Padres ace Peavy headed for DL with swelling, strained muscle in elbow

SAN DIEGO -- Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy will go on the 15-day disabled list with swelling and a strained muscle in his pitching elbow.

An MRI exam showed no ligament damage.

While disappointed in being shut down for at least two weeks, the Padres ace said he was relieved there's no structural damage.

"When you do get discomfort in your elbow and it's near the Tommy John ligament, you know what Tommy John means, and yeah there's cause for concern," Peavy said. He was referring to Tommy John surgery, or reconstructive surgery when a pitcher damages his ulnar collateral ligament.

"So I was upfront and honest with the trainers when it happened and we've monitored it and done all we can do with drugs to get me to where maybe we thought it would go away and it hasn't," Peavy said. "I knew something was in there. I understand when something's not right. You just hope the right thing was wrong with you and fortunately we think that's the case."

Peavy said he felt discomfort for his last three or four starts. Not only was his elbow sore on every pitch, but he said it began bothering him in everyday life, even when he'd turn a door knob or squeeze his bottle of contact lens solution.

"That's when you go, 'Man, something's wrong,'" Peavy said.

Peavy throws a hard slider, but said the injury went beyond his signature pitch.

"This was just every pitch I threw, I could feel it," Peavy said. "I don't know what caused it. Wish I could go back and pinpoint when it happened, but I think it kind of happened over time. All of a sudden I threw one day and could feel it and it never went away and obviously it got to the point where I can't do my job."

Peavy was scratched on Sunday from his scheduled start Monday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Padres lost, 8-2.

"You always fear the worst," manager Bud Black said Monday night. "In this case it wasn't, so that's a good thing. The doctors were confident Jake will be fine. He's feeling better already."

Peavy (4-3, 2.91 ERA), has lost three of his last four decisions. He hasn't pitched beyond the sixth in any of his last three starts, and lasted just four innings last Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs.

"Hopefully this will be a short stint and I can get back out there as soon as possible," he said. "I'm hoping, best-case scenario, maybe miss a few starts then try to get back out there."

Peavy was the unanimous winner of last year's NL Cy Young Award after leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts -- pitching's version of a Triple Crown.

He went 19-6 while topping the majors in ERA (2.54) and strikeouts (240) for the Padres, who came within one win of their third consecutive playoff berth.

The Padres have the worst record in the majors, 16-30.

Black said Wil Ledezma, who took the loss Monday night, will fill in for Peavy. The Padres plan to call up reliever Joe Thatcher to fill the vacant roster spot.