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Lower back tightness sidelines Hosmer

Padres first baseman expected to return vs. Dodgers; Erlin to start opener
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer was held out of the starting lineup Sunday with lower back tightness, but the club is optimistic that its prized offseason signing will return to action Monday against the Dodgers.

San Diego's 10-1 victory over the Giants on Sunday marked the second consecutive game Hosmer has missed. The injury cropped up on Hosmer on Saturday afternoon. He was initially available to pinch-hit during that game, but his back began to bark in the middle innings when he got loose.

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SAN DIEGO -- Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer was held out of the starting lineup Sunday with lower back tightness, but the club is optimistic that its prized offseason signing will return to action Monday against the Dodgers.

San Diego's 10-1 victory over the Giants on Sunday marked the second consecutive game Hosmer has missed. The injury cropped up on Hosmer on Saturday afternoon. He was initially available to pinch-hit during that game, but his back began to bark in the middle innings when he got loose.

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"It just kind of tightened up on me a little bit, so we had to shut it down for yesterday as far as anything with pinch-hitting," Hosmer said after Sunday's game, the Padres' third straight win. "We just felt that today with a quick turnaround, it'd be helpful to get another full day of treatment in and be ready to go. I fully intend on playing tomorrow."

For the second consecutive game, Chase Headley filled in for Hosmer at first base. Headley went 0-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

"It's one of those things [Hosmer] felt like he could play through, and it's one of those things, in April, we felt was not wise to play through," said Padres manager Andy Green.

Hosmer is batting .288/.364/.458 in 15 games for the Padres. A year ago in Kansas City, he played all 162 of his club's games and started 160 of them.

Hosmer was relegated to an unfamiliar role on the bench this weekend, but he certainly enjoyed what he saw -- a pair of Padres victories in which the offense plated 15 total runs without him, right fielder Wil Myers or center fielder Manuel Margot.

"That's the making of a good team," Hosmer said. "It's such a long season, there are going to be times where guys are down, guys are nicked and banged up. It really does take that full 25-man roster with everyone doing their role to be successful."

Erlin to face Dodgers

The Padres waited until after their game against the Giants to announce Robbie Erlin as their starter Monday night against the Dodgers.

In his return from 2016 Tommy John surgery, Erlin has been excellent working out of the Padres bullpen, posting a 2.38 ERA over 11 1/3 innings. All three runs he's allowed have scored with another pitcher on the mound after he had left the game.

Since his return, Erlin has showcased a greatly improved changeup, which has evolved into his primary out pitch. It's unclear how deep into the game Green plans to use the 26-year-old left-hander. But Erlin -- who has used his full repertoire in relief this season -- won't prepare any differently.

"It's exciting to start the game, but pitching is pitching, ultimately," Erlin said. "You're attacking hitters, trying to execute a gameplan, being aggressive in the zone. It's just whether it's from the first inning on or the fifth or the sixth inning on."

The Padres front office entered the season with an innings limit in mind for Erlin, given that he's coming off surgery. It's part of the reason they opted to open the season with him in the bullpen. But they haven't communicated that limit publicly or with Erlin himself.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer