MIAMI -- Left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher was unavailable for the third straight game Sunday with soreness in his right knee.
Padres manager Bud Black said Thatcher, who has experienced knee issues in the past, will be reevaluated after Sunday's series finale with the Marlins to see if there is anything specifically causing the soreness. It's possible, Black said, that the Padres will have to place Thatcher on the disabled list.
Thatcher is 0-4 with a 3.37 ERA this season, but his absence during the Miami series has left San Diego with just six arms in the bullpen, and only two lefties, something that Black said the team can't continue to do.
"We can't turn back the clock to the '80s when we only kept nine or 10 pitchers and guys went seven or eight [innings] and the closer went two-plus," Black said. "Can't do it."
Padres' bullpen pieces fall into place
MIAMI -- Padres manager Bud Black credits closer Huston Street's return from the disabled list on June 5 for the bullpen's recent success.
"That solidified our bullpen, put another good arm out there," Black said.
Over the past 17 games, San Diego relievers have allowed just seven runs over 47 1/3 innings, posting a 1.33 ERA and .189 opponents' batting average. That included a stretch of 24 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, snapped on July 21 against the Rockies.
In Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Marlins, lefty Alex Hinshaw gave up just one hit over two innings -- Justin Ruggiano's solo homer in the seventh.
Prior to Street's recovery from a strained right lat, the Padres shuffled between Triple-A Tucson pitchers Miles Mikolas, Brad Boxberger and Nick Vincent for availability.
"I think there's a continuity now of Huston and [Luke] Gregerson, [Joe] Thatcher, [Dale] Thayer, Hinshaw, and those guys have responded by really pitching well," Black said. "And the other couple members -- [Eric] Stults is back on our staff for long-relief purposes.
"It's more of a consistent mindset of where they're going to pitch in games, what roles, what innings, and I think that leads to a little bit more consistent performance."
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.