Sanchez greeted warmly by Giants fans

Padres catcher plays at AT&T Park for first time as a visitor

Sanchez greeted warmly by Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO -- Padres catcher Hector Sanchez wasn't sure what to expect when he strode to the batters' box at AT&T Park for the first time as a visitor.

"With fans, you never know what's going to happen," Sanchez said.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. When he came to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 8-2 loss, Sanchez received a nice ovation from Giants fans, who fondly recall his five years as the backup catcher in San Francisco.

Sanchez said he did his best to block out the cheers and focus on the task at hand -- but afterward, he took time to appreciate the gesture.

"It's pretty special," Sanchez said. "That means they wanted to thank me for that great time. It felt pretty special they made me feel that way yesterday. With [the Giants], we had a lot of ups and downs together, so it was special."

Sanchez promptly laced a single to left field, his third hit in eight at-bats for San Diego since being claimed off waivers two weeks ago.

Playing time has been scarce for Sanchez. With three catchers on the roster, his presence mostly serves as a means for Christian Bethancourt to be used as a pinch-hitter, while still giving the Padres an option in case something happens to Derek Norris. Sanchez also provides a bit of organizational depth with Austin Hedges out because of hand surgery.

"So far, it's been great," Sanchez said of his time with San Diego. "I feel really good here. It's a tough situation. With three catchers, you don't have so much game time. But you have to keep working hard. That's the only thing you can control. Be ready any time the manager needs you."

Myers expected to start Friday

Padres manager Andy Green expects Wil Myers to start in the series opener vs. the D-backs on Friday at Chase Field, after the first baseman was held out of the lineup for the final two games of the series in San Francisco with lingering left forearm tightness.

"We don't want this thing nagging him the rest of the year, so sometimes you've got to take a step back with some guys, make sure they're healthy for the long haul and don't have to fight it forever," Green said. "Talking to the training staff, talking to Wil, that's kind of the thought process. You've got three days. You should feel good to go from here on out. It's not a DL-type thing."

Thornton could join team in Arizona

The Padres wanted to get lefty reliever Matt Thornton into back-to-back games during his rehab stint before recalling him to the big league roster. So Thornton will throw 15 pitches (or fewer) for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore on Wednesday before potentially making his return on Friday.

Thornton sustained the injury -- left Achilles tendinitis -- during warmups on Opening Day, and he hasn't pitched in a game yet this season.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.