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 PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -When Brian Giles ran the bases Saturday, it was more than just a routine trip to first, second and third.
The San Diego right fielder is attempting to come back from offseason microfracture surgery on his right knee. And Saturday's portion of the Padres' practice that required him to cut on the basepaths was considered a big test.
``Everything is going good,'' Giles said. ``I'm going through full workouts. No setbacks so far since the surgery and that is a good sign.''
Manager Bud Black also was upbeat.
``He's running, he's hitting, he's doing some cutting,'' Black said.
The Padres hope Giles can start playing by the third full week of spring games. He's not going to be on the split squad that will play two exhibition games in China on March 15-16.
``He's getting the reps in the cage and all the fundamental stuff done,'' Black said. ``He may not be doing every drill the outfielders do, but he is progressing to a point where he should be in games by the middle of March and that will give him enough game conditions to hopefully be ready by opening day.''
Added Giles: ``That's our date. Hopefully it keeps improving and there are no setbacks and we will be good to go.''
Giles played on a bum knee most of last season but stayed in the lineup with the Padres battling for a playoff spot. His injury required extensive surgery in the offseason to avoid having bone rub against bone in his knee.
The 37-year-old began hitting at Petco Park before the team came to Arizona and has been increasing his workload since.
``Hitting hasn't been an issue other than the first couple of times it was a little tender,'' said Giles, who batted .271 with 13 home runs, 51 RBIs and 64 walks in 2007. ``But I can tell I'm making progress by the way it responds the next day and the feeling I have doing everything else.''
The Padres are counting on Giles to again lead off, which is fine by him. But if he suffers a setback, the Padres have a few options, including second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and left fielder Scott Hairston. Or, depending on which utility outfielder makes the team, it could be Jody Gerut, Jeff DaVanon or Callix Crabbe.
``That's why we're here,'' Black said, ``to figure that stuff out.''

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