SAN DIEGO -- Deep in a rebuilding mode, the San Diego Padres on Wednesday welcomed the first wave of top prospects that they hope will help form their core in the near future.The Padres called up catcher Austin Hedges, infielder Carlos Asuaje and outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe from Triple-A El Paso.After a day to get acclimated, those four will be in the starting lineup on Thursday night when the Padres open a four-game home series against the San Francisco Giants, who are fighting for a postseason berth.They have every opportunity to become a part of our core, manager Andy Green said before the Padres played the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of a three-game series. I think thats the message that should be out there right now. Were hopeful that theyre our core group of guys. When you think about talent arriving at this level, theyre our first wave, and how they perform on this field will determine how much of the core they are going forward, and there will be another wave of talent coming behind them. I think most of our talent after you get past this wave, a lot of it is down at the lower levels. Theyre going to have time and opportunity to perform.The four prospects helped El Paso win the Pacific Coast League championship. The Chihuahuas lost to International League Scranton-Wilkes-Barre in the Triple-A showdown on Tuesday night in Memphis.The Padres, who will miss the playoffs for the 10th straight season, have retrenched with youth after failing to win with several veterans obtained in a wild spree of trades and signings after the 2014 season. They loaded up then with Matt Kemp, Justin and Melvin Upton, James Shields, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Craig Kimbrel.Only Myers, a first-time All-Star, and Norris remain. Justin Upton left as a free agent after last season and Kimbrel was traded to Boston. Kemp, Melvin Upton and Shields were traded this season in a salary dump.Asuaje and Margot were among the four prospects the Padres got from the Red Sox for Kimbrel in November.Renfroe was the teams first-round draft pick in 2013. Hedges was a second-round pick in 2011.The Padres also loaded up on international signings during the summer.Hedges made his major league debut in 2015, playing in 56 games, including 41 behind the plate.Its the first career callups for Margot, Renfroe and Asuaje.Its great for them. This is where theyve tried to be their entire life and theyre finally here, Green said. Their phones are blowing up right now. Theres 1,000 distractions for them to not pay attention to. They need to go about playing baseball. Every bit of experience at this level is useful. It will also kind of give us a little bit of a road map for the offseason.The Padres entered Wednesday nights game in fourth place in the NL West at 64-87, 21 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.San Diego will finish with its sixth straight losing season. It has had only two winning seasons since making consecutive postseason appearances in 2005 and 2006.The Padres also called up left-handers Buddy Baumann and Jose Torres from El Paso.Last week, Major League Baseball suspended Padres general manager A.J. Preller for 30 days without pay, an unprecedented punishment for failing to disclose medical information when pitcher Drew Pomeranz was traded to the Boston Red Sox in July.---Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson Air Max 90 Outlet Store . 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NEW YORK -- An early September series last season between the New York Mets and Washington Nationals laid the groundwork for the Mets trip to the World Series while spelling the end of the Nationals playoff hopes.Washington hopes to return the favor this weekend.The National League East-leading Nationals head to New York on Friday for the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field. Washington, which was off Thursday, enters on a three-game winning streak following a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies this week. The Mets had their three-game winning streak snapped in a 6-4 loss to the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.Unlike a year ago, the NL East is not up for grabs as September begins. Last season, New York entered a three-game series that began on Labor Day with a four-game lead but swept Washington and never trailed by fewer than six games the rest of the way.Now, the Nationals (78-55) lead the second-place Mets (69-65) by 9 1/2 games and are already playing with October in mind. The Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise has not won a playoff series since 1981, the longest drought in the big four sports.I think were starting to jell a little bit, Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth said Wednesday following Washingtons 2-1 win over the Phillies. Once we get into about halfway through September, I hope were hitting on all cylinders and we can carry that through as long as we can.While a second consecutive division title appears out of reach, the Mets also enter the weekend with hopes of reaching the postseason. New York won nine of its past 12 games to move within two games of the St. Louis Cardinals in the race for the NLs second willd card.ddddddddddddIf the Mets are to return to the playoffs, they will have to do so with a piecemeal roster. Five of the 10 players who took the field against the Kansas City Royals on Opening Day are out for the season, including second baseman Neil Walker, who confirmed Thursday he soon will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back.In addition, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (left knee) and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (right quad) were each on the disabled list in August are likely going to need semi-regular days off down the stretch. Neither player started Thursday, though Cabrera hit a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the ninth, an inning after Cespedes struck out as a pinch hitter.Its a tough situation -- thats exactly what it is, Mets manager Terry Collins said. Thats part of the gig, and thats why weve got backup players here.Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard (12-7, 2.55 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound Friday against Nationals right-hander A.J. Cole (0-1, 4.97 ERA).Syndergaard, who ranks third in the NL in ERA, has allowed a total of three earned runs while winning each of his past three starts. In three starts against the Nationals this year, he is 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA. He has a 2-2 record and a 3.12 ERA in six career starts vs. Washington.Cole, who will be making his third start of the season and his fourth as a major-leaguer, has never faced the Mets. In his most recent outing, he gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings during a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday. 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