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Luebke will work out of bullpen upon return

Padres pitcher set for three one-inning rehab outings

SAN DIEGO -- Padres left-hander Cory Luebke will begin a rehab assignment Saturday at Lake Elsinore, the first of three games he's expected to pitch for the Padres' Class A Advanced affiliate over the next week.

Luebke, who is recovering from a second Tommy John surgery, performed in February 2014, will start Saturday's game for the Storm and throw one inning. Assuming all goes well, the Padres' plan for him to pitch again Tuesday and Friday.

All of Luebke's outings will last one inning -- a trend the Padres intend to continue as he progresses. Manager Bud Black likened Luebke's case to that of D-backs righty Daniel Hudson, who had two Tommy John surgeries and has pitched primarily as a reliever since his return.

"I think with [Luebke], that's what we're going to do here, initially," Black said. "Sort of like the [Casey] Kelly program, sort of like Daniel Hudson. I think that makes the most sense here in the immediate short term -- which is the next couple of months."

The 30-year-old Luebke hasn't appeared in a game since April 27, 2012.

Worth noting

Will Middlebrooks worked out at shortstop during batting practice Friday night, taking ground balls and practicing double-play turns. Middlebrooks, who was drafted as a shortstop but was immediately converted to third base by the Red Sox, has played 13 innings at short this season.

Asked whether Middlebrooks could see more time there, Black mused, "It would be nice to get all those bats in the lineup," before essentially writing off the possibility. Black pointed to the defensive complexity and importance of the position as too much to heap on a realtive neophyte.

Joaquin Benoit and Brandon Maurer -- the Padres primary setup men -- weren't available Friday night, Black said. Both relievers appeared in three of the club's four games in Atlanta during the week -- with Maurer throwing 25 pitches Thursday and 26 Tuesday.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.
Read More: San Diego Padres, Cory Luebke