Everth Cabrera (hamstring) is not expected to rejoin the Padres before the end of their homestand on September 24.
That would leave just a handful of road games left, so Cabrera's return at all at this point is looking up in the air. The speedy shortstop has played just 10 games since the beginning of July due to a pair of hamstring injuries.
The Padres could ease Joaquin Benoit (shoulder) back into game action before using him in save situations.
Benoit is expected to be available out of the bullpen starting on Friday after missing the last few weeks with a shoulder issue. With the veteran reliever likely to pitch in a low-leverage situations or two before returning to the ninth inning, fantasy owners shouldn't drop Kevin Quackenbush just yet.
Chase Utley is not in Thursday's lineup against the Padres.
He's presumably getting a breather. Andres Blanco will make the start at second base.
Ryan Howard is not in Thursday's lineup against the Padres.
Howard is sitting against another lefty, this time with Robbie Erlin on the hill for San Diego. Darin Ruf will start at first base.
Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring) went 1-for-7 as the DH on Thursday in a simulated game at the Nationals' spring training complex in Viera, Florida.
Zimmerman is slated to play seven innings in left field Friday before being reevaluated. The Nationals are hoping to have him back for the final few days of the regular season to get him ready for the playoffs.