Nix's elbow remains sore; injured list likely

Padres to back off right-hander while they evaluate extent of his injury

March 19th, 2019

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Padres right-hander will almost certainly miss the start of the season after his ailing right elbow flared up on Monday while he was playing catch.

Nix reported some minor soreness Wednesday, the morning after his most recent start, and he was shut down shortly thereafter. The Padres set Monday as a target date for Nix to begin throwing again, and he played catch for the duration of the session. But his elbow continued to nag.

"He said he still felt something," said manager Andy Green. "We're going to back off and find out what that means."

Most likely, it means a season-opening stint on the injured list for the 23-year-old right-hander. Over the weekend, Green noted that, "If he doesn't feel well [Monday], we'll probably shut him down for a considerable period of time."

Right now, however, the extent of Nix's injury remains unknown. He'll be evaluated further this week.

Nix, the team's No. 19 prospect, entered camp as one of a dozen or so candidates for the Padres' rotation. Prior to his injury, he was arguably the favorite for the No. 5 spot. With Nix no longer in the mix, that race could come down to Robbie Erlin, Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill.

Nix posted a 5.87 ERA with five strikeouts in 7 2/3 frames this spring. That includes his rain-shortened outing last Tuesday, in which he threw one inning against Oakland before the game was called. Shortly afterward, Nix retreated to a nearby batting cage, where he threw three more simulated frames.

In nine starts for the Padres last year, Nix posted a 7.02 ERA with just 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Following the season, he underwent surgery to address a sports hernia, and the recovery period put a dent into the early stages of his throwing progression. Still, Nix and the Padres were confident that a sharper breaking ball would lead to better results during his second season.

Now, they’ll play a waiting game to find out when his second season might begin.

A bullpen no-hit bid
The Padres flirted with a no-hitter Monday in a 3-1 Cactus League victory over Cleveland. Seven pitchers combined to hold a solid Indians lineup to just three hits -- and none until Eric Stamets legged out an infield single in the seventh.

Erlin started and worked two scoreless frames, before Aaron Loup, Gerardo Reyes and Trey Wingenter worked 1 1/3 innings apiece. Craig Stammen allowed Stamets' single and an RBI double in the seventh, but he escaped further trouble. Kirby Yates and Phil Maton each pitched a scoreless inning, as well.

All seven of those pitchers are in the mix to open the season in the Padres’ bullpen.

"They threw the ball really well today," Green said. "It's just a lot of really good arms."

• Wil Myers took advantage of a hanging curveball from Indians ace Trevor Bauer, sending it into the left-field bullpen for his first homer of the spring. Myers has mostly struggled in the Cactus League, hitting .206 with only two extra-base hits.

• Center fielder Buddy Reed sustained a low-grade concussion Sunday when he collided with fellow prospect Josh Naylor while chasing a fly ball. Reed, who was reassigned to Minors camp two weeks ago, is the Padres' No. 17 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

• Naylor demolished a long home run in the second inning off Bauer, his second blast of the spring. Naylor, ranked No. 11, is hitting .275 with an .810 OPS this spring.