two appearances yet has picked up victories in both games, including Tuesday's 2-0 win over the Brewers when Mark Kotsay hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning.
"I'm going to get him [Cashner]," Volquez joked after the game. "He took my win again."
Heading into Wednesday's game against the Brewers, Volquez was the only Major League pitcher with six starts who hasn't won a game yet. The other pitchers include Seattle's Felix Hernandez (2-1), Oakland's Bartolo Colon (3-2), Oakland's Brandon McCarthy (1-3) and Seattle's Jason Vargas (3-2).
"They're going to get me a win," Volquez said of his teammates. "I'm not worried."