ATLANTA -- The Padres announced Saturday night that Matt Strahm will start the finale of a four-game set against the Braves on Sunday at SunTrust Park, as the team plans to use the "bullpen day" approach for the third time since the start of June.
The decision as to which San Diego reliever was going to take the mound first Sunday was up in the air until after Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Braves concluded. When Strahm wasn't needed in relief, Green made the announcement official.
The success the Padres' relievers have garnered over the past few series has given Green plenty of options, and the skipper hasn't been holding back his praise for the group.
"We have a bullpen that's as good as any in baseball," Green said before Friday night's 9-3 win over the Braves, during which his relievers pitched three scoreless innings.
San Diego has won 12 of its last 18 games, and Padres relievers have a 5-0 mark with a 2.67 ERA during that span. In the club's last eight games, the bullpen has held opponents to a .128 average, allowing only two extra-base hits while averaging more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings.
These numbers make Green pretty confident with whomever he puts out there, regardless of the situation, starting or otherwise.
"We have enough length in that bullpen," Green said. "That length hasn't been tested at all, so we have a lot of really fresh arms there ready to go."
Will the team employ the strategy when Joey Lucchesi, who is on a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, returns to the starting rotation? Green said it's not a given that it goes away.
However, if it does stick, that doesn't mean Lucchesi will be moved out of the starting rotation. Green said the left-hander will start when he returns.
Bullpen days are not an option for many teams across the Majors. The Padres' confidence in the strategy does not stem from wanting to be unique, it stems from the way the roster is composed, especially given the recent success of San Diego's relievers.
"You don't set out with this goal of, 'I'm going to create this structure so our team does something different,'" Green said. "We have a lot options, and just the structure of our roster and bullpen affords us those types of decisions that other roster constructions don't."
Moving up to El Paso
After making appearances in three games with Lake Elsinore, catcher Austin Hedges will travel to Triple-A El Paso on Saturday to join rehabbing outfielders Franchy Cordero and William Myers.
While there are still no timetables for their return, Green said all three players could be called up relatively soon.
"I don't know the specific date when we will see those guys," Green said. "But at varying times, all those guys are possibilities for the upcoming week."