SD@MIA: Venable's great grab ends the fourth inning

BOSTON -- Outfielder Will Venable hopes to return to the Padres' starting lineup on Thursday after being sidelined for two games with a sore left hamstring.

Venable tested the hamstring 3 1/2 hours before Wednesday's game against the Red Sox by running in the outfield as first-base coach Dave Roberts, who is in charge of the outfielders, watched.

"I feel fine," Venable said.

Venable missed Monday's series finale in Miami and then didn't play in Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Red Sox, as the team wanted to steer clear of using him to give the hamstring extra rest.

It appears that tactic worked, and just in time, as starting on Thursday, the Padres will face three right-handed pitchers in their next four games.

"Will's doing much better, he's much improved," said Padres manager Bud Black. "You might see him tonight in some capacity."

Venable said the injury happened on Saturday against the Marlins when he tripled to lead off the fifth inning. Well, at least that's when he thinks it occurred.

"It was weird, because the triple the second day in Miami, I was coming around second and I stumbled a little awkwardly. Because Miami is so humid, I didn't feel anything [immediately]. Then in the middle of the night, it felt tight."

Venable played most of the game on Sunday even though his hamstring wasn't 100 percent. He left the game in the eighth inning when Chris Denorfia pinch-hit for him.

"I didn't feel great and I was putting my team at risk," Venable said.

Cabrera nearing return from hamstring injury

ARI@SD: Cabrera exits early with hamstring injury

BOSTON -- There's a good chance injured shortstop Everth Cabrera could rejoin the Padres on Thursday in Boston, though he likely won't be reinstated from the disabled list until Friday.

Cabrera played five innings at shortstop on Tuesday for Class A Fort Wayne and was scheduled to do so again on Wednesday.

"You could maybe see him tomorrow," said Padres manager Bud Black. "... Whether he's active is a different story."

If the organization is satisfied his left hamstring strain has healed enough, Cabrera could be activated Friday when the team opens a three-game series against the Nationals.

"Cabbie looked comfortable and was able to handle a few plays at shortstop and see a lot of pitches," said Padres vice president and assistant general manager A.J. Hinch, who saw Cabrera play. "He looked excited to be back on the field."

Cabrera was 0-for-3 in the game with a strikeout, though his swing is the least of the Padres' concerns. They want to see how he feels running the bases and how his hamstring holds up ranging to his left and right on defense.

Quentin benefits from tweaks to batting stance

SD@MIA: Quentin's two-run shot ties the game at 2

BOSTON -- The Padres believe they might have found a way to help outfielder Carlos Quentin stay on the field more often.

Quentin missed most of Spring Training while dealing with residual soreness in his surgically repaired right knee and got off to a slow start at the plate once the regular season began.

Hitting coach Phil Plantier suggested some changes to Quentin's setup and stance that were aimed at taking stress off his knee.

"There was a lot of stress being put on his knee. It was getting in the way of him being able to keep his head still and be able to stay balanced and let the ball come to him … where there was that feeling of having to go get the ball to stay off of his knee," Plantier said recently.

"In a nutshell, this is compensating for being banged up, forcing him to develop a little different way to do the same things."

The results have been good thus far, as in his last 30 games, Quentin is hitting .343 with 12 extra-base hits, five home runs, 11 RBIs and a .433 on-base percentage. Over that stretch, he raised his average from .178 to .266 going into Wednesday's game.

The changes the Padres instituted -- mostly having him stand more upright in the box instead of the deep crouch he's previously used -- weren't just made to help Quentin now.

"Right now, the most important thing is to keep him healthy. This wasn't done for the short term, but for the rest of his career," Plantier said. "It alleviates the pressure he had getting deep down [in his stance]. When you get deep into your legs, there's benefits to it. But his body is worn down from it. Once you get used to doing it this way, it's going to allow him to play more games."

Quentin is making $9.5 million this season, and he will make that again in '14, then $8 million in '15. There's a mutual option for '16 worth $10 million, though Quentin can assure himself of $3 million in 2016 if he plays in 320 games over the next three seasons.

"The one thing you can count on in this game is nothing stays the same. The longer you play the game … the more you have to adapt," Plantier said. "Carlos trying to do the things that he had done in the past became counterproductive. That style of hitting was beating up his body."

Short hops

• Kyle Blanks was set to play left field on Wednesday, but a late change to the starting lineup had him move to the designated-hitter spot. Quentin went from DH to left field. Black said Blanks has been dealing with a sore left heel. Blanks might have gotten the day off, but Black said he wanted him in the lineup to play against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.