DENVER -- The Padres' offensive breakout in Monday's series opener against the Rockies reflected Nick Hundley's own emergence from a slump that saw him go 0-for-21 before taking off on his 4-for-7 tear over the last two games. He was the last Major Leaguer with 25 or more plate appearances to record a hit when he recorded an infield single in the second inning of Sunday's game in Los Angeles.
Hundley had a strong Spring Training, hitting .432 (16-for-37) in the Cactus League, and after hitting .288 in 82 games for the Padres in 2011, he knew it was just a matter of time before he found his groove again.
"Early on, obviously, coming out of the spring that I did have, it wasn't how I envisioned the first week of the season to go, but you grind through those bumps in the road," Hundley said. "It's not like I was going to be perfect."
Hundley credited Mark Kotsay's return from the disabled list Monday with helping awaken the Friars' offense. Kotsay advised the hitters to "get back to our confident swings ... don't panic," and the advice seemed to help Hundley along with the entire lineup, which knocked a season-high 14 hits.
"I've done the same thing every single day, no matter if I'm going good or going bad," Hundley said. "It's something that a lot of veteran guys that I've played with have taught me. Just keep going. I'm not here to switch it up. I'm not here to totally change what I'm doing. I'm here to keep grinding, and whether it's good or bad, I'm going to be the same guy every single day."
After Hundley's 3-for-5 Monday when he matched a career-high three RBIs, the Padres will be happy to see that guy in the lineup every day.
No structural damage in Kelly's elbow
DENVER -- The Padres got good news Tuesday about their No. 2 prospect, right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly, who was scratched from a Monday start with soreness in his right elbow. Kelly left Triple-A Tucson to get an MRI and to be examined by team doctors in San Diego.
"Dr. [Heinz] Hoenecke [head team physician] informed us that there was no structural damage," manager Bud Black said before Tuesday's game with the Rockies. "He's got some inflammation around the elbow. We're going to go with a cautious conservative approach here in the next two to three weeks to let the elbow calm down. Hopefully, from there he'll be feeling much better, get back on the horse, start throwing, and get him to a progression where he gets back into games."
Black confirmed that Kelly will not throw in that initial period. Kelly will rehabilitate at the Padres' Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz.
Kelly was Boston's first-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, and came to San Diego in December of 2010 as part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade. He's 21-16 in 67 Minor League starts, and has a 2.25 ERA in two starts for Tucson this year after going 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in the Cactus League. He pitched in six games and made two starts during Spring Training, throwing 20 2/3 innings while allowing two walks and striking out 18.
"He had such a great Spring Training," Black said. "He went at it pretty hard in Spring Training, and he's going at it hard now. This could be a little bit of a blessing that he has to take a step back and rest a bit."
Kelly has no walks in 12 innings over two starts, allowing a total of 12 hits and 14 strikeouts. In his second Triple-A start Wednesday, Kelly pitched six shutout innings of five-hit ball, striking out nine and walking none.
"Casey wants to be a Major League pitcher," Black said. "From that standpoint, it's a bummer for him. There's hard times when you get nicked up and banged up and you have to go to the sidelines and regroup, and that's where Casey is."
Kotsay, Moyer face off one more time
DENVER -- Tuesday's tilt between the Padres and Rockies featured a pair of veterans with a fair amount of familiarity with each other. San Diego's Mark Kotsay, 36, got his first start of the season after coming off the disabled list with a right calf strain, and faced 49-year-old southpaw Jamie Moyer.
"We have a history together," Kotsay said. "Our history goes back. We haven't seen each other probably since 2006. There's no explanation [for my success off him]."
To say that Kotsay has "history" with Moyer is like saying the Harlem Globetrotters have history with the Washington Generals. Kotsay has owned Moyer over the course of their careers, and his .583 (21-for-36) career average against the left-hander is the highest of anyone who's faced Moyer at least 30 times. The players trailing Kotsay give an indication of Moyer's longevity, with Mookie Wilson (.438), Nomar Garciaparra (.417), Andres Galarraga (.415), Tim Raines (.395) and Bernie Williams (.391) among the contenders.
"Lifetime numbers make sense," manager Bud Black said before Kotsay went 2-for-3 against the lefty from the two-hole in Tuesday's lineup. "His last at-bat against him was a number of years ago, but still there's a history. And you know what? Both guys know it. That lends our guy a great deal of confidence. I know from the other side, Jamie knows it, too."
Moyer is the second oldest pitcher to start a Major League game, behind 59-year-old Satchell Paige in 1965, and with a career 268-206 record following the Rockies' 5-3 win, he's the oldest pitcher to win a Major League game.
"I knew [Moyer] at a point in his career when a lot of people were writing him off," Black said. "It almost seems like 20 years later, he's as good as he ever was.
"When a guy like Jamie Moyer walks through the clubhouse doors, the other guys notice and they feel better about their team because of what he represents in this game and his work ethic and everything that goes along with being a guy who's been able to pitch as long as he has."
Kotsay serves as a worthy adversary, and he made an impact his first day back Monday, despite not getting in the game. He spoke up at a hitters meeting and encouraged the players to relax at the plate and reclaim their swagger.
"Kots is very vocal in and around the dugout and in the clubhouse," Black said. "He's another coach on the field basically. He sends messages to players on a regular basis that put an exclamation mark on some of the things we say as coaches. He does a great job on a couple different fronts of keeping guys loose, but keeping guys focused. And he does it from a teammate perspective, which I think is always good."
Stauffer looks to return in early May
DENVER -- Right-hander Tim Stauffer began his road to recovery Tuesday and could be back with the Padres by the first weekend in May. Stauffer went on the disabled list on Opening Day, and although he has played some light catch, he had his first session on the mound on Tuesday.
"Stauff threw today in San Diego," manager Bud Black said before Tuesday's game with the Rockies. "He stretched it out. He threw a little bit of a bullpen today. He's going to throw another one this weekend."
Black confirmed that Stauffer would need to go through a Minor League rehabilitation assignment before rejoining the club, and given the time needed to build back his arm strength, the best-case scenario for his return is the weekend series with the Marlins on May 4-6.
Stauffer was 9-12 with a 3.73 ERA in 31 starts for the Padres last season.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.