After landing on the disabled list in late April with a sports hernia, San Diego Padres outfielder Jeremy Hermida wanted just one thing - to get back on the field.
The 28-year-old got his wish in Friday night's 9-3 loss to Colorado Springs, going 1 for 2 and playing five innings in right field to start a rehab stint in Tucson that could last up to 20 days. Hermida said he doesn't have a date in mind for when he'd like to return.
"It feels pretty good now," Hermida said. "It can still get sore, but I'm at the point now where I don't really feel much. I'm kind of easing my way back into this. I'm just worried about getting through today."
But Hermida's presence in Tucson isn't only a step in the right direction toward his return to San Diego, it's also a welcome sight for a Tucson outfield that's gone without a break for much of the season.
Because Hermida doesn't yet have his legs under him after the DL stint, he'll begin by playing five innings a night before moving on to seven and nine innings. He doesn't count against Tucson's roster limit of 25 because he's on a major-league rehab assignment.
Hermida also adds a fourth outfielder to the rotation, giving manager Terry Kennedy more of a chance to keep Daniel Robertson, Blake Tekotte and Sawyer Carroll fresh.
Kennedy said he'll likely employ an outfield rotation where each gets a day off every fourth day once Hermida can get through a full game.
"We've had to endure a lot, and we've played a lot of games in a row," Robertson said. "I'm not saying we need a day off … but it's good for it to be able to happen."
Hermida, who bats from the left side, is a career .257 hitter over parts of eight major-league seasons and was a long shot to make San Diego's opening day roster. But his solid spring earned him a roster spot as an extra outfielder.
His extensive major-league time gives Tucson players an extra resource in the clubhouse.
"If guys have questions, I'll definitely be there for them," Hermida said. "I just try to fit in with these guys. Sometimes you come down here and question them, too."
Robertson said he spent time just talking baseball with Hermida during spring training, adding that Hermida has always been good about sharing what it takes to be successful at the major-league level.
Kennedy said his players would be missing a great opportunity if they didn't take advantage of being around someone who's had an extended stay in the major leagues.
"They should pick his brain if they're smart," Kennedy said.
• Tucson catcher Yasmani Grandal is expected to be called up by San Diego today, and former UA catcher Todd Hundley will likely be sent to Tucson.
• Tucson released infielder Amadeo Zazueta and sent infielder Vince Belnome to Class A Lake Elsinore, Calif. The team reinstated infielder Beamer Weems from the DL.