Not only are the Padres optimistic that Dinelson Lamet managed to avoid serious injury Friday night, they're proceeding as though he will take the ball for Game 1 of the Wild Card Series on Wednesday.
Lamet exited Friday's 6-5 walk-off victory against the Giants when he felt tightness in his right biceps area in the fourth inning, according to manager Jayce Tingler. But the flame-throwing right-hander arrived in good spirits on Saturday, saying he felt better than he usually feels on the day after he starts.
Tingler offered nothing conclusive, however, noting that Lamet will first need to throw a bullpen session on either Sunday or Monday before the team can lock him into the Game 1 outing.
"Obviously that would be ideal," Tingler said. "We've still got a ways to go there, but that's kind of where everybody's head's at right now."
Lamet was treated by team doctors after the game, though he did not undergo any further testing or an MRI exam. Tingler indicated that -- given the circumstances, with the Padres having already secured their playoff spot -- Lamet was merely proceeding with caution. He felt something minor in his arm, and he didn't take any chances, Tingler said.
"Just thankful that he's aware of everything, and hopefully this is just precautionary, because he noticed something that maybe he would normally pitch through," Tingler said.
Lamet's presence for Game 1 would be a huge boost for the Padres as they enter their first postseason in 14 years. He's been their most dominant starting pitcher this season, and his 2.09 ERA -- albeit in a shortened schedule -- is the best qualifying mark in franchise history.
This season, Lamet has blossomed into a certifiable ace. He's paired an elite, high-octane slider with a high-90s fastball that has improved significantly from last year.
"He's as gifted with power pitching as maybe anyone from a starting pitching front that I've been around," Tingler said. "... He's had a fantastic year in this 60-game set. Hopefully he continues it throughout the playoffs. I hope to see him for four or five more starts."
Clevinger, Myers updates
Lamet's improvement wasn't the only positive injury news on Saturday.
Mike Clevinger, who is recovering from a right elbow impingement, received a cortisone injection on Friday. He played light catch in San Diego on Saturday and reported no lingering effects of the injury.
The Padres remain optimistic that Clevinger will be available come October, potentially as soon as Game 3 of the Wild Card Series.
Meanwhile, right fielder Wil Myers was out of the lineup Saturday after experiencing some quad tightness on Friday night. But Tingler said he expected Myers to return to action for Sunday's regular-season finale.
"He feels significantly better," Tingler said of Myers. "We're going to stick to the plan, and the plan was to have a treatment day and continue to treat that quad with the idea of getting him out there tomorrow, getting some at-bats and getting going. But very encouraging news."
Pencil Chris Paddack onto your Padres Wild Card Series roster. The enigmatic right-hander received an endorsement from his manager on Saturday after an up-and-down season.
"Absolutely, yeah," Tingler said, when asked whether Paddack would be among the 28 names submitted to the league on Wednesday morning.
In what capacity?
"Can we wait and see where we're at with Clev and Lamet?" Tingler said. "I think that would help give all of us clarity to exactly what role that is."
Those words make it fairly obvious how the Padres view Paddack. He's an emergency starter in case Clevinger and/or Lamet are not available.
Right-hander Zach Davies could slot into Game 1 on Wednesday if Lamet is sidelined. But aside from Davies' start, the Padres' pitching plans for the Wild Card Series are wholly uncertain.
That makes Paddack practically a necessity on the roster, and it seems likely the Padres carry an extra relief arm over a bench piece, in case they need to rely heavily on their bullpen.