MIAMI -- Alexi Amarista was given the thumbs up to return to the Padres' lineup Saturday.
Amarista, who has been hindered by a jammed left thumb he suffered Monday against the Giants, had been nursing the injury the last three days, but was back in the starting lineup for the second of three games against the Marlins on Saturday.
"Thankfully I feel good now," Amarista said. "It's good to be back in the lineup. Hopefully it goes well. You never know, but I feel like I am 100 percent ready to play."
Padres manager Bud Black said Amarista was available off the bench in "all capacities" Friday, but the utility man didn't see the field in San Diego's 7-2 series-opening win.
Amarista was hitting leadoff and playing second base Saturday. It was the ninth time he hit at the top of the order this season, and it marked his 26th start at second. Overall, Saturday marked Amarista's 39th start this year since the team recalled him from Triple-A Tucson on May 17, two weeks after acquiring him from the Angels in a trade.
Amarista has made the most of his opportunity with the Padres. He has hit safely in 19 of his last 22 games. In his last 34 games before jamming his thumb, dating back to June 13, he is hitting .350 (36-for-103) with 13 extra-base hits and 18 RBIs.
"I am very thankful our manager has given me the opportunity to play every day," Amarista said. "I think I needed that consistent playing time to show that I could be playing here in the big leagues. Everything has gone the way I had hoped."
Sore knee continues to bother Thatcher
MIAMI -- Left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher remains day to day with soreness in his right knee, Padres manager Bud Black said Saturday.
Thatcher was unavailable out of the bullpen during Friday's series opener against the Marlins, and his status was unchanged Saturday. Black said Thatcher was going to "move around a little bit" during pregame drills before the team reevaluated the knee.
"We're keeping an eye on that," Black said. "He feels a little better [Saturday]."
Thatcher has dealt with soreness in his right knee before, and he told Black that there's a little bit more pain this time around. Despite that, Black remains hopeful that the southpaw will be available to avoid a stint on the disabled list.
"Joe's got a little bit of a knee issue," Black said. "It tweaked him a bit the other day, but hopefully he will respond to treatment quickly. We'll see where this goes."
With Thatcher again unavailable Saturday, the Padres only have two lefties in the bullpen -- Alex Hinshaw and Eric Stults.
Wieland starts long road back from Tommy John
MIAMI -- Padres right-hander Joe Wieland's road to recovery from Tommy John surgery officially began Friday.
Following the procedure, the 22-year-old rookie tweeted: "Surgery was a success today. It's going to be a long road back, but I trust God that he is going to bring me back stronger!!"
Wieland became the second San Diego starter to undergo the surgery, joining southpaw Cory Luebke. The typical recovery period is between 12-to-16 months. Manager Bud Black believes that Wieland will pitch again sometime next year.
"I think every player wants to go to Spring Training healthy and be on an Opening Day roster, but in this case and in Cory's case, it's not going to happen. That's reality," Black said. "The sooner you realize that, the better off you are.
"I think Joe can take solace in the fact that he will pitch next year. He will pitch in 2013. I'm not sure where or when and how much, but he will pitch. And whether it's in the Minor Leagues or in the instructional league, he will pitch in 2013."
Acquired from Texas as part of the Mike Adams trade last season, Wieland hasn't pitched since a start in early May, when he felt discomfort in his right elbow while throwing curveballs. In five outings, he was 0-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.
"Once they went in there and saw the ligament -- it needed to be repaired -- and now Joe is on that course to rehab," Black said. "It's going to be a long, arduous climb back, but players come back from this, and Joe's up for the challenge. He's got somebody a few months ahead of him in Luebke, where they can compare notes, but Joe will pitch again."
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.