Lamet placed on IL but feels 'very, very good'

April 23rd, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- It's been barely 24 hours since exited his start against the Brewers with right forearm tightness. Didn't take long for the Padres' organizational melancholy surrounding Lamet's injury to turn to cautious optimism.

The Padres placed Lamet on the 10-day injured list on Thursday afternoon. That's the bad news. The rest of it, manager Jayce Tingler said, appears to be good news.

Tests revealed no further inflammation in Lamet's right elbow and forearm, and he will resume his throwing program on Friday in Los Angeles, Tingler said.

"He reported feeling very, very good so far, as he's been through his treatment," Tingler said. "As they're working on that forearm area, we've had some positive signs so far."

Lamet was making his season debut on Wednesday after a slow build-up this spring. His 2020 season came to an early end after he strained his UCL in his final regular-season start. Doctors told Lamet that his early shutdown would help him avoid Tommy John surgery.

The Padres were ultra-cautious in bringing Lamet along this spring, moving slowly at every step. First, Lamet was slow to mix sliders into his bullpen sessions. Then, he was slow to pitch multiple innings in sim games. Then, he was slow to pitch in the Cactus League. Lamet missed the regular season's first three weeks as a result.

Throughout that entire process, Wednesday's flare-up marked the first time Lamet has experienced anything alarming.

"You look at all the work Lamet has done up to this point, and this has been our first setback," Tingler said. "We'll have more information tomorrow when he goes through his throwing. We'll see. We've been pretty day to day, step by step with him so far."

If all goes well in Lamet's throwing program, the team will shoot for a bullpen session at some point in the near future. Tingler said the team is currently proceeding as though Lamet will be available in 10 days, when he is eligible to come off the injured list.

Needless to say, that's a somewhat shocking development. The 28-year-old Lamet, who missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, dealt with elbow trouble last September and received a platelet-rich plasma injection in October. Doctors didn’t prescribe surgery. But they noted the possibility that Lamet might have needed it if he further aggravated his elbow injury. Then, in his return to the mound, Lamet’s forearm tightened up on him.

For now, the Padres will continue to cross their fingers that Wednesday’s setback isn’t a major one. Lamet underwent a series of tests, but the club does not currently have plans for him to receive an MRI.

"The doctors looked at it -- they did an ultrasound yesterday -- and they didn't find any inflammation or any type of fluid or anything in there," Tingler said. "The group of doctors and trainers feel that at this moment right now, they do not need an MRI, and they're pretty encouraged with everything they've seen."

It's no sure thing, but if Lamet's injury ends up being only a minor setback, that would be a major boost for a Padres rotation that already qualifies as one of the best in baseball. Lamet posted a 2.09 ERA last season, the best qualifying mark for a starter in franchise history, and he finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting.

Kela to injured list
Fellow right-hander joined Lamet on the 10-day IL on Thursday. Kela experienced tightness in his right shoulder after his outing on Wednesday, Tingler said, and when it hadn't dissipated by Thursday afternoon, the Padres opted for a roster move.

"The trainers feel very positive that if they can get aggressive with some of the treatment and get him a little bit of time down, he'll be back to 100 percent shortly,” Tingler said.

Kela had allowed just one earned run across his first eight outings with the Padres, before surrendering three on Wednesday as he took the loss.

The Padres recalled left-hander Nick Ramirez and right-hander Nabil Crismatt to take the places of Lamet and Kela on the roster. Both are capable of eating multiple innings -- which could prove important considering the way the Padres burned through their bullpen on Wednesday.

Myers on the mend
OK, now for some Padres injury news that's undeniably positive.

Wil Myers, who has been playing through tendinitis in his right knee all season, has made serious progress lately. He was out of the lineup on Wednesday as a precaution. But he said the knee is in a significantly better place than it was last week in Pittsburgh, when he missed two games.

"I feel like I've really turned a corner over the last few days," Myers said. "Really like what I've been doing in the training room. I feel like I'm turning that corner now. Knee's starting to feel better."

On a slumping Padres offense, Myers has been one of the team's most reliable hitters. He's posted a .288/.382/.508 slash line with three homers on the season.