10:30pm: The Padres are currently terming Nix’s injury a “low-grade UCL sprain,” per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell (Twitter link). The current plan is six to eight weeks of rest before he resumes a throwing program, though the second opinion he receives from Dr. ElAttrache will impact the ultimate course of action.
7:40pm: Padres right-hander Jacob Nix has a “small” tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. He’ll be evaluated by Dr. Neal ElAttrache before determining whether to undergo surgery. Depending on the extent of the tear, Nix could opt for a non-surgical route — platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections are sometimes prescribed for UCL tears — though the mention of any degree of UCL tear immediately brings Tommy John surgery to mind.
At the very least, Nix’s injury takes him out of consideration for a rotation spot at any point in the early portion of the 2019 season. He’s one of numerous young Padres arms viewed as potential long-term options in the rotation, a rough 2018 MLB debut notwithstanding. Last season, Nix reached the Majors at the age of 22 but was tattooed for a 7.02 ERA in 42 1/3 innings — a marked departure from the 2.05 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 he logged in 52 2/3 innings of Double-A ball.
Even with Nix sidelined indefinitely, the Padres have a promising group of young arms on which to build. Joey Lucchesi established himself as a viable MLB starter last season, while prospect Chris Paddack has turned heads with a brilliant spring to date (to say nothing of his top 100 prospect billing and excellent minor league numbers in 2018). Lefties Matt Strahm, Eric Lauer and Logan Allen could start games for San Diego early in the season, as could Robbie Erlin — the de facto “elder statesman” of the group (though he’s just 28 years of age himself). Beyond that grouping is another wave of pitching talent featuring names like Cal Quantrill, Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon and MacKenzie Gore, giving the Friars a wealth of pitching depth that few organizations can match.