San Diego Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
In a rare piece of good news about pitching elbows, Andrew Cashner played catch on Saturday.
According to Corey Brock of padres.com, Cashner threw first from 60 feet, then from 90 feet. Cashner went on the disabled list on May 16 with elbow soreness. Having him throwing again this weekend is encouraging.
The Padres needed this good news, and were rightfully concerned when the staff ace complained of elbow soreness 10 days ago. In the last two years, the team has lost no fewer than seven pitchers to Tommy John surgeries to repair elbow injuries. This year already, the Padres lost Josh Johnson and Cory Luebke for 12-18 months. In a season which was projected to have nine able-bodied starting pitchers competing for positions in the starting rotation, the team’s pitching depth isn’t quite the strength they anticipated.
It was a relief to find out that surgery was not required for Cashner, and now it appears that his injury will not keep him out of the rotation for too long.
According to Brock, manager Bud Black said that if Cashner felt ok on Sunday, Cashner would throw again early in the week, as he works his way back from the DL.
With teammate Robbie Erlin also hitting the DL this week, Cashner’s quick return becomes even more important to the Padres’ hopes of reaching the postseason.
The team has already used long relievers Donn Roach and Tim Stauffer as spot starters filling in for Cashner and Erlin, and brought up minor-league journeyman Billy Buckner to start Saturday’s game. While the spot starters have pitched reasonably well, the use of Roach and Stauffer weakens the bullpen, and calling up minor leaguers to pitch single games is not a recipe for long-term success.
The team needs its ace back.