A sweaty Yonder Alonso briskly walked through the Tucson Padres clubhouse Sunday afternoon with the TV on full blast behind him.
He was too busy to stop and watch, and that's a good thing. Had he turned around, he would have seen highlights of the San Diego Padres suffering their ninth straight loss.
Alonso, San Diego's starting first baseman, joined Tucson on Saturday as he recovers from a broken right hand he suffered in late May. Before he went out, Alonso was leading the Padres in RBIs (29) and had a healthy .284 batting average with six home runs in 54 games.
San Diego had managed just fine without him for the first few weeks, but the Padres have been in a tailspin lately, losing 13 of their last 15 as other players have joined him on the disabled list.
Now you understand the sense of urgency.
"It's always tough when they struggle whether I'm there or not," said Alonso before Tucson's 4-3 win over Las Vegas at Kino Stadium. "It's something where I definitely want to get back in there because I know I can help them."
The 26-year-old, who has shown improvement every year he's been in the big leagues, is still a day or two away from playing in a game with Tucson. For now, he's taking batting practice, working on fielding and hitting the weight room.
Sunday, he tested himself the most he had since the injury and felt like he came out of it just fine.
"I did everything I needed to do - check swings, hitting the ball, getting jammed, hitting the ball out front," said Alonso, who had never been to Tucson before Saturday. "I did all those things I wanted to do. Hopefully the next chapter will be to play some games."
San Diego could certainly use him.
The original plan called for Alonso to play for Tucson on Wednesday and Thursday, then be evaluated to see if he could join San Diego for its final series before the All-Star break.
He's hoping that schedule is accelerated a day or two and would like to play today against Tacoma if doctors and trainers agree.
"Here within the next few days, maybe tomorrow or the next day, I should be able to get in there and play," Alonso said. "It's pretty much in my hands. If I feel like I can play, then I'll play. If not, I'll take a few steps back, but I don't think we're there. I think it's going well and like it needs to be going."
Alonso is the latest big leaguer to join Tucson for a rehab assignment this season. So far, regulars Cameron Maybin, Logan Forsythe and Yasmani Grandal and starting pitcher Clayton Richard have all rehabbed with the Triple-A club.
As far as manager Pat Murphy is concerned, the big-league players can keep coming through all season.
"I'm a rookie (manager), so I don't know if it's this way everywhere, but these guys have been incredible," the first-year manager said. "They are incredible to their teammates. You hear about people big-leaguing people on rehab assignments. That hasn't happened with the guys we've had."
Alonso said he plans on providing pregame and postgame meals for the team each night he's in Tucson. Sunday, the team had McDonald's chicken sandwiches before the game, and Texas Roadhouse food after.
"Ninety percent of these guys I've played with in spring training or in the big leagues," Alonso said. "I know almost all of these guys and feel like I fit right in. Probably the best thing to do is to get them a spread. I'm going to get them everyday spreads. Hopefully they enjoy that.
"They're playing well, so I'd like to help them out a little bit."
That would be nice, but the real goal is to help San Diego, which, despite the recent struggles, is 7 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West.
"This is the first time in my career I've been on the DL and it's obviously not something I've enjoyed," Alonso said. "But it's the nature of the game. Things are going to happen. You have to adjust and move on and look at the positive side and get healthy. It's not fair for me to say when I should be up, but I obviously want to get up there as soon as possible."
• Who: Tacoma at Padres
• When 7:05 p.m.
• Radio: 1290-AM
Tucson 4, Las Vegas 3
• Highlight: Mike Wilson hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to score Daniel Robertson and break a 3-3 tie and the Padres (50-41) held on over the final two innings for the win. Shortstop Dean Anna was 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI after missing Saturday's game with a sore ankle. Closer Miles Mikolas pitched a perfect ninth to record his 20th save of the season.
• Big number: 4: The Padres became the fourth team in the PCL to reach 50 wins, joining Albuquerque, Round Rock and Tacoma.
• Tonight's starters: RHP Matt Andriese (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. LHP James Paxton (5-6, 5.14 ERA)
- Daniel Berk
Contact reporter Daniel Berk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk