The Padres vaunted pitching staff had a great April and 1st half of May. Then Andrew Cashner went on the DL, followed closely by Robbie Erlin. While Cashner has come back and pitched well, the club is still a few weeks away from seeing Erlin return. As reported by Corey Brock on SanDiegoPadres.com, the second MRI results looked much cleaner for the young left-hander. The first MRI on May 21st had shown fluid in the elbow, which is never a good sign.
Manager Bud Black theorized that Erlin is still three weeks away from rehab games.
The Padres have had difficulty filling their rotation slots, though Jesse Hahn pitched impressively last week and gets the start again Thursday against the Mariners. The Padres will take their time with Erlin and a return isn’t likely until late July.
At that time, the Padres could look a lot different. There still is time to make a run and put themselves in playoff position, but that would require several hitters to start hitting on consecutive days to make that happen. If the club is close – Erlin could easily replace struggling Eric Stults in the rotation, who has been unable to replicate his 2013 success so far this season. If not, the Padres will likely ease Erlin back into the rotation, assuming Ian Kennedy hasn’t been traded by that point. There is no point in rushing back a young pitcher from injury for a team fighting more to stay out of last place than battling for a 2nd wild card position. It might also be an option to put him in the bullpen for a month or so as well to ease him back into facing major league hitting.
Robbie Erlin is a valuable piece of the Padres future, so it is good to see a positive medical results instead of the alternative. Erlin was 3-4 on the season with a 4.53 ERA in 8 starts. He also stuck our 39 in roughly 48 innings.