Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner had an MRI on his ailing elbow and the result was what he had predicted: some inflammation but no problems with the ulnar collateral ligament.
That was a collective sigh of relief you heard coming from Padres Nation.
"After performing an MRI today on Andrew's right elbow, our doctors have indicated to me that he has elbow soreness and irritation," Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said in a statement. "Based on our doctors' recommendation, we will be proceeding with rest and rehabilitation for his recovery."
Cashner, the Padres' No. 1 pitcher, was placed on the disabled list after his last start against Cincinnati. He had reported unusual soreness -- in the forearm area -- after his last two starts, and again after a bullpen session. The team called his placement on the DL more a move of prudence than anything else.
Cashner is 2-5 but has the ninth-best ERA in the National League at 2.35. His last start, last Tuesday in Cincinnati, ironically, was one of his strongest of the season. He went seven innings and allowed one run, and was throwing as hard in the seventh as at the start of the game.
Cashner will miss at least two starts, but it's unclear if he'll come off the DL after 15 days. The implication from what Byrnes and manager Bud Black have said is that Cashner will come back when the soreness and irritation are gone.
Cashner, 27, came to the Padres in 2012 in the trade for young slugger Anthony Rizzo. Used originally as a reliever, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Cashner routinely hit 100 mph on speed guns. Last season he was shifted into the starting rotation and became the team's top pitcher, going 10-9 with 3.09 ERA. As a precaution, he was shut down in September when he reached 175 innings pitched.
Though he pitches more to contact now -- Cashner ranks third on the staff in strikeouts -- he continues to rank among the NL's hardest throwers as gauged by average fastball speed. This season he has been clocked as high as 97 and 98 mph, while averaging in the 94-95 mph range.
Donn Roach filled in for Cashner over the weekend and gave up four runs in three innings at Colorado. It's unclear if Roach will take Cashner's scheduled start Saturday at home against the Cubs.