Infield injuries crippling Padres

Team grappling with 4 on disabled list

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

There are only so many buttons a Major League manager can push. And when it comes to infielder buttons with the San Diego Padres these days, about the only button remaining for manager Andy Green is the one marked panic.

The injuries that have landed Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, Alexi Amarista and Jemile Weeks all on the disabled list have crippled the Padres, offensively and defensively.

The Padres are not only without their starting third baseman and second baseman, they have also run through two members of Triple-A El Paso's starting infield.

The Padres have been using a natural first baseman in Brett Wallace as their starter at third base. The only reserve infielder right now is Jose Pirela, who is seen more as an outfielder. And they finished Sunday's game with their first baseman (Wil Myers) at third and their catcher (Derek Norris) at first.

"We're having to do some things we didn't think we'd have to do," Green said of his infield situation.

When the season started, Spangenberg was playing second and hitting second in the order. Solarte was at third and hitting fifth. Losing them removed a large chunk of the Padres' offense.

And while Weeks was struggling with the bat, he was playing outstanding defense at second until he went on the disabled list Sunday with a right hamstring strain.

Solarte was off to a 6-for-16 start with six RBIs when he went down a month ago with a right hamstring strain. Spangenberg was off to a slow start (.229) but gave the Padres an element of speed until he suffered a quad injury on April 19. The following day, Amarista, who was 7-for-33, strained his right hamstring.

The Padres could get Solarte and Amarista back by next weekend. Both start intensive work against pitching at the Padres' complex in Peoria, Ariz., on Monday and could be sent out on short rehab assignments later in the week. Both ran at close to 100 percent Sunday morning.

Solarte would move back into his third base spot and likely hit fourth or fifth in the batting order. Amarista could take over at second until Spangenberg's return, which is at least 10 days away.

Notes from the scorebook

• Center fielder Jon Jay was 2-for-4 Sunday with a double and was 7-for-16 with three doubles, a home run and four RBIs in the four-game series against the Mets. Jay has a .333 career batting average (35-for-105) in 30 career games against the Mets and is riding a 10-game hitting streak against the Mets.

• Catcher Christian Bethancourt has homered in two of his last three starts while giving Norris a day off. Bethancourt is 3-for-9 in his last three starts with a double two homers and three RBIs.

• Left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter's ERA is 0.61 following a scoreless inning Sunday. He has worked 12 straight scoreless innings.