Although a playoff berth is almost certainly out of reach, the Padres still have plenty to play for in their last 24 games, starting with their series finale against the D-backs on Thursday.
There are several young players on the roster with a chance to impress not only manager Bud Black but also new general manager A.J. Preller over the next month.
The team will continue evaluating players like infielder Yangervis Solarte and Abraham Almonte to see where they might fit in 2015. The same goes for rookies like outfielder Rymer Liriano, infielder Cory Spangenberg and reliever R.J. Alvarez.
"Some of the newcomers, [see if] can they break in, be part of the club in the last month and set themselves up for next spring and get in a spot where they can compete to make the team," Preller said Wednesday.
Spangenberg has made a big impact in his short time with the team, knocking in two runs and making two solid plays at third base on Monday before hitting a pinch-hit, walk-off home run on Tuesday. His reward: a start at second base on Wednesday.
The D-backs also hope to get a good look at some players in the coming month, including Thursday's starter, Randall Delgado.
Delgado, who manager Kirk Gibson said would throw 70-75 pitches, has spent most of the year in the bullpen after starting the season poorly, but he will get the start in the series finale as the D-backs expand their rotation for the final month of the season.
"He's worked on his pitches," Gibson said. "His breaking stuff is better, he's got a better curveball, his slider is good, his changeup has always been good, good velocity. I think we just have an interest to see how he might finish up this year just looking forward to next year."
In his first start since April 10, Delgado will face former D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy, who is 2-1 in his last four starts -- including a 5 2/3-inning outing against the D-backs on Aug. 24 -- with a 4.56 ERA.
D-backs: Gregorius and Owings teaming up
With Chris Owings being activated from the disabled list on Sept. 1, the D-backs have a bevy of infield options for Gibson to choose from.
In Owings, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hill, Jake Lamb and Cliff Pennington, Gibson has five different choices for three infield spots.
General manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday that he likes the combination of Gregorius at shortstop and Owings at second base.
"In a perfect world, long term, I think hopefully it's Didi and C.O. with Hilly kind of moving around from second to third," Towers said. "My gut is that I think it will work. ... Didi is probably our best shortstop defensively. C.O. is probably the best offensive middle infielder we have."
Owings was having a solid rookie season before a left shoulder strain knocked him out for more than two months.
Gregorius has been the primary shortstop since, playing stellar defense but struggling at the plate.
Padres: Still no Cabrera
Shortstop Everth Cabrera, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a left hamstring strain, was set to join Class A Lake Elsinore for a rehabilitation stint on Wednesday, but that plan has been scratched.
Manager Bud Black said Wednesday that Cabrera won't join Lake Elsinore during the first round of the California League playoffs, but he didn't say if Cabrera had a setback. However, he did indicate that Cabrera's hamstring isn't healthy enough for game action.
"He's just not ready," Black said.
Wednesday marked the 21st straight game that Cabrera has missed. Alexi Amarista has started all but one in the meantime.
• Gibson did not rule out shutting down rookie starter Chase Anderson for the season when asked Wednesday. Anderson, who has pitched more innings this season than in any year of professional baseball, is set to start against the Dodgers on Saturday.
"There's a lot of options," Gibson said. "We're just going to keep a close eye on these guys."
Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.