Injuries could force Padres to seek help from El Paso

Chihuahuas remain in Pacific Coast League playoff race

Injuries could force Padres to seek help from El Paso

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Sept. 1 is usually the date Major League teams expand their rosters.

But the Padres' roster contracted Tuesday night as they suffered three injuries in the game against the Texas Rangers. First baseman Yonder Alonso was the first to leave the game with a stiff lower back. Then catcher Derek Norris re-injured his ailing left shoulder on a play at the plate. Several pitches later, right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley departed with what appears to be the most serious injury of the three -- a strained forearm.

Kelley will have an MRI today and will likely miss considerable time, perhaps the rest of the season. Manager Pat Murphy listed both Alonso and Norris as day to day in his postgame remarks, although both players figure to miss at least a couple days.

Do the Padres dip into Triple-A El Paso to replenish the Major League roster? The needs of the Major League team always take precedent, but if the Triple-A team is in a playoff race, the parent club usually delays September callups until the Triple-A team is eliminated.

When rosters expanded Tuesday, the only players the Padres promoted were right-handed relievers Nick Vincent and Marcos Mateo (from the disabled list). But the Padres left such players as corner outfielders Alex Dickerson and Rymer Liriano and infielder Will Middlebrooks with the Chihuahuas, who are battling Las Vegas for the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Southern title.

Murphy said after Tuesday's 8-6 loss to the Texas Rangers at Petco Park that the Padres were already looking at the options. It will be several days before Alonso can return to first. They might need a catcher and a first baseman.

From the scorecard

Matt Kemp was 3-for-4 with four RBIs Tuesday night off his 26th double and 17th homer. He has reached base in a career high 21 straight games, the longest by a Padres player since Chase Headley reached base in 22 straight games from July 3-28, 2013. During the streak, Kemp is hitting .341 (29-for-85) with six homers and 26 RBIs.

Brett Wallace is even hotter than Kemp over a short span. Starting with a pinch-hit single for the injured Alonso on Tuesday night, Wallace went 3-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored. Wallace has seven straight hits, including five straight as a pinch-hitter. Wallace is the first Padres player since 1974 to get five straight hits as a pinch-hitter.

• Alonso doubled in his first at-bat Tuesday before leaving the game. He has hit in four straight games (8-for-15) and has hit .355 (22-for-62) in 19 games since Aug. 10 with 15 runs scored. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.

• Infielder Cory Spangenberg is 5-for-12 with three doubles and a triple over his last three games. He is hitting .317 (13-for-41) with four doubles and two triples since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 14 to raise his season batting average to .266.