Andrew Cashner is set to make his second rehab start on Wednesday for Triple A El-Paso. The Padres evidently feel good enough about Cashner to let him have a second rehab start, with the goal to get him to “75 to 80 pitches” before returning, according to Manager Bud Black.
Cashner’s last start came for Class-A Lake Elsinore on Friday, where the Padres’ ace went two strong innings without allowing a run, only one base hit and three strikeouts. The hard throwing right-hander has been on the disabled list since June 24th due to shoulder soreness and fatigue that affected his velocity and command. Cashner also gave Padres fans a scare earlier in May when elbow soreness landed him on disabled list with talks of a possible Tommy John surgery being required.
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The target date for Cashner to return to the Padres is August 23rd, where he would start for the team against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. This would allow him to make one more rehab start in the minors. The Friars could also bring him up earlier and have him throw extended bullpen sessions or a simulated game to build up his endurance.
The Padres are currently 11.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and 8 games back in the hunt for the second wild card spot in the NL. Rushing Cashner to return does the Padres no good, and caution should be exercised with the oft-injured righty.
Cashner is currently 2-6 with a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts for the Padres and will be eligible for free agency after the 2016 season. It is more than likely that the Padres will want to see a full sample size of a healthy Cashner in 2015 before entering talks for a long-term contract extension.