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Capps to start regular season on DL

Right-handed reliever is working his way back from Tommy John
MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Twelve and a half months after he underwent Tommy John surgery, Carter Capps made his return to a big league mound this week, putting him well ahead of schedule in his recovery. Evidently, however, the flame-throwing right-hander isn't quite far enough along to crack the Padres' Opening Day roster.

Padres manager Andy Green announced Wednesday that Capps has been ruled out for Opening Day and is slated to begin the season on the disabled list. Capps will make his second appearance in Thursday's Cactus League finale, but he will need a few more days of rehab work before he's ready to join the big league club.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Twelve and a half months after he underwent Tommy John surgery, Carter Capps made his return to a big league mound this week, putting him well ahead of schedule in his recovery. Evidently, however, the flame-throwing right-hander isn't quite far enough along to crack the Padres' Opening Day roster.

Padres manager Andy Green announced Wednesday that Capps has been ruled out for Opening Day and is slated to begin the season on the disabled list. Capps will make his second appearance in Thursday's Cactus League finale, but he will need a few more days of rehab work before he's ready to join the big league club.

"Two Cactus League appearances isn't enough to break camp on the Opening Day roster," Green said. "He is close, but he still has some growth ahead as far as getting back to who he's been in the past. Every anticipation, he's opening up on the DL, still recovering from TJ."

The Padres are mulling their options with Capps following Thursday's appearance. It's possible they bring him to Dodger Stadium for their opening series, where he could throw a simulated inning or two.

"We're excited about where he is," Green said. "It's just too quick, and we don't want to accelerate his path to hit some artificial deadline of April 3 like it's a must-have date."

In his return to the mound on Monday, Capps pitched one-third of an inning, allowing two walks and two seeing-eye singles. He threw 10 of his 23 pitches for strikes and his 94-mph velocity was a couple ticks below his 2015 levels. That's to be expected, though, from a pitcher who hadn't taken the mound since Aug. 2, 2015.

Video: SEA@SD: Capps discusses comeback from Tommy John

Capps, best known for his quirky hop-step delivery, burst onto the scene with Miami in that 2015 season, posting a 1.16 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 31 innings. He exited that August outing (against the Padres) with elbow stiffness and underwent surgery the following March.

Last July, San Diego acquired Capps as part of the deal that sent Andrew Cashner to the Marlins. When he's healthy, the Padres expect him to compete with Brandon Maurer for the closer job.

"He's not going to come back and immediately assume that role," Green said. "He'll have the opportunity to pitch himself into that role. We couldn't be more excited for who he is and what his future is. The path is fast, when you talk about recovery from TJ. Probably not as fast as Carter would like, but it's really fast. So it's our job to kind of slow him down at times."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Carter Capps