APRIL 22: Padres manager Andy Green told reporters, including MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell, that the MRI results reached him in the middle of last night’s game. Ross will not require surgery on the shoulder, but he still won’t throw for another couple of weeks. Ross will be re-evaluated in two weeks, per Green. While the fact that he’ll avoid surgery is obviously a positive for the Padres, that timeline seemingly suggests that Ross could be out until at least mid-May. One has to imagine that he’ll require a minor league rehab assignment before returning, so even in an ideal scenario it’d be fair to tack another week or two on top of the two week point of re-evaluation.
Green did note that the injury to Spangenberg appears to be mild in nature, adding that there’s “some optimism that at the end of 15 days, he could be back with us.”
APRIL 20: Padres right-hander Tyson Ross will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, per multiple reporters, including Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). Yesterday, Lin tweeted that Ross was beginning to play catch for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on April 5.
While it’s not yet clear that Ross is facing a serious shoulder injury, he’s unquestionably facing a longer absence than he and the club had hoped when he originally hit the disabled list. Ross was initially optimistic that he’d be able to return after missing the minimum amount of time, but it’s already been 15 days since he was placed on the disabled list and a rehab assignment doesn’t appear to be in his immediate future.
The 28-year-old was San Diego’s best starter last season and has in fact quietly been one of the NL’s better starters across the past three seasons. Dating back to 2013, Ross has given the Padres 516 2/3 innings of 3.07 ERA ball, averaging 9.2 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings to go along with a 58.2 percent ground-ball rate. However, Ross also easily leads all Major League starters in slider usage over that three-year span; thirty-nine percent of Ross’ offerings from 2013-15 were sliders (via Fangraphs), and that’s a full four percent higher than Ervin Santana, who rated second on that list. Some in the past have questioned Ross’ delivery, as well, wondering about his ability to remain healthy.
Ross is earning $9.625MM this year after his second trip through the arbitration process this past winter. He reportedly drew significant trade interest both last summer and in the offseason, but the Padres elected not to move him, instead counting on him to help front the 2016 iteration of their starting rotation alongside James Shields and Andrew Cashner. While moving Ross this summer, when he would have a year and a half of club control left, seemed like a plausible fallback option, a significant injury would of course cast a shadow of doubt on that possibility.
Ross’ troubling news isn’t the only bit of bad luck for the Padres on the health front; the club placed infielder Cory Spangenberg on the disabled list today with a strained left quad. Spangenberg, a former first-round pick, has quietly delivered solid production for the Padres since his big league debut in 2014, batting a combined .269/.327/.402 (106 OPS+, 105 wRC+). The club added Jemile Weeks to its 40-man roster to take Spangenberg’s place.