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Padres stick with bullpen day on Lucchesi's turn

Strahm to get ball first for matinee vs. Braves
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Who's pitching for the Padres on Wednesday? The better question might be: Who isn't?

For the second time in a 10-day span, the Padres will use a bullpen day to fill Joey Lucchesi's place in the starting rotation, with Matt Strahm getting the ball first. (Lucchesi is fighting his way back from a right hip strain and faced hitters at the team's complex in Peoria, Ariz., on Tuesday for the first time.)

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SAN DIEGO -- Who's pitching for the Padres on Wednesday? The better question might be: Who isn't?

For the second time in a 10-day span, the Padres will use a bullpen day to fill Joey Lucchesi's place in the starting rotation, with Matt Strahm getting the ball first. (Lucchesi is fighting his way back from a right hip strain and faced hitters at the team's complex in Peoria, Ariz., on Tuesday for the first time.)

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The Padres certainly have enough fresh arms. They've carried a nine-man bullpen since Friday, when starter Walker Lockett was optioned to Triple-A El Paso. Plus, left-hander Clayton Richard ate seven innings on Monday night.

"Our starters have been really good, and guys haven't been pitching a whole lot of innings," righty Craig Stammen said. "A bullpen day pretty much gives everyone the chance to pitch and be sharp for the next series."

Thursday's off-day is key. The Padres can pitch their relievers in short bursts without taxing the bullpen too heavily. 

"When Andy informed me I was going to start that game, he just told me, 'Give me everything you've got for as long as you've got,'" Strahm said of his start against the Dodgers. "That's what I did, and after two innings we went to the next guy. ... If I'm the one starting, I'd do my starting routine. But once I get on the mound, it's as if I'm relieving, because that's what I'm built up for right now -- attack, attack, attack."

There's something of an added benefit for the Padres, who boast a diverse array of options in their bullpen. On Wednesday, they'll be able to choose their pitchers based almost exclusively on matchups.

"It's tough for them to set a lineup when we're going to mix and match," Stammen said. "But for us, nothing changes. You've got to get the guys out, whoever they put in the lineup."

Injury updates
• Catcher Austin Hedges took batting practice with the team as he recovers from right elbow tendinitis. Hedges had his first rehab stint shut down last month, but he could begin another one in the near future. The Padres are still hopeful for his return at some point in June.

• Righty reliever Phil Maton made a rehab appearance at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore on Tuesday night, his first since he sustained a right lat strain three weeks ago. He loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, but managed to escape while striking out two.

• After Lucchesi faces hitters, he's likely destined for a rehab start -- which could rule him out for his next turn through the rotation, too. After Wednesday, the next opening in the Padres' rotation would come June 12 in St. Louis.

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

San Diego Padres, Robbie Erlin, Joey Lucchesi, Bryan Mitchell, Matt Strahm