SAN DIEGO -- For the first time in weeks, Padres manager Bud Black was able to answer a question about pitcher Andrew Cashner's return from the disabled list with a high degree of certainty.
"We're hoping he's our pitcher Saturday," Black said.
Cashner emerged from a brief bullpen session before Wednesday's game against the Pirates feeling fine about his right elbow, which hasn't been a source of any soreness in weeks.
Cashner, who went on the disabled list May 17, retroactive to May 15, with elbow soreness, passed a big test Monday when he threw 65 pitches in a simulated game at Petco Park.
His next stop? The starting rotation.
Cashner has a 2.35 ERA in nine starts and 57 1/3 innings with 47 strikeouts and 17 walks. He's only allowed more than two runs once but hasn't received much run support, leading to his 2-5 record.
During his time on the disabled list, Cashner has tinkered with slider grip and release, which is suspected to have caused the initial pain. By moving his fingers on the ball, he's found something that works.
"I'm just kind of moving my fingers on the ball where I can't wrap it, [so I] stay behind the ball," Cashner said. "Hopefully we don't miss a beat when I come back."
The Padres are off Thursday, but start a three-game series at Petco Park against the Nationals Friday. Tyson Ross will start Friday, Cashner on Saturday and then Eric Stults -- now on the bereavement list -- in the series finale Sunday.
Gyorko sits out with plantar fasciitis
SAN DIEGO -- Second baseman Jedd Gyorko was out of the starting lineup Wednesday and not available to pinch-hit because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, he confirmed after the Padres' 3-2 win over the Pirates.
Gyorko said that he first felt pain in his foot May 30 when the Padres were in Chicago to play the White Sox.
"It got progressively worse from there," he said.
Gyorko said that he's received a cortisone shot and is wary of how tricky these injuries can be, after he watched former teammate, infielder Logan Forsythe, deal with them in recent years.
The Padres have not announced a roster move on Gyorko, but it's all but certain he'll end up on the 15-day disabled list before Friday's game against the Nationals.
The Padres added infielder Jace Peterson from Triple-A El Paso before Wednesday's game. He got the start Wednesday against the Pirates.
Gyorko has the lowest batting average among qualifying players in the big leagues (.162).
Headley hit by pitch in first, exits in fifth
SAN DIEGO -- Third baseman Chase Headley departed Wednesday's game after being hit just below the left knee with a pitch in the first inning.
Pittsburgh starting pitcher Francisco Liriano hit Headley, a switch-hitter, who was batting right-handed, with a pitch that looked like it caused him pain as he flipped the bat away.
It was the second time in this three-game series Headley had been hit by a pitch and the third time it occurred in the last six games.
Headley remained in the game until the fifth inning when Alexi Amarista pinch-hit for him.
San Diego manager Bud Black said after the game that Headley should be fine for Friday's game against the Nationals.
"He's sore. He took one right in the back, sort of in the combo of Achilles and the low calf," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It just tightened up, it was sore, he wasn't moving good. He's had some calf issues. So we had to get him out of there.
Headley entered Wednesday's game hitting .199 with five home runs and 19 RBIs.
Peterson earns second stint in Majors, starts at 2B
SAN DIEGO -- Infielder Jace Peterson was recalled from Triple-A El Paso for the second time this year before Wednesday's game against the Pirates.
Peterson batted eighth and started at second base Wednesday, giving the struggling Jedd Gyorko his second day off in five days.
Peterson has excelled at El Paso, hitting .321/.418/.485 with three home runs and 26 RBIs.
"I got some ABs and played every day, it was good," Peterson said. "[El Paso] is a great place to play, [but] I'm excited to be back."
Peterson was drafted in the first round (58th overall) of the 2011 Draft out of McNeese State, and has shown excellent plate discipline during his time in the Minors, drawing 193 walks compared with 204 strikeouts.
"Pitchers know who the good hitters are. Even in Triple-A, they'll pitch him accordingly," Black said. "Good hitters walk because pitchers don't give them anything to hit and they lay off borderline pitches."
Peterson spent a couple weeks with the Padres earlier this season, batting .174 with no walks and six strikeouts in 23 at-bats. But instead of sending him back to Double-A, the Padres challenged him by sending him to El Paso.
Despite leading the Padres in RBIs (24), Gyorko has the lowest batting average in the Majors among qualified hitters (.162).
"I think, in general, there are times when younger players are struggling, that is a situation that you look at whether that will help," Black said. "In some situations with players, there's a mental component. With Jedd I think it'd be more just about performance and his swing, which we're [trying to fix] now."
Pitcher Jesse Hahn, who made his big league debut Tuesday and took the loss to the Pirates, was sent back down to Double-A to clear a roster spot for Peterson.
Padres putting finishing touches on Draft prep
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres weren't exactly to the point Wednesday where they were putting the final touches on their Draft board in anticipation of Thursday's First-Year Player Draft.
That's because the Padres, who have the 13th overall pick in the first round, are essentially at the mercy of the 12 teams picking in front of them.
Don't be at all surprised if the Padres pick a position player with their first pick and probably a college position player at that.
"We've tried to go back and get to know and see these college players more," said Padres second-year scouting director Billy Gasparino. "We have been really aggressive with high school guys, but this year feels like a good college crop."
The Padres would probably love it if North Carolina State shortstop Trea Turner slips to No. 13, though it likely won't happen.
Other college players who the Padres are considering are Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto, Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost, San Francisco outfielder Bradley Zimmer and Indiana catcher and first baseman Kyle Schwarber.
On the high school side, the Padres could jump on outfielder Derek Hill from Elk Grove High just outside of Sacramento.
If the Padres don't like any of the position players who are left at No. 13, they could always add another arm to the system, like Florida high schooler Touki Toussaint, Brandon Finnegan of Texas Christian or Kyle Freeland of Evansville. Finnegan and Freeland are both left-handers.
The Padres won't let the recent epidemic of arm and elbow injuries scare them away from going after a pitcher in the first round, or at all.
What has changed are the questions they ask pitchers that they've pursued and interviewed -- as it's not uncommon for the Padres to ask a pitcher when he started throwing his curveball, for example.
"We are digging a little more, asking them when they started playing, when they start pitching and what they did in their early years," Gasparino said.
Chad MacDonald, the team's assistant general manager of player personnel, said having scouts get to know these players on a deeper level can pay big dividends later.
"We want to ask better questions," MacDonald said.
• The Padres first cycle will have to wait.
In the May 28 game in Arizona, Tommy Medica reached base on an error by D-backs third baseman Martin Prado. He had a double, triple and a home run in the game.
Joe Torre, MLB's Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations, upheld the decision of the official scorer. If the error had been changed to a hit, the Padres would have had their first player hit for the cycle in franchise history.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Will Laws is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.