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Hosmer, Villanueva likely out for rest of Rox series

First baseman on family medical leave list, third baseman dealing with hamstring issue; Ross adamant he still has much to prove
MLB.com @AJCassavell

DENVER -- The Padres are likely to be without two of their best hitters for the remainder of their series in Colorado.

Eric Hosmer was placed on the family medical leave list before Tuesday's game and isn't expected back until Friday. Christian Villanueva, meanwhile, is battling a tight left hamstring and was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game.

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DENVER -- The Padres are likely to be without two of their best hitters for the remainder of their series in Colorado.

Eric Hosmer was placed on the family medical leave list before Tuesday's game and isn't expected back until Friday. Christian Villanueva, meanwhile, is battling a tight left hamstring and was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game.

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"He's feeling a little better," manager Andy Green said of Villanueva. "It's a bitterly cold night out here. ... It just wasn't in his best interest or our best interest to push him today."

Green didn't get into the specifics of Hosmer's situation. But he noted that Villanueva's injury could require a bit of prudence, ahead of Thursday's off-day.

"We just want to make sure he gets this behind him," Green said. "Then it probably leads to the question: If we don't play him tonight, is it even smart to play him tomorrow, because we get the off-day as well? Probably better judgement would prevail, and we'll see him in the lineup again on Friday."

Villanueva -- who hasn't been ruled out as a pinch-hitter -- has been a revelation through the first four weeks of his rookie season. He led the National League with a .355 batting average and a 1.219 OPS at the time of his injury (though he no longer qualifies for those leaderboards).

Hosmer, meanwhile, had been slumping until his breakout performance on Monday night. He reached base in all six plate appearances, becoming the first Padre to do so since Adrian Gonzalez in 2009.

Hosmer's absence, clears a space on the roster for Tuesday's starter Eric Lauer. Left-hander Buddy Baumann was designated for assignment, paving the way for Lauer to be added to the 40-man roster.

Ross eyes an encore
Tyson Ross' near no-hitter in Arizona was the best pitching performance by a Padre this season -- and perhaps much longer than that.

To some, Ross' brilliant outing was the culmination of two years spent fighting his way back from an April 2016 shoulder injury.

Not to Ross. He has bigger goals.

"I haven't achieved anything yet," said Ross, whose encore performance comes Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field. "It's just one good game -- hopefully one of many good games I'll have this season. It's more about continuing to build and grow. I want to get stronger, healthier and keep giving a good effort every five days as we get deeper into June, July, the rest of the season."

Through four starts this season, Ross owns a 2.81 ERA and a WHIP barely above 1. Opponents are hitting just .151 against his slider, which appears as dominant as it's ever been.

Video: Must C Clips: Ross flirts with no-hitter into the 8th

Ross' resurgence is a long time in the making. He spent all of 2016 on the sideline after injuring his shoulder on Opening Day. Following surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Ross latched on with Texas in '17 and slumped to a 7.71 ERA in 12 appearances.

Ross never wavered in his belief he'd return to form, even if the rest of the baseball world did. He ramped up his offseason regimen and signed a Minors deal with the Padres in December. He's adamant that he's not a finished product.

"I'm always continuing to get my sinker refined and get that back to where it was a couple years ago," Ross said. "Execution, sequences, that's something that's never perfect. A lot of work to do still."

Strahm headed to 'pen
The Padres have changed course with the progression of left-hander Matt Strahm. In his first three rehab appearances, Strahm had worked exclusively as a starter, but he pitched one inning in relief on Monday.

According to Green, that's an indication of the Padres' plans with Strahm moving forward. They'd like him to be a multi-inning weapon out of the 'pen, and they're hopeful he could return by early May.

Strahm, acquired in the deal that sent Trevor Cahill to Kansas City last year, has a 3.81 ERA in parts of two seasons with the Royals. Of his 45 appearances, 42 came in relief.

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

San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer, Christian Villanueva