SAN DIEGO -- Melvin Upton Jr., obtained the day before Opening Day with closer Craig Kimbrel from the Braves, hasn't advanced to the point where he's ready to join the big league team, but he's ready to begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.
Manager Bud Black said Thursday that Upton, slowed since Spring Training with sesamoiditis (inflammation of a bone in the foot), will begin playing with Triple-A El Paso this weekend.
"I caught up with Melvin in Phoenix and he assured me he feels good," Black said.
Upton has spent the past week playing in games in extended spring training in Arizona. Now he's set to get real at-bats in real games, the first step toward joining the Padres -- where his brother, Justin Upton, is the team's starting left fielder.
Black has previously said that Upton could be reinstated from the disabled list during the first week of June, which would give him time to get his timing down facing live pitching and get used to playing in the outfield again.
Black said the organization would like to get him 40-50 at-bats in the Minor Leagues before they consider reinstating him from the DL.
With first baseman Yonder Alonso (DL, right shoulder bruise) still a ways away from swinging a bat, Wil Myers has been playing first base. Myers has tendinitis in his left wrist and is likely to miss 3-4 days, but if he remains at first base, that would leave center field open for Upton, who has played the position almost exclusively in the big leagues.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.