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Young may avoid DL stint

Young may avoid DL stint

NEW YORK -- Righty Chris Young will miss his next scheduled start on Sunday after experiencing tightness in his lower back, although the Padres are hopeful that he won't need to go on the disabled list.

A day after throwing just 64 pitches in five innings against the Mets, Young flew back to San Diego to be examined by team physician Dr. Heinz Hoenecke. The initial report on Young's back late Wednesday didn't reveal any serious issues.

"They came up with a couple of spots on his back that might be the problem with the pain and soreness," Black said after Wednesday's 7-5 victory over the Mets. "He will pitch again this season. This doesn't look to be a long-term thing."

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Black called the news "somewhat encouraging," indicating that Young, who leads the Major Leagues in ERA (2.12), will miss Sunday's start, though that might be the only start he misses.

"I don't think it will be a DL as of now," Black said.

The Padres believe that Young's lower back discomfort is a result of his strained left oblique that he injured in a start in Colorado on July 24, and that he subconsciously tweaked his back while compensating for the oblique injury.

"He feels restriction in his mobility," Black said. "The oblique is getting better. Over the last 10 days, he compensated subconsciously for the oblique. His mechanics have been altered where he's tweaked his back."

Young left Tuesday's start against the Mets after the fifth inning, allowing four runs in that span. He told reporters that he didn't have the same velocity on his fastball that's he accustom to.

"It's not letting me go 100 percent," Young said. "It's the life [on the ball]. I'm 84-88 mph, and I'm normally 88-92. ... It's just not quite there.

"I didn't have anything like this before. ... Whether I changed something mechanically subconsciously, I don't know."

Young missed two starts after injuring his oblique before making a return from the 15-day DL on Aug. 9 to start against the Cardinals. It was in that start where Young first experienced discomfort.

The 6-foot-10 right-hander didn't have any issues with his back in his next start against the Rockies on Aug. 15, when he tossed six shutout innings.

But on Tuesday, on a cool and damp night at Shea Stadium, which likely didn't help his cause, Young left after throwing just 64 pitches.

"This is not uncommon for pitchers who have soreness in one area, and compensate for that area and have it impact another [area]," Black said.

The notion of having Young, an All-Star for the first time this season, miss any time at this point in the season, isn't one that Black wants to entertain.

"It goes through your mind, but you hope that's not the case," Black said. "You look at the worst-case scenario and hope for the best."

After this six-game road trip to New York and Philadelphia, the Padres enter a critical stretch of 16 games against the three teams contending for the National League West title -- the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Dodgers.

That stretch includes seven important games against the D-backs, who maintained their 3 1/2-game lead over the second-place Padres with a win over the Brewers on Wednesday night.

"If he misses one start and comes back, that's a big bonus. If he misses two starts, that's a bit of a blow," Black said. "But you consider yourself a team, and hopefully, the depth is there and the other guys pick up the slack, whether it's the bullpen, whether it's the offense, whether it's the starter who replaces Chris and goes out there and does a credible job."

It hasn't been determined who will take Young's spot in the starting rotation on Sunday, though right-hander Tim Stauffer, who is currently with Triple-A Portland, appears to be the best option.

Stauffer, who threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings on Tuesday for Triple-Portland against Las Vegas, has allowed only one earned run in his past three starts for Portland.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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