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El Paso's playoff chase may stagger callups

Padres' Murphy says new faces bring 'bit of fresh air'

SAN DIEGO -- With Triple-A El Paso in the race for postseason play in the Pacific Coast League, September callups might come staggered for the Padres.

"I like this time of year, but it's challenging, too," interim manager Pat Murphy said on the eve of the 40-man roster expansion. "Your scouting report meetings and days get a little longer because of the players. But I think it is an exciting time. It brings a bit of fresh air to all the clubs and gives you some different options."

El-Paso sat 1 1/2 games behind division-leading Las Vegas and traveled to Nevada for a four-game series against the first-place club starting Monday. Assistant general manager Josh Stein said that El-Paso's push will not greatly affect the decision of who to call up.

"Obviously we are excited about how well they are playing. I think those decisions will be largely based on the needs of the big league club and what it is we feel we need," Stein said. "I don't think you are going to see all of the call ups occur [Tuesday] on Sept. 1. I think you will see them come in waves, but it will be more about big league clubs' needs than any particular [playoff] run in Triple-A. ... You are balancing how much they are going to play up here versus continuing their development or just staying fresh."

Stein and Murphy agreed that the ability to expand the roster can certainly help the bullpen, especially this time of the season.

"It keeps your 'pen healthy, you always have the opportunity to have more arms in your 'pen and give some guys some Major League experience," Murphy said. "I think that is the area it helps most. And the bench, being able to pinch-hit -- you have a fairly good option more than once."

Among those who could soon be called up is right-hander Jon Edwards, who has served as El-Paso's closer and has a 1.26 ERA and 22 saves. In addition, relieves Marcos Mateo and Dale Thayer have been on a rehab stint at El-Paso. Mateo's last appearance for El-Paso was Saturday, when he allowed two hits and two unearned runs pitching through one inning.

Injury notes

• Reliever Brandon Maurer, who went on the disabled list Aug. 10, should begin a throwing program in the next couple of days, according to Stein. Stein said he thought there was good strength increase in Maurer's shoulder.

• Stein said Josh Johnson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, will throw another simulated game and depending on how he responds, might make a rehab appearance.

• Assuming Wil Myers continues to feel healthy Monday, he will start his rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Lake Elsinore.

Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for
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