The San Diego Padres’ bizarrely ineffective 2023 season is all but over, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t time for bad news.
Padres manager Bob Melvin told reporters Tuesday the team is shutting down starting pitcher Yu Darvish for the season after an MRI revealed a bone spur in his pitching elbow. Dennis Lin of The Athletic later reported the spur to be an olecranon stress reaction and that Darvish had tried to pitch through it.
Darvish hadn’t pitched since a four-inning, five-earned run outing on Aug. 25 against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was already on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation and received a cortisone injection in his right arm. There was previously hope he could return in late September after playing catch last Tuesday, per MLB.com, but that’s no longer happening.
This injury ends what had been a massively disappointing season for the 37-year-old, with a 4.56 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 141 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings.
An injury-shortened and ineffectual season wasn’t what the Padres envisioned when they gave the right-hander a six-year, $108 million contract extension last offseason. At the time, Darvish was on track to hit free agency this winter after posting one of the best seasons of his career in 2022, with a 3.10 ERA in 194 2/3 innings.
The Padres entered Tuesday with a 68-77 record and eight games back from the third and final NL wild-card spot with only 17 games left to play. Their season has been bad to a fascinating degree given how many of their most important players — Blake Snell, Ha-Seong Kim, Juan Soto, Michael Wacha, Josh Hader, etc. — are posting stats ranging from good to great, but there’s not much mystery when it comes to Darvish. At least for this season.