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Padres still planning on 'bullpen day' for Sunday

Despite Lucchesi's strong rehab start, team preparing for all-relievers approach
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Padres manager Andy Green was kept relatively busy throughout the day Friday as a flurry of rehab assignment reports came in. And a majority of the messages reported good news for his team.

"Yeah, seven different reports right now," Green laughed. "Everybody is good. I have texted with some of them, kept in touch with some of them, and I think for the most part everybody came out of yesterday feeling good."

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ATLANTA -- Padres manager Andy Green was kept relatively busy throughout the day Friday as a flurry of rehab assignment reports came in. And a majority of the messages reported good news for his team.

"Yeah, seven different reports right now," Green laughed. "Everybody is good. I have texted with some of them, kept in touch with some of them, and I think for the most part everybody came out of yesterday feeling good."

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And while there are multiple rehabbing big leaguers scattered across the Padres' Minor League affiliates, there is no player who has more implications as to what happens in the next few days than Joey Lucchesi.

Lucchesi was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 13 with a right hip strain. The Padres' starting southpaw began a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, pitching four hitless innings with six strikeouts for the Storm.

Video: WSH@SD: Lucchesi picks off Kendrick and Difo

While promising, don't expect to see him called back up just yet. According to Green, the plan right now is to stick with a bullpen day against the Braves on Sunday.

"[Joey] is definitely not a candidate for the Sunday game," Green said. "I think we are pretty much set with what we have been doing on Sunday."

This likely means starting Matt Strahm, then tossing Adam Cimber for a few innings before reaching deeper into the bullpen for more arms to close it out. The Padres have used this method in lieu of a fifth starter for the past two weeks, and have succeeded doing so. Five relievers held the Cardinals to two runs earlier this week, and a slew of bullpen arms held the Braves to one run on four hits last Wednesday.

However, the plan could change for Sunday. The Padres could call up another starter if their bullpen is used heavily in the next two days in Atlanta, though Green is hopeful it won't come to that this weekend.

"No guaranteed starter [for Sunday], just depending on how these next two days go. We'll figure it out from there," Green said. "If something happens and we have to change and bring somebody up, then we will still do that. But I think the expectation is that we will cover with the bullpen guys again."

Green implied that Lucchesi could return to the Padres' starting rotation as soon as Tuesday, giving guys like Clayton Richard and Tyson Ross extra rest, but a final decision has yet to be made.

"We are still discussing internally. It will be somewhat off of the bullpen [session Lucchesi will] throw on Saturday," Green said. "Whether or not we will have him make one more [rehab start], we are going to continue to check."

Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

San Diego Padres, Joey Lucchesi