Benoit could return to closer role for weekend series

Benoit could return to closer role for weekend series

SAN DIEGO -- Closer Joaquin Benoit, who has appeared in just two games since Aug. 14 because of a sore right shoulder, could be cleared to pitch in games again as soon as Friday.

Benoit threw his second bullpen session in four days Wednesday before the Padres faced the Phillies in the third game of a four-game series at Petco Park. He also threw a bullpen Sunday at Chase Field in Phoenix.

"It's a good sign with Joaquin," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Benoit appeared in a game on Aug. 13 and then didn't pitch until Aug. 24 because of a discomfort in his right shoulder. He also pitched on Aug. 26 but the pain and inflammation returned. He hasn't pitched in a game since.

"I think the problem [was] a little workload and [being] a little tired," Benoit said.

Rookie Kevin Quackenbush has been used as the team's closer since then, going 1-0 with three saves and a 2.00 ERA in nine innings.

Black said the team will check to see how Benoit is feeling Thursday and then could list him among the active relievers Friday when the team opens a three-game series at home against the Giants.

In all likelihood, Benoit will slide back into the closer's role, where he converted eight of nine saves and didn't allow an earned run in 10 2/3 innings after the team traded All-Star closer Huston Street to the Angels in July.

Overall, Benoit is 4-2 this season with nine saves and a 1.58 ERA in 51 1/3 innings and 50 games in his first season with the team, the first year of a two-year, $16 million deal.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.