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Luebke gaining confidence with variety of pitches

With the Padres rotation in disarray less than a week into the season, Cory Luebke will look to be a stabilizing force when the team squares off against the D-backs at Petco Park on Wednesday.

The latest bullet came Tuesday, when manager Bud Black revealed that an MRI exam on the right shoulder of starter Dustin Moseley, who went on the disabled list Sunday, showed extensive damage. He joined starter Tim Stauffer, who landed on the DL April 5 with a strained right elbow.

"The rotation will look a lot different than it was supposed to 10 days ago," Black said. "... But we feel as though we have some depth."

While the team will try to fill the void of Moseley and Stauffer, it'll be up to Luebke, Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard to pick up the slack.

To do so, Luebke will have to improve from his first start of the season, in which he allowed five earned runs on nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings for a loss to the Dodgers. The left-hander had good velocity in that April 6 start, but his secondary pitches, including his slider and changeup betrayed him.

On Wednesday, he'll be up against left-hander Joe Saunders, who will make his first start of the season.

During his first full season with Arizona in 2011, Saunders went 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA, setting a career high in innings pitched and tying a career high in starts with 33.

Many of those successful starts came against San Diego, with Saunders going 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in four starts against the Padres.

D-backs: Upton limited by sore thumb
D-backs outfielder Justin Upton was held out of Tuesday's starting lineup with a sore left thumb. However, he was put into the game as a defensive substitution in the bottom of the 11th inning, playing right field. He did not bat.

Upton jammed his thumb while sliding into second base to break up a double play in the seventh inning on Sunday afternoon against the Giants. Upton hopes to be back in the starting lineup as early as Wednesday after X-rays taken were negative.

"It swelled up a little bit on me," Upton said. "It's a little sore and I went and swung and it didn't feel quite right. Obviously take a day to try to get it right. It's not too bad. It's one of those things where you'd rather be cautious early on than push it early on."

Padres: Kotsay to start rehab stint Wednesday
Outfielder Mark Kotsay, on the disabled list since April 1 with a strained right calf, will start a Minor League rehab assignment on Wednesday with Class A Lake Elsinore.

Suffering the strain in a Cactus League game in Arizona on March 31, Kotsay will be able to return April 16, when the Padres open a three-game series against the Rockies on the road.

"We'll evaluate him each day as he goes, but he's been feeling fine," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Worth Noting
• Prior to Tuesday's game against the D-backs, the Padres honored The Mission Continues, the first charity the team has highlighted this season. The Mission Continues is committed to helping post-9/11 veterans rebuild a sense of purpose at home through community service.

• Willie Bloomquist extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning single Tuesday. His career-high hitting streak is 12 games, which he accomplished from July 3-23, 2005, while with Seattle. Comments