CHICAGO -- Will Venable can't tell you why it happens this way. If he knew, of course, he would surely do something about it.
After another cool April, Venable has had a hot May, hitting .303 with a .391 on-base percentage heading into Tuesday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
In 19 games since May 8, Venable was hitting .328 with a .406 on-base percentage and a .672 slugging percentage.
Venable entered the game against the Cubs with a .273 overall average after getting two hits, including a home run, in Monday's 11-7 loss to Chicago.
As for April, it's a month in which Venable has never fared well. He's a career .226 hitter in April, the lowest mark of any month.
"I have never been a fast starter ... and I can't tell you why that is," Venable said. "I have had people tell me before that tall players or those with longer bodies that you have to give it to May."
Venable, who is 6-foot-2, isn't sure what to make of that axiom. What he is certain of is that he's feeling much more centered at the plate and making more consistent contact.
"I'm very proud of Will. We've talked about consistency in Will's game and he's taken a step forward," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I'm seeing a consistent approach, a consistent stance, he's doing a much better job with two strikes and he's using the whole field."
Cashner fondly remembers former mates
CHICAGO -- The list went on and on Tuesday, as Padres reliever Andrew Cashner listed the players on the Cubs' roster who he had played with in the Minor Leagues.
The list was substantial, as are Cashner's feeling for his former teammates, many he's seeing this week during the Padres lone trip to Wrigley Field.
"I've got a lot of good buddies over there," Cashner said. "I miss those guys. I came up with a lot of those guys."
Cashner, who was obtained in January from the Cubs in the deal that sent first-base prospect Anthony Rizzo to Chicago, was a first-round Draft pick of the Cubs in 2008 (19th overall). He spent four seasons with the organization, making his Major League debut in 2010.
Cashner began last season as the Cubs' fifth starter but went on the disabled list with a rotator cuff strain in his right shoulder. He then returned healthy in September and pitched in the Arizona Fall League. The Padres liked what they saw and made the deal for him in January.
Cashner is 2-3 this season with a 3.38 ERA in 23 games. He has struck out 24 over 21 1/3 innings as the team's primary eighth-inning specialist.
Cashner, who didn't pitch in Monday's 11-7 loss to the Cubs, said he's felt welcomed in his return to Wrigley Field this week.
"It's been good. There's nothing like playing a game at Wrigley. The fans are great here, they show up every day and cheer on their team," Cashner said.
"I heard a lot of love yesterday, a lot of fans told me they were sad to see me go and that they missed me. It's good to hear that. I enjoyed my time here."
• Padres pitching prospect Casey Kelly, sidelined since April with inflammation in his right elbow, has been progressing with his throwing program at the Padres' Spring Training facility in Arizona.
Throwing up to 120 feet without pain, Kelly will continue his program and could be ready to appear in a game around July 1. Kelly had a 2.25 ERA in two starts with Triple-A Tucson when he landed on the disabled list on April 12. He later had an MRI in San Diego that showed the structural damage to his elbow.
• Center fielder Cameron Maybin missed his third consecutive start on Tuesday against the Cubs. Maybin left Saturday's game against the Mets with a sprained right wrist, an injury that has troubled him for the last week.
"It's not going to get any worse," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We've just got to let it calm down."
The Padres play their series finale on Wednesday and then are off Thursday, which could give Maybin a few additional days of rest before the team opens a series at home against Arizona on Friday.