SAN FRANCISCO — Padre starter Greg Harris learned Wednesday that has anconeus tendinitis in his right elbow, and the Padres are expected to announce today that he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The injury was caused by a strained muscle on the outside of his elbow, Harris said, and he was unable to pitch without pain Monday. He appeared in 73 games last season in relief, the third highest total in the National League, and perhaps strained his elbow as early as last year.
"It's a very curious injury," said Gordon Campbell, the orthopedic surgeon who examined Harris Tuesday in San Francisco. "Most pitchers who have tendinitis have it in the inside part of their elbow, this is on the outside.
"What it is is an overload injury. It's like the elbow's saying, 'Stop, stop, stop.' "
Gordon recommended rest and therapy for Harris, just as he did Wednesday for Giants pitcher Scott Garrelts, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis.
Harris, who threw only one pitch before leaving Monday's game in pain, was examined Wednesday at Scripps Clinic in San Diego by Jan Fronek, one of the Padres' doctors. X-rays revealed no bone chips or abnormalities, Harris said, but there was definite inflammation of the elbow.
"Pitchers are always vulnerable to something like this," Fronek said, "but this is a bit unusual because of the location. His prognosis at this point remains to be seen. Therapy is the critical component."
Harris already has been prescribed anti-inflammatory medication, and will begin physical therapy on the elbow, including ultrasound treatments.
"They didn't put a timetable on me," said Harris, who was 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA this season. "They just said that it'll probably take care of itself in time."
Joe McIlvaine, Padre general manager, and Manager Greg Riddoch were traveling to Philadelphia and were unavailable for comment. Yet, according to sources, after being informed of Gordon's prognosis Tuesday, they were aware of the probability of placing Harris on the disabled list.
If Harris had not thrown that pitch Monday, the Padres could have back-dated Harris to April 18 on the disabled list, allowing him to be eligible May 4. Now, however, the earliest Harris will be eligible to pitch after his probable DL stint is May 8.
The Padres were expected to discuss their alternatives in replacing Harris on the team flight to Philadelphia. Since there are three off-days until May 7, they can leave their rotation intact, needing a starter to replace Harris only once, April 30 in New York against the Mets.
"That's probably the way we'll go," McIlvaine said, "just have everyone else go on their scheduled turn."
This leaves the Padres with the option of bringing up a starter from triple-A Las Vegas, such as Adam Peterson, Ricky Bones or Derek Lilliquist to start Tuesday, or calling up reliever Steve Rosenberg and allowing him or reliever Mike Maddux to make an emergency start.
It's too early, the Padres say, to call up Dennis Rasmussen, who's in Las Vegas on a rehabilitation assignment for tendinitis in his left shoulder. He is expected to be in Las Vegas for at least two weeks, and then will be replaced by Atlee Hammaker on a rehabilitation assignment.
"It's all up in the air right now," Riddoch said.