SAN DIEGO -- When Huston Street entered the Padres' clubhouse before Friday night's game, he did so slowly and with a heavy limp thanks to the strain in his left calf that placed the All-Star on the disabled list Aug. 11. When he walked in Saturday, he did so more quickly and with a limp that was less conspicuous, evidence of some recent improvement that Street hopes will have him back in the Padres' bullpen sooner rather than later.
"The limp has gotten a lot better in the last 48 hours -- four days into it, I was pretty discouraged," Street said. "Three days later, it's been a full week now, I've seen pretty good improvement -- I'd say a lot of improvement."
This came a day after manager Bud Black said he didn't expect Street, who is on the 15-day DL after suffering the strain in a game against the Pirates on Aug. 10, to "pitch on day 16." In other words, Black didn't expect to have his closer back right after the required 15 days of disabled-list inactivity, thanks in part to the trouble the injury was giving Street in the first few days after it happened.
But so significant was the recent improvement that Street tested the calf before Saturday's game, playing catch with a football from as far as 40 yards. Street said he wasn't able to fully step into the throws, but that the calf "was able to handle some weight transfer." The 29-year-old also rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes to further test the calf.
"The comfort that I have is being here with [Padres head athletic trainer Todd Hutcheson] and our whole training staff in there. The fear you have is that you're not going to get better, or that it will take much longer than it should," Street said. "The comfort with those guys is you know you're going to be back much sooner rather than later."
Despite the improvement, however, Street says the fact that he's seven days into his DL stint and hasn't touched a baseball probably means that, as predicted by his manager, he won't be back immediately after the 15 days of DL time expire because of the need to get bullpen sessions and rehab outings under his belt. But he said he will "absolutely" return to pitch this season and anticipates it will be soon after that two-week period.
"I think it's a reasonable expectation that it will go longer than 14, 15 days, but I'm not going to quit on myself," Street said. "The soonest I can possibly be back, I'll be back out there. ... You wait five months every year to play a full season, [and] I've already missed a month [with a strained lat]; I don't want to miss any more time."